7 years between these photos.
On the left is a woman who to the world had everything and a smile for everyone. Just days after this photo was taken her world imploded and she fell apart. Depression is a cruel and unstoppable force. The painted smile was torn away and her only option was to walk away from the world she had been living. That or call it a day.
On the right is the same woman now. Older. Wiser. Greyer. Tattooed. Pierced. Business owner and living a life that she is both proud of and happy in. Loving life and able to love and be loved. It took work. It took time. It still goes wrong but she is strong enough to deal with it.
This is me. I had people around me who understood and propped me up whilst I healed. It was hard for people to understand. From some “she will get over it”, from others “how could she walk away”, from those who saw through the smile “we were waiting for this and can now help you”, and from many, a call, a cuddle, a hand to hold or a smile and space and time to find my way whilst they walked by my side, dipping in and out of my life as I needed them.
For my family it was hard, confusing, worrying, sad but they always tried to help where they could. For my children… life changing, sometimes I regret things and feel I will never be able to make it better, sometimes I know they prefer the laid back mum who makes time for them and herself as she is so much nicer to be with.
Mental health hits all people, all ages, all backgrounds. Strong, confident, outgoing, or vulnerable, shy and lonely. We can all be touched by the black dog and when you see someone who suffers, please don’t judge, please don’t presume, please hold out your hand and offer a smile, a kind word, space and never tell them to pull themselves together. Their world has imploded and some days it’s impossible to even get out of bed and wash. If this was you what would you want?
Watch your children, they are already being impacted from all sorts of areas. Watch your wife, husband, siblings, partner, parents, friends. If you don’t understand try…