This Is Me

Why This Is Me?

For anyone who is a regular reader of this blog, you’re probably aware that music is incredibly important for both myself and Alex. It can help us describe how we feel, lift us when we’re down and be a balm when our mental health is at its worst. A few weeks ago I came across ‘This Is Me’ from the Greatest Showman soundtrack and this wonderfully anthemic piece really did something marvellous. It gave me a massive push, to try, to get out of my comfort zone and do things that terrified me. It reminded me that I’m stubborn and I’m not giving in to depression and anxiety.

Now, okay. To some, going for a couple of job interviews isn’t that big a deal. But to me it is. Going on holiday with Alex and my children for the first time was terrifying. Tonight I’m going to an outdoor performance of Macbeth and it’s been a struggle to find the motivation to make the picnic that I promised I would take. I want to go but the thought of going anywhere today is terribly daunting. This is the impact that having depression can have on me and for some people, well let’s be honest, they neither understand or like it.  Like many others who suffer with depression and anxiety, I’ve heard them all. The ‘just get over it’, the ‘snap out of it’, the ‘what is wrong with you?‘, the list of comments that can get slung at you is endless.

Because They Just Don’t Get It

A lot of people just don’t understand mental health issues. They don’t want to, can be just ignorant or sometimes just downright idiots. Unfortunately the idiots are the worst. Like the ones who think social media is the place to start ranting about how things like depression are because people are weak minded, or lazy. These same people are often the ones who call self harm attention seeking. This kind of thinking is what builds into the stigma that already surrounds mental health.

So what has this got to do with a song you ask? Well, as I was listening to the words I saw how this song could be an anthem for those suffering with mental illness against all those who disparage and belittle. Here’s a snippet of some of those lyrics that got into my head.

I am not a stranger to the dark
Hide away, they say
‘Cause we don’t want your broken parts
I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one’ll love you as you are
But I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are glorious
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me
The Shame Game
That’s the thing. At different times I’ve been told that no-one would love me as I am. I’ve been told I am broken and unworthy because of my mental health . I’ve hidden the scars on my arms, stomach and legs from the world and made to feel ashamed.
But I’m not. One thing Alex and I, and countless others like Hope Virgo, Rebecca Lombardo, Rethink Depression and more are all doing is taking a stand. We are not ashamed to share our mental health journey, we won’t be embarrassed into hiding our symptoms because it makes others uncomfortable. Whether any of these warriors realise it or not, by sharing their journey, like me they are shouting to the world THIS IS ME! Yes, I have a mental illness but it does not define me. I’m not ashamed of my illness and the damage I’ve done to my body when I was at my worst. I was severely ill, but I survived.
So, This Is Me!
Yes! This is me. I’m a mum to 2 children, I work in a call centre, I’m in a happy relationship. One of the things I love is watching The Big Bang Theory, I love cooking and having friends over for dinner.  Oh and yeah, I have depression and anxiety. I take medication for these conditions and there are days that are worse than others. No-one can call me weak minded or lazy, so I am as worthy as anyone else. The same goes for anyone who is suffering. You are not lazy, weak or a failure. You are worthy. Like it says in the song  ‘we are warriors’.
If someone is telling you any of those awful things, put ‘This Is Me’ on and drown them out. (Yes, I know the song is sung by the bearded lady, but what better song to demonstrate inclusion in a world where many are seen as outcasts?) Whether they like it or not, there’s a flood happening right now. People are taking notice and starting to talk about mental health issues, changes are happening. The more people who are standing up and sharing their stories, the more we can normalise the conversation about mental illness.
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Become a PatronDisclaimer: I am not an expert, nor am I medically qualified.  This blog is based on my personal experiences only.  Always seek medical advice in the first instance.

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