Hello, my name is Raphaelle, and I have depression

Look at what’s all around you. Wonders, friendships, challenges. You just have to keep your eyes open and take it all in as part of your journey through life. It makes us who we are.

Three years ago today I entered a dark and horrible headspace. I didn’t realise it at the time, but I’d got to the point where the vicious circle couldn’t stop.

That evening I’d been invited out to an event. It was a good night. I got dressed up, had plenty of chat and of course, there was a good deal of drinking. I still don’t know quite what triggered the final fall, but that night I left the party and headed home with a plan to never wake up.

Looking back terrifies me

The thought of returning to that mindset where everything is too much to deal with so death feels like a relief, well, that scares me. It’s the thought that I’m capable of thinking that way and whether it could return. And it has.

It’s a strange feeling to know you want to say goodbye to everything. I always thought suicide was a selfish act, but the reality is you feel like a burden.

There’s many reasons why people have depression. I’m working through mine with a therapist and I’m on medication. That doesn’t always suit my previous party-girl habit lifestyle. I’m having to adjust and take time to re-prioritise what’s important to me.

It shouldn’t feel like a taboo

I know a lot of people wouldn’t think of me as a person with such strong insecurities. I can certainly hand out my fair share of critiques. What has been inspiring for me is to learn that the people who I often look up to and respect are facing their own issues and crises.

Depression isn’t something we like to talk about. When someone asks how you are, we rarely say that we’re not doing so good. It’s seen as a sign of weakness. Changing that view has become important to me. I’m determined to help remove the taboo of mental health so that we can talk about it and actually help make things better.

I’m lucky to now be in a position where I can afford quality support. I have a job I love and am surrounded by amazing people who ‘get me’.

Right now, all over the world, we’re again faced with having to fight for human rights, gender equality and respect for diversity and inclusion, without sacrificing our safety. Now is the time to be powerful.

I want to feel content

Happiness used to feel like a state of being. An ideal or holy grail that we aspire to reach. Three years ago I couldn’t have told you how I felt but I am now beginning to recognise that to be content you have to live through the wonders and challenges you face day to day.

Some days are easier than others, but all I have to remember right now is that I’m lovely.

Here’s to the crazy ones

Who I am today is still a confident, independent, young woman. I’m passionate, strong-willed (although a bit stubborn) and a rebel. That’s how I like it.

After all, to paraphrase Steve Jobs, “it’s the misfits and the troublemakers who see things differently… while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

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It’s Going To Be Ok

It’s been a year and 13 days since I broke my leg. That was the day I left my current role in government, looking to try something new in freelancing.

It was a very good year

If I’d known then what I know now, I think the year might not has felt so hard. Such a battle or struggle. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to get work, what with not being able to move from bed. I didn’t know how to sell myself without going out and networking. And fitting myself into a box that ticks the needs of clients seemed like an impossible task.

What I know now, is that I’m resourceful, hard working, thoughtful and more than capable. I can do whatever I turn my mind to. I don’t have to be scared of the unknown. And I certainly don’t have to feel incompetant because I wasn’t as able bodied as everyone else.

Feeling secondary

Being on crutches for so long makes you feel like it’s all people recognise about you. I started to feel like my first impressions were all about my limp. That the crutches and boot over my broken leg were all that defined me. It was frustrating and depressing at times. It’s hard to be strong and focused. To get well and feel like you need to achieve things workwise at the same time.

Taking some time out

So after a year and 13 days. Now that I’m back on two feet, that I’m walking and riding my horse, and just about jogging across the road to get out of the way of oncoming traffic. I’m taking some time out. And that’s going to start in New York.

The sun is shining. I’ve walked over 50 blocks. Clocking up over 15,000 steps. Over 5 hours. Last time I was here I could barely do 3 blocks in 30 mins. So, I’m going to take this time to reflect on how far I’ve come. That the ends did meet and bills were paid. That my injury didn’t stop me and that I’m now enjoying the things I love doing.

Afterall, even after all that’s happened, it’s going to be ok.