I have alluded to such bulldozing force of ‘self-sabotage’ in previous blog posts to spread mental health awareness and promote visibility of such a dilapidating illness. I now would like to share a poem I wrote 1 year and a half ago and the words flooded out of me. I have never shared this before because I truly feel like I am bearing my darkest moment of my soul for all to see. But, with all the support I have received from previous posts I feel like now is the right time to publish this poem for all to see, and hopefully people will begin to truly grasp the seriousness of mental health.


Nothing great lasts too long
Such things are tampered with
But by what you may ask?
Or maybe the more poignant question, by who?
Well that remains to be seen
Before I ever recognise any sign of fulfillment I am always greeted by the awareness of its absence
Dampened by the sodden tears of loneliness
Drowning in the she absence of joy

Maybe there is some truth with such wives tale
You never know what is good until it is gone
But what is the cause of such vanishing act of contentment

I have a persistent stomach churning itch of a monster lurking in the shadows
Again…only becoming aware of its actions after the fact
When the arms of havoc let emptiness embrace me
Gaining a tight suffocating grasp upon ME…the real me
Is this monster the cause of such depression?
Like an old friend it greets me with a certain familiarity
A friend it is not
As with is it, it brings unerring unpleasantness
And unwelcome attendance

With one set in stone intention
To break the status quo and sabotage
Sabotage any flickering light of hope
Sabotage any chance of redemption
Sabotage any chance of recovery
And finally sabotage any chance of peace my soul is yearning to find

It’s come the time where this unrelenting sabotage has caused me to feel an unbridgeable void to happiness
An unbridgeable void to belonging
An unbridgeable void to the old me, the best version of me

I crave to unmask such monster
Expose the true agent to this devastating sickness
However it clings to me
Torments me
Controls me
Possesses me
And inconceivably and senselessly crushes my soul

What is left is I in anguish
I in irreparable despair
I in unimaginable rage
Despite all that is left it is the monster whom is responsible for the actions of unrelenting disparity and sabotage
So why is it I who is left with a lump in my throat
Tears gushing down my face
Drowning me with guilt

Because after such devastation every time the monster is unmasked
All I can see is a reflection
Adjoined with the realization that I am the monster of my own demons
I am the chains that bind me to this sickness
I am the master and deceiver of such demoralizing soul sucking self-sabotage
I find it unstoppable but unbearable
Fully aware of its deafening presence yet having no choice but to obey the laws of physics
Move out of the unstoppable forces way because that’s what makes it an unstoppable force

I am, however, aware that I have given it omnipotence in my mind
The destroyer or savior of my life is embedded in my mind
To save my soul I must save my mind
I must abuse this self-sabotage how it did to me
Bludgeon this self-sabotage how it did to me
Asphyxiate this self-sabotage how it did to me
Erase this self-sabotage how it did to me

All I have to remember is that my mind is my phoenix
My sickness is my flames
And one day I shall rise

Finding The Will To Carry On

Sometimes life can really feel like you are grasping at straws, never coming up trumps; or even grasping at the mere illusion of straws – false opportunities, any tiny sense of fulfillment to make all the ‘BS’ seem bearable. This is only a mere surface scratch to relate to how I have felt in the past and often felt completely lost in a sense of despair and drifting. I don’t know if everyone experiences the same struggles and manage to ‘fake it’ much more convincingly. But, to me, it felt like I was alone. Failing at life. Disappointing everyone and ruining everything. This feeling and almost deep-rooted belief became second nature, an embedded act of cynical thinking if you will. And so often I found myself falling, and falling, and falling; further and further into the dark, never-ending abyss of depression and scarring of my soul – my intrinsic being – with an emotional crater, creating a seemingly unbridgeable void to my former self. Honestly, looking back I have to count myself lucky. Lucky that I never let go of the most minuscule sense of hope. Lucky, that I battled against my demons. And most of all, lucky that I repeatedly found the will to carry on and stand back up fighting every time I knocked myself down.

For years, I found myself dumbfounded and completely puzzled at what destroying force could possibly have the heart – thereby lack of – to cause such consuming, callous thoughts. I realize for many, the source of depression and mental health struggles can be the result of a capitulation of multiple events, circumstances and issues. But for me, everything boiled down to one thing. Underneath my own reckless, demonizing and persecuting mask of emotional trauma was me. All my pain, suffering, self-hating and down right self-torturing was all from my own internalized shame of self-identification and latent self-worth. Years of self-hating and shaming myself due to my sexuality and own image; years of self-abusing verbally and physically due to my own inability to accept myself and have trust in my peers, my family and wider society to welcome me in; and years of mental scrutiny and distress due to my own self-defense mechanism being in overdrive. I worried about my worries, almost a sense of heightened anxiety, described by doctors as severe anxiety. Such feeling, I fear I could never truly bottle the essence of sheer panic in overdrive. I can only attempt to reach a mere abstract comparison from my own experience of anxiety and the mental toll it takes out of you; triggering depression and ultimately, for me, mental relapse.

The feel of being a claustrophobic asthmatic in a tightly enclosed space. The walls pushing in, closer and closer. Squeezing each last molecule of oxygen out of your lungs and the tightening of your chest begins. A haunted hand grappled around your throat. Every sense draining out of your body, until you feel like an empty vessel of nothingness, only harboring one thing – panic, terror and pure unfiltered anxiety. That feeling of confinement, asphyxiation and complete hopelessness is what drives the monster; is what tightens the noose around your neck and amplifies the unwanted benefactor, which for me was depression of the darkest of sorts.

As highlighted in previous posts, I am still recovering and still receiving treatment and on medication. But, I can truly say that I am not the blank canvass I used to envisage, I am a fully grown independent woman, living with my beloved girlfriend and studying a university course I am fully invested in. So what changed? How did I find that will to carry on? I’d like to think in some enchanted, fairy-tale mythological sense that it found me but in truth I don’t think I ever truly let go of hope. Buried deep it may have been but I protected it, I nurtured it and when the time eventually came I trusted myself in it. For me the magic in that moment, when you pick yourself up in midst of such a depressive cyclone of raw emotional release, you don’t give up, you stand back up to take another hit , to go the full 10 rounds and escape the KO. That magic, shows you that you believe in yourself, have faith in yourself and one day will return to yourself.

I cannot emphasize enough how often I wanted to throw in the towel, let down my defences and take that final KO punch. However, that is not what happened. Call it persistence, call it inner strength, or even call it a miracle; I never let go and neither should you. Believe me when I say, the hardest thing to do is to keep on standing, keeping on fighting and to keep on believing. Once, you accomplish that, you can do whatever you set your mind to. So, ultimately, it’s not about finding that will to carry on but instead, always holding onto it because deep down you hold the keys to your own power, your own tenacity, you own dedication, every little attribute that protects that fostering of hope and manufactures the will to fight.

Please know that you are not alone. Keep on fighting, Keep on willing. Keep on surviving.

The Long Road To Recovery

A road which at some points in my depressive, destructive struggle would have seemed alien to me. Unreachable. Unattainable. But by some near miracle I have made it to that road; the road full of hope and promise and I am recovering. Even uttering those three words now almost brings me to tears. To have finally, after all these years reach a point where I can wholeheartedly stand up and announce I can see the end of the tunnel and I will get there.

Recovery is different for everyone. For me, it was about accepting myself and admitting to myself and the world that I needed help. Above all, it was coming to terms with my inner demons and learning to cope with the bullying trolls of my subconscious. And by long road, I mean grueling emotional torture, with the walls of anxiety and isolation moving closer and closer in, pressing down on my soul, breaking my being and suffocating me into a state of absolute despair. It was only once I got to that breaking point, a fork in the road, if you will, presented itself and in order to take one step towards and onto my road to recovery I had to first of all admit. Admit the root cause and issue of my pain, the identity of the megaphone which was amplifying my deafening cries of self-hatred and disarray. Still to this day I would argue that the hardest thing I have ever done is to face myself, look at my reflection, with my insecurities , vulnerabilities and all my sickness spreading demons glaring back at me and saying to myself: this is me. Who I am will never change and I should have never have tried to hide that or change it. What needs to change is my outlook, my perception of myself and my judgement of the weight outside/societal social perception should bear in my life and in my mind.

Once I faced myself, faced my demons and finally began to fight to break the chains that bound me to my mental illness, I found, looking back now that I was already half way on the road to recovery. To announce to myself and truly make Heather hear that I am gay and I am proud. I am weird, quirky and unpredictable and that is ok, in fact that is great. I am slightly funny looking and was 15 stone. All of these things are me and make me Heather. To think, I ever wanted to change that, hide Heather and lock her in a closet in a state of claustrophobic anxious depressive panic, completely floods the very depths of my soul with sadness. But in this sadness, which I can’t lie I do still feel and struggle with as I am still recovering, I have found immense strength, immense pride in my identity and family for accepting me as simply Heather and I have found immense comfort in the realization that you do not have to be thin, aesthetically perfect, overwhelmingly popular to be loved. Because overall, it is in love I have found my true beauty, my true confidence and self-acceptance of who I am. Through meeting my girlfriend, sharing every breath of bliss and every gleaming smile of happiness with her, I have learned to heal; I have learned to open up and most of all I have learned to love myself again and see the value in true, binding friendships and everlasting connections of love between family, friends and partners.

Now, you must not fall into the trap of thinking recovery is easy, comes natural or even is speedy. No, unfortunately it is not. But, by god can I tell you how much stronger, resilient and sensitive to those around you, you are afterwards. As I said it’s not simple. Personally, after breaking the deafening silence of depression and bearing the stifling stage of coming out, I was in disillusion, making false promises to myself and my loved ones that I was better, I was ok, I was healed just because I had admitted it. Yes, it is a gigantic step, which I personally view as the most essential and life-changing. However, by admitting my problems and struggles that had only permitted me to take that step onto my recovery journey, a great deal more work and self-reflection needed to be done. It was at this stage that I regrettably faltered. As I say, I was disillusioned and believed I was now ‘fixed’. I could scream at myself now because I had it all wrong I did not need ‘fixing’, I simply needed to accept myself and welcome the Heather that I had admitted I had been suppressing in. For some that may be easy but for me it came with more struggles.

My struggles and personal battles were buried so deeply in my subconscious that their surface manifestations were unrecognizable to me as problems of concern. The constant putting off of sharing my sexuality with my friends and family, suppressing my overwhelming fear of rejection, loss and even being ostracized by those I consider my nearest and dearest. But it was the moments that I was at my most vulnerable and filled with raw honesty and heartfelt emotion that I grew and blossomed into the seedling Heather that had always been hiding in the deepest chasm of my soul, stowed safely away until the day I was brave enough to bear my soul to another for all to see. Nevertheless, my self-sabotage as I call it (my demons of destruction and seething self-hatred), still consumed my everyday life and shamefully sent me into a vicious, binge cycle of drinking, fostering the unhealthiest relationship between me and alcohol. A subject which I find very difficult to talk about because it still to this day and forever will haunt me and disgust me at how I let myself become a dependent too such a life destructive substance. Thankfully, my saving grace managed to pull me out of the wreckage of my life and managed to make me see the light of day, the beaming hope and excitement for my future and our future together. She taught me to love myself, accept myself for who I really am, no need to force myself into a unhealthy binge culture to fit in, to be liked or to have friends because if they don’t cherish me for who I truly am they are not true friends anyway.

Through never-ending self-sabotage and subconscious self-depressive manipulation forging self-hatred and distraught, I couldn’t be happier to say I am ok. I am in recovery. I am strong. I am proud. And I am loved. If my long journey of self-exploration and recovery has taught me anything it is to be true to yourself, never compromise your identity and inner being. Above all, please, just listen to yourself, accept yourself and love yourself and you will be ok because you are not alone – keep fighting.

I am Heather, once lost, now found, still recovering and still learning each day but I am stronger and prouder than ever. And you can be too, just take that step…

Lost…A Whirlwind of Emotion

Staring into the dark abyss of my crippled soul, my smoldering fears and quivering sense of insecurity on a heart numbing winters night when I was 18; Heather was obsolete, Heather was crushed and Heather was utterly decimated. Yet even in such harrowing moments of crippling depression; 6 months before my deafening call for help, I found the most minuscule fringes of hope to cling too in the most hidden crevices of my soul, and I never let go.

In despair, blubbering through the pain of destruction and depression, having recently dropped out of uni and feeling at a complete loss for direction, I felt a need, a calling to put what I was feeling into words. Part of me just knew one day, I would have the courage to share my story and let people gain a glimpse of my soul at its darkest, most vulnerable and menacing points insecurity. Words poured onto the page in unison with the cascade of tears streaming down my distraught face. Now, I am not a poet, but in my unapologetically raw display of emotion, it was a poem that took shape on the page and it is that poem which I would like to share with you today.

In honor of this raw show of emotion, I have kept my blog completely raw. Just me, you and the words between us. So here it is…

 Lost...A Whirlwind of Emotion 

Thoughts running
Mind numb
All these feelings, yet no answer to one
Head spinning
Still alert
So here I lay, bound to my sorrows unable to sleep
Feeling troubled yet no sense of urgency
Drifting through each day
No sense of purpose
Drifting through each day
No imminent new leaf
Wish I could help myself
But no sense of relief
Urgency is needed to find a new start
But still helpless here I lay, wishing upon a star
Drowning in thoughts
Persisting demons in my brain
Creating harrowing confusion
Laying here lost, I wish they could be tamed
Worries swallowing me whole
Creating multiple scars
These will heal in time
But for now, the anxiety continues to creep forward
Closer and closer it comes
So here I lay twisting and turning, trying desperately to get to sleep

But the deafening silence gives it a stage
It’s unforgiving face emerging from the shadows
Here it is now breathing down my neck
Possessing me
Controlling me
Consuming me
Hollering in disrespect

 Forcing me into the shadows away from the light
Desperate now here I lay
All that is left is hope and faith to pull me out from the dark
The little I have left is hidden
From those demons who have me scared
But sacrifice it to those ghastly ghouls I daren’t
It will prove useful one day and they will be shown dirt
So here I lay helpless wishing for many things
Above all is to end the hurt
All I can hope for are answers
To find a map to this maze
A compass to guide
Put a stop to the dead ends
The drifting
The doubters
A belonging is needed
Ambition will follow
So here I lay sending this wish
Hoping to find myself in this deep abyss
That’s if I ever get to sleep
To feel the relief of burden
To break free from the chains that bind me to this sickness
Escape this unsure me and cast a new part
Jump full force into the next chapter
And see all my folk proud at heart
Yet troubled still here I lay
With no obvious plan of action
Yearning for that light
That inspiration
The one we are all promised we will find
So here I lay at night
Waiting for the drifting to stop
And see my dreams ignite

I would just really like to take this opportunity to hit home that is what all you need to do is simple. Never give up and you will be ok. I was. I am Heather, who are you?

My Depression and Me

First thoughts when glancing at these pictures are perhaps: happy, self-assured, living life to the fullest or maybe even fulfilled. But I guarantee, you weren’t considering the words: mask, barrier, delusion, scared or depressed. But I was all of those things when each of those pictures were taken. When I was being care-free jumping off boats on holiday with my best friends at 18, or even at university (albeit the first-time round) when I was also 18; even when I was living the summer of a lifetime in America at 19. And as much I wish it were not true and I could present myself as fully healed today, even at 21, I am still fighting a battle which sometimes feels like I am drowning in. I have lived with and am still living with depression and anxiety noticeably for me since I was 15 years old. That’s not to say I haven’t encountered varying times of severity and relief with my personal mental health struggles but it has been a constant weight on my shoulders throughout my adolescence and beginning of my independent adult life. I am fortunate enough and proud to be writing and sharing my story with you all today because for the first time since I was 15 years old, I can see the light at the end of the cataclysmic journey of self-despair and mental torture. I can finally see how I am stronger, more self-aware and understanding of my mental state now than I was 6 years ago, than I was 2 years ago; even than I was 6 months ago.

I wanted to take the step to be completely open and honest about my journey and demons on my blog today; in support of Mental Health Awareness Week. I feel that it is so important for those struggling to realize that they are not alone, YOU are not alone; no matter how long you’ve been fighting – for one day or 6 years, or even longer – you’re story, your beautiful mind and mental well-being matters and people care about you, I care about you. These are words that I truly mean and wholeheartedly stand by because everyone deserves and needs to read, understand and process this message because there is help, support and fellows out there. You just need to be brave enough to take the hardest but most worthwhile step – ask for help, talk to someone, share your feelings, your struggles, your story. Be it a friend, a family member, GP/health professional or a stranger. Admitting that you need help and acknowledging something is wrong is the hardest part of the struggle. Even if from this, you decide that you aren’t ready for that step then just do not give up the fight; by reading this you are helping yourself already.

Personally, for me I didn’t recognize the extent of my struggles and depression or even acknowledge its existence until one night when I was 19 I broke down completely. I was stuck, frozen in a ball on the floor of my room for hours; rocking back and forth in absolute tears and despair. I was so unhappy and had never felt so alone and separated from the entirety of existence. I was honestly at the lowest of lows and completely petrified still by my inner demons, telling me that I had let everyone down, everyone hated me and I didn’t deserve anything or even be here anymore. Before, everything I’d been feeling for years, each individual corrupting thought, feeling, emotion and action of self-harm had been isolated from the other; but now in that moment marked the capitulation – one raw outburst of distraught and destructive depression.

From that moment, everything change for the better. After hours of crying, verbally abusing and physically hitting myself, I gathered the courage to lean over the banister and push out the cry for help. The monumental moment which marked the absolute crushing of my soul but also the saving grace of my life and Heather as I knew her. It was then when I called my mum to my room and managed to admit to her that I was not ok, I needed help and I didn’t know what was wrong with me or when or how I’d lost my self, my inner sense of being, the fun bubbly Heather, the real me along the way. But, I knew, I wanted to fight for the rest of my life to get her back and make it up to my family who’d I’d lashed out to for years in frustration with myself and as a barrier to deflect from my deep rooted issues. The next day, I called the doctors and everything changed because I was no longer letting my mind and depression rule me, I was breaking free from the chains that bound me to the illness and was no longer acting as a slave to it; I was writing my own narrative, ruling my own Heather journey – taking control. And I still am. I now know that on that day I took the first and hardest step, which was onto the road to recovery, because of that step I’ll be ok and in that moment I knew I’d one day finally be able to recognize myself again – the unpredictable hazardous being that is Heather. Ultimately, for me that moment is one of two in my entire life that I can pinpoint as “Finding Heather”.

This by no means is the entirety of my story or my struggle but I wanted to make this post to symbolize the importance of reaching out, asking for help and what a change it can make. Also, I want everyone who reads this to take away that no matter if someone is smiling or laughing that it does not always mean they are ok, happy or mentally stable. I cannot emphasize how often people tell me I do not suffer from a mental illness because when they see me I am always smiling. But, that is my coping mechanism, I deflect, I put up a mask and hide the inner dark disturbing havoc of my mind. So please never make assumptions of how people are feeling or what they are going through. You can never know and the person them-self might not have even admitted it yet.

I know not all of us have mental health struggles and my personal journey by no means covers even 1% but they all carry the same message and sentiment in my eyes. I guarantee if you haven’t encountered mental health struggles yourself then you know of someone who has. Reach out to them, let them know they are not alone. Or if it is yourself who feels like you can barely breath, asphyxiated by you own thoughts, then I urge you to reach out, ask for help and support. I hope me opening up shows that depression, mental health does not define you, there is hope and you will get better, you are not alone, we just need to stick together and raise awareness of this very real and very debilitating illness and personal struggle.

Thank you very much for reading, I hope I have managed to get my message across. I am Heather and I can finally say I am found.