I have chosen to write an article reflecting upon this year because it has been so poignant.

I have observed many issues which have been caused by poor mental health and the ensuing repercussions this has had on those around me.

My passion therefore towards mental health has been inflamed and my awareness and perception of these issues is evermore sharper.

My knowledge and understanding of depression is ever more greater and being able to connect with others around me who suffer this depraved illness I believe is ever more vital to establish forms of hope and recovery. The ability to be understanding towards sufferers is so important.

I can only describe depression as a perception, a state of mind, an overwhelming feeling. A feeling whereby there is uncertainty, elements of fear, hopelessness and most of all and more fear inducing, the feeling of entrapment, like a caged animal with nowhere to go.

Material surroundings or possessions do not compensate for such a state of mind and it is both powerful and compelling. It is like being lost in the middle of a dark and lonely forest with no way to get out and where the sunlight of day cannot penetrate the vast forest of the overbearing trees.

Only those who have experienced this feeling will know about it, because to some it objectively seems ‘black and white’ or misunderstood.

It is the same with feelings of trauma. The flashbacks and nightmares, the crippling fears, the night sweats. Another form of perceived entrapment, embodied within the nature of your own soul, the echoes of memories haunting the present but somehow imprinted within the schema of the cognitive mind from the past.

I write boldly and I write bluntly about these feelings because the misunderstanding and lack of care towards such issues can be a huge barrier towards people seeking the help they need or deserve.

As human beings we are all valuable, unique individuals and deserve love, care, and respect from our own self and those around us. ““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““

By creating more awareness of areas such as depression, anxiety, substance misuse (drug/alcohol addiction) we remove stigma surrounding these issues. Addiction isn’t the misconception of poor or lost willpower. It is a constant battle to stay alive, a fight for your own sanity and wellbeing, a fight for a proper state of mind.

Addiction is a disease that cripples, erodes, destroys and kills both the mental and physical body by deception through a false and transient sense of wellbeing, but longer term becoming a placebo, a crutch that eventually collapses, leaving the confused victim like a collapsed heap immersed in the devastating consequences of such a pernicious illness.

All of these issues can lead to depression and worst case self-harm and suicide.

There is a fallacy that suicide is ‘selfish’, however for the individuals whom have ever been misfortunate enough or lacked the coping mechanisms to deal with life’s trauma or misfortunes , often suicide has appeared to be the only option.

Suicide isn’t the coward’s way out, but probably one of the hardest decisions an individual must face when overwhelmed by life’s troubles with a sense that there is no other way out and no one to turn too.

The impact of a suicide, from first-hand experience is both catastrophic and traumatic for all inviduals involved. The range of emotions that supersede such a major event in one’s life, such as guilt, anger, depression, bargaining and unresolved grief, to name but a few.

My aim following this year is reflecting upon my own life experience to create and highlight more awareness amongst fellow peers with goals to create more connection amongst those suffering anxiety and depression through this website.

Individuals I hope this website may impact, include young people and adolescents and educating them through this on areas such as experiencing depression and anxiety and often the reasons why, such as low self-worth, failure to feel validated or accepted by those around them, the entrapment of society’s values and constant obsession with social media that we constantly measure ourselves against and equally our own self-worth; material possessions, life experiences, popularity, success.

We measure our own self-worth and value against this as though it were criteria to be acceptable or valued as people, but this can only lead to a sense of failure, disappointment, insecurity and consequential depression.

If we can create measures that are more stable for the next (younger) generation we can create a more robust foundation for the future, more positivity, more hope. Enabling those around us to explore both positive and negative feelings within and becoming more self-aware , utilising healthier coping strategies to deal with life’s failures and disappointments and having a strong , steadfast core within and stronger resilience to embrace life’s challenges and obstacles becoming stronger , more emotionally stable individuals .

This can also be said of those suffering PTSD (war veterans) who struggle with feelings of isolation and often loneliness as they go from a harsh traumatic environment supported by individuals living in same conditions back to civilian life with expectations that they would be able to adapt and function back into society as if they had never been away and exposed to such harsh conditions.

I believe the answer for both these specific groups is in supportive communities and the safety to discuss and reflect upon feelings.

Young people too should be able to freely express themselves without judgement or their feelings being dismissed.

This year I learnt about the values of being self-aware, the impact of serious mental health issues but also how to manage more effectively with the volatility of life and its fluctuating circumstances. Most of all I learnt assertiveness and gravitating towards positive people and environment and away from negativity. Most of all that I cannot change the behaviour of other’s only my own reaction and changing for the better. Learning from the past. Growing into the future to become a better person and the value of helping others too have insight into their own thoughts and feelings. The main value is not looking back at static factors but at engaging with faith and positivity towards gaining positivity from the negative circumstances or events in our lives and learning to change mindsets. Gaining self-awareness, seeking connection from others who understand similar feelings and having courage to seek professional help and also knowing how to cope in healthy ways.