I am not ashamed to admit that I have anxiety and depression.

I am not ashamed to admit that I have anxiety and depression. I am not ashamed to admit that I take medication to help me battle these illnesses. I am not ashamed that sometimes rolling over in bed and pulling the covers over my head is all that I can manage that day.

I used to be. But really why should I? I did not choose this. None would chose this. Believe me.

My mind is constantly fighting with itself and it is so exhausting. I may have only taken the short walk from my bed to the sofa and lay staring into space, but don’t for one second think I am being lazy. I am tired. I am tired from constantly worrying about what could go wrong. I am tired from worrying that nobody likes me and that everyone is fed up of me.

I tried from my mind constantly telling me that I do not belong and I wouldn’t be missed. What does that person really say about me when I have left the room? Why did that stranger look at me on the street? Because you look like shit. You are a piece of shit my mind convinces itself.

I am tired from constantly hearing the whispers of my illness tell me that I am stupid, useless and I cannot complete a simple task at work. So no, don’t you dare call me lazy, I am on a constant and very messy battlefield with myself. I never meant to start this war within myself, but now it has begun I feel as though it will never stop. It is exhausting.

“Get up and laugh at yourself in the mirror, eventually you will feel better”. This was advice I got from a Doctor once.

Seriously? I wish a few laughs at myself would make this go away, but it does not. The energy it take sometimes to curl my lips into a small smile would astound you. Unless of course, you have dealt with a mental health illness before. That Doctor obviously has not, because if it were that easy then there would be no such thing as anxiety and depression.

Just because you see me in the gym or you see me, laughing in the pub do not think I miraculously better. I am still trying hard to make it through the day. I have just become better at hiding the misery that circles through my head on a daily basis.

We are nearly in 2019 and thousands of people are still having to deal with the stigma that has clung itself to mental illness.

I am not weak. I am strong.

I am doing everything in my power to fight this. I speak to a psychologist about my feelings and my personal thoughts, I do yoga, and I meditate. I have read books on mindfulness and mental health to try and better understand it, to educate myself on why this happening to me. So stop saying I am weak, stop telling me that it is all in my head.

Maybe society needs to stop being so bloody ignorant and try to better understand what people with mental health issues are dealing with on a daily basis, because if you have managed to survive another day, all of us should be applauding you. Telling you well done and to keep fighting.

So if you know someone who is battling a mental health illness please support him or her. Let them know you are there for them, even just a simple text letting them know you are thinking of them, because the world can feel like such a lonely place when your very own mind is against you.

By Lauren Foreman