I’ve wanted to write this article ever since hearing about Kate Spade’s passing, and wasn’t sure how to put it clearly in words. There is so much online negativity and online bullying that I wonder, is this a reflection of how many people feel inside? I remember talking to someone several days ago, and we talked about how easy it is for those who are hurting inside to appear just fine when seen in public. It’s easy to put on a smile. However, the internet now can also be a good and bad place for people to express themselves. It can be a place to share stories and encouragement, as well as a place for people to try tear others down and show their true colours.
It makes me think about how we don’t live in a perfect world, but we have the power to give support to someone in someway, no matter how small. Depression is invisible, in the sense that a person feels the pain so deeply inside, that it can seem hidden from the world. I’ve previously talked a little about my experience with anxiety and depression. I don’t take it lightly, and it’s such a serious topic that it makes me think how our society is at this stage. I’ve thought about this lately, because there is still a stigma attached and lack of understanding about mental health, even though many people will experience some form in their life time.
During my previous semester at uni, I did a report where we could choose our own topic. I chose to do it on youth suicide in New Zealand. It was heartbreaking and took a lot of my mental energy, and there were tears and facing reality. It was something I chose, because it’s something that’s not talked about in daily life, but it’s a huge issue in New Zealand. In 2013 I tried taking my own life, and this is not something I tell many people. Only 2 people I can say know this, and to write this is difficult. When I lived in Sydney, I had to go to the ED, because my panic attack was so bad that I thought I was literally going to die. I had depression for several years since 2009, and it’s been a long journey, but I feel the most content in my life now.
I still remember back in 2013 when someone at my uni hall at the time said “Oh my gosh, Katie. Did you cut yourself?” Even wearing long sleeves couldn’t hide them, and it was so obvious they were cuts, but I just said they were cat scratches. Now that I’m older, I realise that many people still view mental illness as there is something wrong with you. There is this feeling that people will look down on you. I really believe in my heart that the most important thing is to surround yourself with loving people, and no matter how long it takes, to learn to love yourself. It took me a long time to be where I’m at and truly love myself, and know that God loves me and my family and friends love me. Also, it’s important to say that your happiness and contentment in life can only be relied on yourself, and no other person.
I’m at a stage now where I think back and think, I shouldn’t of hurt myself like that, but at the time I felt so deeply hurt inside. I get sad when people say when someone suicide’s it’s so selfish. They don’t realise that the person is crying out for help, but feels like they’re drowning in water. They feel like they can’t escape that feeling, and feel there is only one way to stop the pain. They might feel like nobody cares, that the world is so cruel or that they don’t feel a sense of meaning or purpose. Even someone like Kate Spade who appeared to be so successful and have everything, felt empty inside. It really shows that money doesn’t buy you happiness. No materials of a nice apartment, clothing and so on can make us happy. It’s really the relationship we have with our self and others.
This is why we should all strive to be more understanding, patient, kind and loving. Nobody is perfect, but our daily interactions and the words we say have power. I know that seeing someone smile at me can really make my day. Never be ashamed or afraid to reach out for help. You deserve to get help, and don’t ever feel embarrassed to feel the way you feel. I remember one year I felt so afraid, I stayed indoors a lot and it was suffocating. I lost so much faith in God and in myself, and I could feel that my life was crumbling because of that. We live in a judgmental world, but the truth is most people are more concerned about their own life. Everyone wants to be loved. When we focus on what we have, we realise that we have a lot. Focusing on lack and failure is what can cause depression to become more and more serious.
Growing up, I often got told “You’re such a happy person, Katie,” because I love to smile and laugh. However, it was also easy for me to smile and pretend I was okay, when I was really struggling inside. This is one of the most important posts I feel the need to write because it means so much to me. It’s really something that I want to say, in terms of reaching out, asking for help and taking action no matter how difficult. Counseling, talking to a close friend or family or someone that you can trust without having any judgment. We live in a superficial and shallow world. I really feel that sometimes. The amount of teenagers who have self harmed, or the amount of youth that feel depressed are so much more common than we know.
I was at work last night, and the last customer was an elderly man. I said “You are so brave, coming out in the cold weather,” it must of been 6 degrees, or at least it felt like it was. He said that as he grows older, he knows that we have to make the most of each day, no matter whether it’s hot or cold. I’ve had many cold days where I used to have a panic attack almost everyday, and cry from anxiety. However, I truly believe that we can all set ourselves free, and live a meaningful life. Depression really puts you in a cage, and it makes you convinced that you can’t do this or that. If you know someone who is going through a mental illness, pray for them and believe they will heal. The truth is, no matter how much we want to help, it’s a journey that has to be overcome by the person themselves.
Everyone has personal things in their life going on, and it’s so easy to see what’s only on the surface in a digital age. We judge quickly, we make assumptions and we live in a visual society. We put too much value on how things look, rather than how things feel. We see things from the surface, rather than from the heart. We all have the ability to be supportive and caring, and it’s important to reach out if you need to, because sometimes those who care about us most might not know how much one might be hurting inside. Negativity robs us of life’s contentment. Everyone goes through ups and downs, and it’s really okay to cry, tell someone you trust about it or reach out for help. Your personal well being and health is the biggest priority. A person’s life is so valuable and precious, and your life matters.
If you need help, please contact:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 – Provides 24 hour telephone counselling
• Youthline: 0800 376 633 or free text 234 – Provides 24 hour telephone and text counselling services for young people
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (4pm – 6pm weekdays)
• The Lowdown: thelowdown.co.nz – website for young people ages 12 to 19.
If you need a friend to talk to, please don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org