Wonderful You has always been a place for me to share my honesty, but honestly? It’s pretty much always been a platform on which I look ‘my best’. My instagram feed is full of my freshly painted face or my next thought-out outfit. My blog a place to showcase topics I feel are important, but that are portrayed in a way that make me feel most beautiful.
It’s a word that makes that ‘best self’ disappear quicker than I could have ever imagined.
It’s not been something I’ve felt able to share until now. But I feel like I’m running out of words to hide behind and I’m realising hiding behind this isn’t getting me anywhere fast.
I’m unwell and there’s no shame in that; but continuing to share only my best days with you isn’t what I want, it never has been.
Lord knows I’m not the only one who has depression. But I’ve never felt so alone, so ugly, so unworthy of happiness or success.
There’s support for mental health, but god, it’s not enough. Especially when we live in a digital generation, where everyone’s best lives are in our faces every day.
I still felt such shame going to the doctors – where in the waiting room there were hundreds of pamphlets about coping with illnesses, but not one related to mental health.
We live in a world where everyone can sympathise with a broken leg, but not a broken mind.
And so I wanted to show you how I really look at the moment.
How my skin is transparent and I’m exhausted. I have breakouts due to stress and lack of sleep, I can’t be bothered to brush my hair and my skin is dehydrated and dry; but most days, this is how I look. They’re the hardest images I’ve ever shared – not because I’m makeup free, but because I can see the damage my mind has done to my face, my body.
I asked Alex to take these photos of me and that she leave them completely untouched, unedited. She asked if I was sure and I wasn’t…I’m still not. But I knew that if I could muster the courage, I wanted every part of me to be on show - completely raw, honest and true.
This is me, right now.
The fear I feel putting this out in to the world is like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It’s a new form of honesty so personal I can’t quite believe I’ll hit publish.
Our mind is our sacred place; we’re the only ones who can hear our thoughts - so what do you do when that goes from being a blessing to a curse?
Understanding depression isn’t easy.
I’ve had to learn quickly to go much slower. To listen to my body and take breaks as much as I can. To be honest and open with people around me so they won’t expect too much. Accept that loved ones want to be supportive and it doesn’t mean I’m weak because of it. Accept that not everyone that cares about me will be able to offer support.
Sometimes I feel nothing; sometimes I feel everything all at once - numb and hyperaware simultaneously. Sometimes there’s a reason, sometimes there isn’t. Some days are good, some days aren’t. It’s exhausting, but I’m getting the help I need.
I suppose I’ve always found the process of sharing my thoughts online therapeutic – but today’s post is as much for you as it is for me.
I wanted these photos, these words, to be a slither of reality in an otherwise seemingly perfect world. To say to you that you are not alone, that these feelings, they needn’t alienate you. This part of our lives, it doesn’t define us – depression doesn’t mean we aren’t capable of greatness; depression doesn’t mean we aren’t already magnificent.
I want the stigma to exist only in the past. For everyone to understand that we are still powerful beings – yes there may be darkness, but we’re still able to shine, too. And that like a broken bone, we just need a little more time to heal.
So for now, I may not be my best version of myself - but currently this is my beautiful.
Photography by my favourite lady Alexandra Cameron – who captures beauty in every moment. Get in touch here to book your shoot.