This is about hope and happiness and good things. It might seem like this isn’t a happy story in places, but I promise it is.
Tomorrow, it will be a whole year since I was admitted to hospital. I’d been in a severe depressive episode for six months and didn’t see a way back from where I was. People said to me that what I was feeling was temporary. Six months didn’t feel temporary, and to me it didn’t matter if it was temporary: I thought the pain I was in at that moment wasn’t worth hanging onto for something good to come, no matter how good and no matter how soon it came.
I overdosed on sedatives, which landed me in A&E. I had made plans to end my life, but the overdose was an attempt to keep myself safe at that point. I didn’t anticipate repercussions greater than being out cold for a long time, but I ended up in the CDU for two days and in a psychiatric ward for seven, where I started my road to recovery. Being in hospital was the best thing that could have happened to me. It was the furthest thing from easy and nothing changed overnight. It took weeks and months to find my way to knowing what stable could feel like.
It’s been a long journey with hiccups, relapses and episodes along the way. I’ve been supported in every single step I’ve taken. Thanks to my time in hospital, my mental health team, the right medication, my family, my friends, my work – I’m not only stable, but I’m happy. I can’t tell you how good it feels to write that down and to share it.
In the past year I’ve done so many mundane, everyday things I’d thought about doing and hadn’t, but hoped to. A year ago, in my mind, I knew I’d never do them.
I went on holiday on my own.
I tried Oreos dipped in peanut butter.
I went to a pottery making class.
I started working as a community support worker.
I ate pizza at Purezza.
I went with friends to a Christmas market in Switzerland.
I cut open an avocado.
I saw Bon Iver live.
I performed at a spoken word night.
I ate a slice of a giant watermelon.
I ran my first organised 10K race.
I visited Jane Austen’s house.
I bought a pair of dungarees.
I made my brother’s wedding cake.
I didn’t think I’d do those things. I can’t tell you how overwhelmed with happiness I am that I have done those things, and that I get to do more things, and more things. I get to be a part of and to witness some amazing things, and some unbelievably mundane things that bring me so much joy. I get to sing All The Small Things in my car at the top of my lungs with the windows down. I get to skip through the woods, climb on logs and jump in puddles. I get to soak in the bath for an hour with a Lush bath bomb and the best Spotify playlist ever. I get to learn new things, try new things, and meet new people. I get to spend such precious time with incredible people in my life, and I get to have conversations with them about happy things, and sad things, and the weather.
It makes me so sad to think about the girl last year, but the happiness I feel is so much more. I’m her and I am so, so glad that this is where I’ve arrived.
If you’re feeling anything like what I felt then, please reach out. Call someone, text someone and tell them that you’re having a tough time – you don’t need to be specific, just reach out. You can call the Samaritans on 116 123 – I’d really recommend speaking to them, there are no expectations, they are purely there to listen. Talk to someone.
Call 116 123