All that I am, all that I ever was…

I am more than my mental health. I am more than my homelessness. I am more than any one aspect of me. I am Addy. And this is…

An Open Letter to Family, (ex)Friends and Acquaintences

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[NOTE –  This is an email which was sent to members of my family to inform them of the blog.]

Dear All,

Your lives, I’m sure, have been feeling rather neglected of late – without the rather erratic appearance of an email update from the wacky adventures of that member of the Lake family currently residing in the Southern Hemisphere.

For this I humbly apologise, however, there is a reason.

Some of you may already be aware that 2007 – my 28th year on this humble planet – has far from been the greatest year in this member of the Lake family’s life. A lot of things have happened, and not all of them good.

In the basic possible terms – in March of this year, following a month of ever progressing unfortunate circumstances, I suffered a nervous breakdown. Since then I have been slowly trying to reassemble the ever crumbling pieces of my life.

Imagine a jigsaw puzzle of about 2800 pieces, then wander into the middle of the Severn Bridge, throw them off the side, and then attempt to gather up all the pieces in order to assemble the picture (which by the way is of a turtle eating a melon).

That’s kinda how this year has been feeling for me. Whenever I get close to seeing the turtle munching into the nice juicy piece of melon, I realise another piece is still lurking somewhere in the bottom of the river.

The up shot is, about a month ago, I began working on a blog which I aimed to not only help me find all those pieces, but to share my life with the world in the hope that what has been happening to me over the last 12 months would not have to be endured by anyone else on this crazy wee planet.

In order to do this I needed to throw myself back into my life over the last decade; a decade plagued by chronic depression. This is something which a lot of people were unaware of, as I have hidden it well, but has been there nonetheless. My main objective on the blog was to share my experiences of depression in order to try and explain how someone suffers, and in the process try to do my bit to eliminate the stigma so prevalent within the world of mental health.

Writing the blog and sharing my life in such brutal raw honesty has been a very difficult thing for me to do. I have been constantly thinking about how family/friends would react to the information within it and have – on occasion – considered censoring myself in order to protect the people in my life that I care about.

However, I decided that in order to fulfill my goals in explaining the life of someone who suffers from a mental illness, I could not censor myself. As such, some of the tales I recount and information I give will be read by those who know me as being quite disturbing and upsetting.

Within the blog I discuss, in some detail; how depression has affected me from mid-teens thru to the present day, periods of self-harm and also four suicide attempts which I have made. I am fully aware how upsetting these may be to read and fully understand if you choose not to do so.
I wanted however for you to be made aware of the blog before you accidentally stumbled across it, due to it’s inclusion on my profile on sites such as Facebook and Myspace.

I wanted however for you to be made aware of the blog before you accidentally stumbled across it, due to it’s inclusion on my profile on sites such as Facebook and Myspace.

It is important for you all to know that I am not intentionally writing this blog to harm anyone. I realise and understand, as I say, that it could be upsetting to read and think of me in the light that this blog portrays. However, after all of my experiences this year – and over the last decade – I am tired of hiding something which I feel I should not have to hide.

Suffering from a mental illness is not a weakness, it is not something I should be ashamed of, and I know that it is not who I am.

I am me. I am Addy. The same unabashed Dr Who fan, slightly befuddling, Jacket Potato loving, definitely insane member of the Lake family that you have always known.

I have just decided to make a stand against something which I have seen destroy too many lives, including my own.

With Love and Hugs always,
Addy xx

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