The first time I’ve heard someone talk about mental health in a way that made me realise “that’s me”

“I attended a talk recently where you shared your story. I’m a cis-gendered white woman and recognise my privilege, but I related so strongly to the way you described your mental health journey that I felt compelled to email and say thank you.

“I am suffering with depression and anxiety, something that i have struggled with throughout my life. I’m currently having therapy and doing what I can to control it although I’m too scared to admit the suicidal thoughts to anyone for fear of being locked away.

“Hearing you talk about considering suicide as such a familiar and regular part of your daily life, is the first time I’ve heard someone talk about it in a way where I thought “that’s me”. To contemplate it every day in the way you talked about is exactly how I’ve felt since I was in my early teens. Too many times when I cross a road I think “if I just stopped walking, a car could hit me and end it all, wouldn’t that be such a relief”. 

“Just like you described, I can’t do it because I can’t transfer that pain to those who love me, and I know I won’t do it today, or next week, or next month, maybe never. I actually feel like I don’t have a choice in whether to do it or not, and I go from being relieved about that to angry. I have never admitted this to anyone — let alone a stranger over email!

“You saying the words ‘functioning suicidal person’ was an epiphany to me. Frankly I was gripped the whole time you talked and sobbed my way through your story (like I’m crying writing this email) but that wording made me gasp. I knew I had functioning depression but I never considered I am a functioning suicidal person. Thank you for making me feel like I’m not alone. 

“I think I just wanted to thank you for your honesty in sharing your story and experiences. It’s really brave and has certainly made a significant impact on me. Take care.”

Email has been shared anonymously with permission.

When I began talking about my mental health some people told me to keep quiet about it but I knew that I could help others by sharing my experiences. I recently received the above email that showed me just how right I was — this is why I will NEVER stop being open and honest about mental health — Sophie