This weekend I shut my door on Friday night, and as yet have not opened it again and have no intention of doing so. I haven’t spoken to a single person, my phone is on silent and my instant messaging is off. Normally, this would be absolute bliss but I have written about depression for my book this weekend. I have finished and uploaded the chapter. It was really hard and I have fought the temptation to remove it.

Writing about depression and the thoughts of suicide etc. has been really hard. But when I started to write ‘A Mind Not My Own’ I decided that I would be open and honest. I would try not to hold anything back. I wanted and still do, to write a book that really describes what a person with Mental Illness fights. I wanted it to be raw, no sugar coating, no trying to make it palatable for people to read. I want it to be real, I want it to be as it truly is. Not for sympathy, not to frighten people, not seeking attention for myself or anything like that.

I want people to understand, to appreciate what life is like for someone suffering from Mental Illness. To understand that someone who does actually take their life isn’t weak, isn’t pathetic, isn’t selfish. The illness, this horrible, all encompassing illness won. Not so different to any other terminal illness. You fight, you do what you can to beat it, but for some you don’t. This should not be taken as an excuse to give up, but as a reason to fight. There is treatment, get help, do what you need to do to fight. Be honest with friends and family. Be honest with your treating doctors. But above all FIGHT.

I know that putting the latest chapter into my book, and the book in general is really sticking my neck out. I know that there will be people who will judge me in light of what I have written. I know there may be personal ramifications etc to what I have written. But I think it is vitally important that societies perception of Mental Illness changes, it is important that other sufferers don’t feel so isolated, like they are the only ones to think and feel the way they do. I believe it is important that families of sufferers have an insight into what their loved ones are going through. It’s for these reasons I am willing to stick my neck, willing to be open and honest, willing to let people see the real me, the me behind the mask, beneath the shadow of the front I put on.

I hope it doesn’t actually bite me on the ass, it doesn’t make things worse for me. But that is the risk of sticking your neck out.


About malensteptoe
I am work for one of Australia's big 4 banks in the System Admin Team. I am also a mental health sufferer. Currently diagnosed with OCD, MDD, Panic Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Agoraphobia and Trichotillomania. I also write books and a blog. I am an advocate for change of the view towards mental health sufferers. We can and are beneficial people in society, with much to offer and contribute. We are not all violent, actually the percentage of violent tendencies in the mentally ill and those without mental illness are no different. You may work with someone right next to someone with mental illness and never know. So maybe it's time to re-evaluate your opinions?

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