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  • Writer's pictureTara Vaughan

Mental Ill Health Is Exhausting

As many of you now know, I suffer from depression, suicidality and anxiety. This is something I am no longer ashamed of, but for years and I mean years I was. I felt full of cracks and flaws that left me feeling alone and exhausted. Exhausted from not being able to talk about how I was feeling for a fear of being perceived as ‘weak’, instead I covered them up by wearing masks and those masks, after so many years of wearing them, became hard for me to differentiate between who I was and who I was pretending to be. Can you imagine how exhausting that is?

I know now that opening up about my mental ill health is the strongest thing I have ever done. But it still took me time, it wasn’t until a couple of months after I had left the trauma clinic last year that I was brave enough to open up and talk about my ‘problems’ to the world. To start with I was terrified, I didn’t know how people would reaction and to my surprise people were kind, some even shared their own experiences and most of the time I could relate to their pain.

This past year I have fought the biggest battle of my life, that battle was me fighting me. Have you ever felt two parts of you split, one part screaming to kill yourself while the other part whispers that it’s okay to stay alive and to want to carry on living, to see how it all turns out? I have, and it was hell. I was living in my own hell that I had created and there was no way out, every which way I looked I couldn’t see an exit. Every wall I tried to climb over, a different part of me would pull me back down into my hell, that part of me would’ve rather seen me die than try. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t escape. What I didn’t realise was that each time I tried to escape; every wall I tried to climb was making me stronger. I was slowly building up my strength so that I would eventually be able to pull myself up over the top of that wall and not only sit at the top and enjoy the view but to also jump down and be free from me, from my hell.

Some days I feel as if I’m sat on top of the wall enjoying the view but worrying that I might pull myself down back into my hell, while other days I am the other side of the wall, walking barefoot through the grass, feeling the earth between my toes and my lungs inhaling the fresh country air. It feels good to be coming back to myself, to want to live again. When I came back from Peru I wanted to hit the ground running. I had a million and one ideas and I wanted to do them all. I now realise that that’s not possible. I am not going to be back to ‘normal’ (whatever that means!) overnight, this shit takes time. As long as I can keep putting one foot in front of the other then I think I’m doing pretty well.

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