Photographer of Families, Small People and Delightful Places. Travel and Lifestyle Writer and Blogger. Lives in Newcastle, Loves the North, Often Accompanied By A Beagle Named Holly Bobbins

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Depression, a personal battle...

You may have noticed that I have been quiet quiet of late, I was throwing myself back into work only to be derailed again just a couple of days later.  Since it's World Mental Health day soon it seemed appropriate to share what's been going on.

Since around June of this year I have been experiencing overwhelming depression and the most awful anxiety attacks I've ever experienced, as someone who already has bipolar and is prone to agoraphobic behaviour this has been my greatest challenge of 2018.

I have run away and travelled as much as possible, I have hid away from the world on weekdays so I had the strength to go out to work at weekends.  It has been the hardest time I can remember for years but I feel I should write about it because there's something you need to know.


You see, this is the face of depressed me, both of these images I've taken in the last week, the top one just after I'd had my hair cut if you're thinking (why is her hair different colours?) and look, I'm not lying in a heap, I'm not crying all of the time, thankfully the medication I take helps with not crying all of the time.  I still laugh, I still go out, I still continue to work and parent and run multiple businesses but I am depressed and it's important that you see the real face of depression because so many of us who look quite "normal" are actually fighting battles that no one can see or understand.


I have days in the week when life is like walking through a quagmire of the thickest mud, where I am scared of every single email and phone-call, where I believe I am the most evil person on earth who's surely heading directly to hell.  That's what ill mental health is to me, it's self loathing, it's over introspection, it's forgetting even the simplest of things and feeling like you are losing your mind.

I have good self care, I force myself outdoors and enjoy walks with Looby and Holly Bobbins, I go to events which make me socialise because if I had the choice I would make a pillow fort, crawl right in and never come out but I can't do that.

I am a mum, I am an entrepreneur, a photographer, a blogger, a CEO of a global organisation, I'm challenged daily by depression but I try to remember that this does not make me a failure.  I think it's so important for CEO's an people who have a voice to speak out about mental health for those who can't or don't feel they want to.  Too many people suffer in silence and worse than that, there are way too many lives still lost because someone felt helpless or didn't feel that anyone would care or understand and that there was no other avenue, or that the world would be better off without them.  Let me tell you now, I understand, I have been there myself, I have been to the darkest of places and only my inner stubbornness has made me not want to let depression win.  I am one of the lucky ones I guess, initially 15 years ago I got help within the time before things spiralled from anxiety into psychosis, it took 2 years to see a psychiatrist and another before I had reached the top of the list for therapy and I believe that things in the NHS and mental health care fields are so much worse now than they were then.  It's something I wish I could change but without that ability I am at least doing something.

This weekend I'm shooting 40 photo shoots in one weekend, I've raised money for Mind for several years now and it's the very least I can do.  I'm worried I'm not going to make it through all 40 sessions but I have friends, my daughters and their friends who are all coming along to help, it's going to be the most full on work weekend I've ever experienced and I'm dedicating Monday to sleep and recovery.  I'm having an easier week on the lead up to it and resting as much as possible.  I hope I do make it to the end, actually I have no choice but if you're around the Tynemouth Longsands area this weekend and you see me on the beach, come say hello, come hug me or my helpers, feel free to bring me cake, bring me coffee or maybe just a few extra vitamins for it's going to be the biggest thing I've ever done!

Mandy's Photography Marathon, here I come!

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