By Adeline Vandale
I’m a survivor of depression.
Opening up about mental illness is a way to break the stigma around it.
So I’m writing this SCAB on what is to me, a special day.
Last year, on the 10th of March, the darkest thoughts my brain’s ever had came to me.
Luckily, I wasn’t on my own.
And luckily, the person who heard them cared enough to help.
You see, to me, depression started with the feeling of belonging nowhere.
I’ve read London is the loneliest city in the world.
It felt true to me last year.
It made me feel lonely.
And loneliness slowly started killing me.
London is a funny one.
You’re always surrounded by so many people.
You know so many of them.
Yet no one knows you.
So when your behaviour starts changing, no one notices.
If you stop going to the pub, no one realises.
It isn’t because no one cares – although your inner voice convinces you the opposite.
It’s because everyone’s too busy.
Since I moved here – now three years ago – I’ve had so many different friends.
Yet last year, if I needed to pick up the phone I had none.
None of us had time anyway, really.
I was missing my family.
I was missing my friends.
I was too ashamed to tell my brother how bad I felt.
Couldn’t even think about telling my Dad. Nor my Mum.
I tried to protect the only person who stayed by my side all the time.
I didn’t want him to worry.
My troubles and pain would’ve added to his own.
And if depression is evil, caring about the others more than yourself can harm more.
I’m fine now.
I’ve been helped by some friends. Now family.
I’ve taken time to think about me.
Found myself again.
Realised who I wanted to be.
Realised I’ve always been that person.
I’ve decided where I wanted to be.
And how I would get there.
I’ve fought my demons.
And I am now making more time for the people who make me want to be the best version of myself.
The greatest gift depression gave me was the motivation to transform.
And fighting I will never stop.
Thank you Honor for hearing things I never had the force to say.
And for doing so on time. You saved me.
You’re one of my special people. And always will be.
Thank you Ian for making me realise I was worth something.
And for believing in me.
It takes time for people to find their mentors within this industry.
I’m happy I found you early.
I’m happier I can call you a friend.
Thank you Marc.
You broke me so I could rebuild myself.
But mainly, you gave me a place to do so.
You knew it was time for me to face my demons.
And you made sure I would fight them.
And last but not least, thank you James.
You’ve left me fighting my demons on my own without ever letting me feel alone.
You’ve supported me all the way through finding my own happiness.
I’m so happy I am sharing it with you today.
I’ve come from so far but look at me now: I’m happier than ever.
And I’m ready to thrive.
Happy anniversary to me.