I am on the other side. When you look back at a time of severe crisis, you wonder why you thought you ever couldn't. The person weeping on the couch, head in hands, staring at a plethora of medication doesn't seem like the person I am today. Yet it's also too real how much I know that person is me.
Sometimes I feel like the fact I've stabilised my mental health seems to take away from how severe the crisis was. Every night I had nightmares, every day I had flashbacks, panic attacks and suicide plans. But there were bright times in the crisis too. A laugh and a kiss shared between me and my girlfriend, a time of peace as distractions actually distract. But then something, anything would bring it all crashing down. A spilled drink, a sideways look from a stranger in public that seemed to scream "I know you're going insane", and the bottom would fall out from my world as total and utter mental darkness enveloped.
But I'm on the other side. I have medication to stabilise my moods. I can focus on negative thoughts and counteract them before they spiral out of control. I begin classes on managing my general and trauma-related anxiety next week. I have a support network around me, a loving girlfriend, a concerned mother, and a community mental health nurse who has restored my faith in the process of reaching out for help and actually receiving it. I see a psychiatrist every month who I trust and who listens to me. Two cats who I think the world of, and think the world of me. Slowly, I'm getting better at playing the ukulele. And perhaps most importantly I see a future and a positive one at that. I have dreams and ambitions again that I feel and know I can achieve. And I see a future after mental illness, because like most illnesses, I can and will recover. All it takes is to be open, with others and yourself. To seek the help that is there, to believe in recovery, to work towards recovery. To love oneself and to love others. Because nothing will ever extinguish the spark of hope, no matter how dim it gets. There will always be hope. And there will always be an other side.
If the content on this website is distressing or triggering, or, if you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, we have provided in contact details below for you to speak with a professional. If you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call the police immediately on 111.
• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor (available 24/7)
• LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633
• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
•WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757