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Monday, 20 February 2017

THE FACE OF DEPRESSION.

A blog post talking about living with depression and beating the stigma around mental health. Photography by Alexandra Cameron.
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. 

Depression. 

It’s a word that makes that ‘best self’ disappear quicker than I could have ever imagined. 
A blog post talking about living with depression and beating the stigma around mental health. Photography by Alexandra Cameron.
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. 
A blog post talking about living with depression and beating the stigma around mental health. Photography by Alexandra Cameron.

Photography by my favourite lady Alexandra Cameron – who captures beauty in every moment. Get in touch here to book your shoot.

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43 comments:

Holly White said...

Oh Megan this post is absolutely amazing and so brave and honest of you to post. I relate to every single word - especially the part about feeling everything all at once but also nothing at all. These photos are beautiful and honest and I love that you have created this because I seriously love it. It's great to see more people break down that wall that is the persona of social media and for them to open up about what's really going on. I hope this year brings you better days! Lots of love for you! xxxx

Gemma Roberts said...

Incredibly powerful and incredibly beautiful.

Sending you all the love x

Gemma
Faded Windmills

Kayleigh Jean said...

Incredible honesty,and something that I really needed to read,thank you.
After years of feeling like this I finally went to the doctors,but as you said where's the leaflets on mental health? It's getting spoken about a lot more these days,which is amazing,but there could be much more awareness and help,for people to understand that depression is an illness too.
Not that I want anyone else to experience this,but it's comforting knowing I'm not the only one,when with depression you really do feel alone.
Thanks again and beautiful photos xx

Frock Me I'm Famous said...

Lady this post was so honest and powerful, I completely adore you and take my hat off to you for posting this as I can imagine it was a scary thing to do. You're the most beautiful person I've ever met; both inside and out - definitely just go easy on yourself and like you said, take breaks when you can. We're all here with the support as and when you need it my love.

All my love <3
Hayley xo
www.frockmeimfamous.com

Shannon Baker said...

I love your honesty and I can totally relate to this post! Mental illness really does need more recognition. x

www.shanylou.co.uk

Cocoa Chelsea said...

You are amazing, brave, beautiful and truely wonderful.

punky0lola said...

Wow thank you for sharing this! It just helps so much reading of someone else feeling exact the same things as I do feel myself. You are so strong and beautiful und I really look up to you. Thank you.

Ciara Bottrell said...

This is amazing, you are so brave and wonderful and I really hope you get through this soon. You always create such inspirational posts and this one is going to help a lot of people, especially in a superficial world like the blogoshpere. Keep doing what you're doing Meg, in your own time though, we'll always be here.

Marbl☾☽Moon

Layers Of Lou said...

What an amazing piece, not only because it's well written and honest but because it's real life. The internet and blogging/vlogging world is saturated with illusions of perfection. The irony here with your initial hesitance to publish this post is that for me it's your most beautiful one yet, it's perfect. Perfection doesn't lie in flawlessness, it comes from our 'flaws', the very things that makes us individual, lovable and human! The pictures are perfect because they are you, unedited, the real 'version', the only 'you' there is. The you that has good and bad days. I don't see someone who is tired, with bad skin and unkempt hair like you mention, I see someone who is trying to make it through life the best way they can and is going about it in a way that hopefully not only helps themselves but benefits others. That is beautiful x

Louise Brown said...

Megan this post is beautiful. We are all fighting our own battles indeed, but having the confidence to say I'm not okay, but I'm going to be okay - is a huge step for anyone, and I really think your post and platform is going to encourage others to see the light at the end of the tunnel in this too. Sending positive vibes and know that I think you're crushing it every day!

The Little Things x

Ally Dowsing-Reynolds said...

Fantastically honest post Megs. Mental health issues can be so bloody hard, lonely, exhausting...I've been there and I'm sure I will be again. Sending you so much love right now.

Ally xx
Digital Diva

Luxe Style said...

What a wonderful post! So brave of you to be so honest. I suffer with terrible anxiety and the lack of help and support has been completely eye-opening and pretty devastating. There needs to be so much more support and understanding because so many people are struggling.

LuxeStyle

Khrissie Loves said...

I had a realisation not so long ago that mental health is still such a taboo subject, the fact that people are too afraid to share their feelings and then its too late breaks my heart. The fact that friends and family apologise to me if they aren't feeling their upbeat selves and stop living their lives because they dont feel worthy of it. I too have depression, its something I've tried to avoid but nothing you can do too much about, Ive been so far in the dark it has scared me but also in the light where I could see a happy future. I am so determined to help do something about this and I'm not sure how we can build on all the work that has been done but I am going to try.

Id love to get a squad together of people that get it and together find a way to make this as common to talk about as it is the weather.

I send you all the love for a happy future where this isn't something you have to deal with anymore. This was so beautifully written and with your audience I think you are already on your way to helping so many people!

Thank you for your honesty!
Khrissie xxx

Lauren Cokguler said...

In tears reading this post as it highlights just how many young women suffer from an illness that even in 2017 is still not being treated as seriously as physical health. No leaflets in Doctors surgery, no disucssions online. I only suffer with anxiety, but this limits my life, goals and dreams and i know how easy it is to feel alone. Everyone presumes you are ok because you "look it", but mental health is easy to hide behind make up, social media and designer clothes. Well done for being so honest. It's a horrible, dibilatating illness ans we lose people to it every year. I just hope the people reading this will know there are things out there, and it is worth the pain. Lauren xxx

Www.fashionpanic.co.uk

Elizabeth Sellers said...

As a long term sufferer of depression I totally relate to where you are coming from. It's incredibly hard to admit publicly when you have a mental illness and we still have a long way to go before that stigma disappears. So good for you for having the courage to share your experience.
Most importantly though, be kind to yourself. That's the number one priority.
x

Lauren Britton Loves said...

As I said on Twitter, a few key sentances here really caught me and how I've felt - you are incredibly powerful and awesome for sharing this, it really allows us to understand more about depression and it's effects, and also about you. All the love.

Lauren x
Britton Loves | Lifestyle Beauty Wellbeing

spidermonkeytwo said...

Going through similar for years. Comes and goes. Very hard to describe to ppl who have never experienced it. One day good, others bad. No rhyme or reason, thats the nature of the fog. More understanding and free help would benefit. In ireland help is very limited and mostly you have to pay to get the amount of help you need. When illness cant be seen or experiences by others, its very hard to fight for help and understanding. X

Victoria Goodman said...

I can totally relate to this beautifully written post. I've just started on Sertraline and feel so much shame taking them, I don't want to be on them, to rely on them and I feel that's mostly down to how it's dealt with in society. Even my boyfriend was too scared to open up to me and admit that he had depression. So often people just see the exterior and the pretend smile on your face and think that everything is okay - they don't bother pressing further, like they would if you had a cough or a rash. I really hope that one day every one can openly admit that we're not doing okay!

I admire your bravery and honesty in writing this post! Sending you lots of love x

Victoria | VictoriaaHelenn

Zoe Harrington said...

I started following you on Twitter because this post came up and I wanted to put time aside to read it.

And I have to say this was really brave of you but also that I - a complete stranger - am so proud of you for pushing yourself to be honest and open at a time when you feel closed off from the world. I'll be coming back to read more of your stuff.

Thank you for writing this. ��

Zoe Louise | http://bit.ly/zoelouiseblog

Unknown said...

I honestly believe you look beautiful in these photos. I can see the sadness in your eyes and I have felt this way too. Please know you will get through this time, and know your honesty is something you should be extremely proud of.

Danielle Ruppert said...

You are so beautiful love! This has been so inspirational to me and my dealings with depression! Thank you for sharing💕

Victoria Jane said...

This is so brave of you. I would never ever have the courage to write a post like this.

I am sorry I have nothing to say that can make you better, but I hope you overcome this soon. You still look a beauty!

x

Victoria | Victoria's Vintage

Emyii Rankin said...

Amazing post =]

Sheren Mhanaya said...

Not enough people talk about mental health which is so sad as there are so many people suffering (especially in silence) so well done for sharing this with us. I hope you have more good days than bad <3 Xx

THEFASHION-JUNKIE

Brittanie De-Ann said...

My goodness, I have never appreciated you more than I do right now! You are the most beautiful you have ever been! I can't thankyou enough for posting something so pure and honest, its truly incredible!
I want to be here for you, although I am a stranger, if there is anything you need, I'm only a message away xx

Gingey Bites said...

This is a really honest and lovely piece to read. You brought a tear to my eye when I watched your video picking up your new car, just remember that you've done all of this yourself and you should be so so proud of what you're achieving with Wonderful You. I'm a food blogger turned food & travel blogger and have been away from home since the start of October. It's the longest I've ever been out of the UK and at times I've struggled really badly with depression and loneliness but my instagram and blog show an amazing time of food, destinations, sunshine and all the rest. I totally applaud your bravery and think you look beautiful. xx

Amina Negm said...

You are an inspiration to every human being on this earth. To be so beautifully honestly raw, and to open up in a world where we only show our picture perfect moments. And to me you are a true hero!
We need more people like you!
Lots of love ❤️

Ashlynn C said...

Oh my darling Meg, I wish so much that we could just sit together and be, as we are. You've taken words right out of my heart. Lately, I've been feeling the darkness, and I really haven't said much of anything to anyone, even those closest to me. I can't find the words, and maybe I just don't feel like trying too hard. I don't have the energy or the motivation to try much of anything at all. I just want to lie in bed and do nothing, think nothing. You're always a little drop of sunshine, and like I always say, I will reach out and virtually hold your hand and be your friend in whatever way you need. Much love always.

Ashlynn, The Crimson Cardigan

Amelia Boswell said...

Beautifully written and put. Thank you for sharing with us your raw self in these days. You really are important to so many people. i've known loads of people that benefited from Drs, medicines, counselling. You'll find your path on this, I found mine. No Drs or medicine and counselling.

Amelia xx
thecurlyhairedgirl.org.uk

p.s. You are loved

Liv Slack said...

I'm so glad you wrote about this subject. I appreciate how hard it must've been but it's so honest, raw and real; you are an inspiration.

Alex Johnson said...

You are truly WONDERFUL. I love how raw and honest this is - something not enough people embrace. Thank you.

Melina said...

I just started following you on bloglovin' and I guess I started at the perfect time. This post spoke to me on such a deep level. I feel you don't realize that other people are going through what you're dealing with until it's literally right here in front of me. I also suffer from depression, and I every word resonated with how I feel. I take medication, and even then, it's not always enough. I try to put my best face forward, as you said, but on a regular day, I look almost exactly like you do. Thank you for being so brave, for putting words to how I feel, for being honest, and above all else for staying strong. This is a difficult battle to fight, but I'm proud of you. If you ever want to talk to a stranger on the internet, it might help. Good luck with continuing your journey to happiness xxx

Melina | www.ivefoundwaldo.com

Mona Faissal said...

Just in time Megan ....this is really great ... i have battling with depression all through my life ,in different ways , at different ages .... I never knew i had this mental illness until only 8 years ago .....clinical chronic depression ..... ! Your blog is so amazingly transparent and soul finding.... It explains in simple terms the most profound feelings of nothingness , anxiety , hopelessness and vacuum . Yet gives hope , albeit also a profound one in having a LIFE ... against all the odds. Chapeau my friend ...you are dong great ....I am from Egypt...around 58 ..... but have to admit ...You opened my eyes to a lot of facts and revelations .....thank you for that ....i just want to hug you ...you are beautiful inside out , dear

Leslie Noland said...

I found this page through Flipboard -- fashion is not exactly my domain. On the other hand, depression is something I understand well -- I was clinically depressed for 25 years. So let me say first, my heart goes out to you. I can relate to your pain and hope you find relief very soon. I applaud you for the photos -- while I am not beautiful like you I recognize the look, the vacant stare, the blank expression -- I saw it looking back from my mirror for years. One of the most confounding things I found in my journey was that, I heard from so many friends who had also been through depression and realized that I knew them during that period but was unaware of their problem -- they had done their best to hide it because of the stigma of mental illness. But it is that secrecy which feeds the stigma! How can we all understand how common and pervasive the problem is if we all hide our affliction? So, thank you for speaking up -- it was very brave. While my problems continued for 25 years despite trying dozens of antidepressants, hospitalizations, and even ECT, mine was not a typical case. Most people find relief much sooner so hang in there. Even though I had pretty much given up hope after so many years, I eventually found the right doctor and the right medication and I have been depression-free for nearly 10 years now. There is reason for hope. I would offer advice but after reading your story, I don't think you need it -- you have already learned lessons it took me many years to learn. All I will say is accept the love of those family and friends who are able and willing to give it and forgive those who cannot. No one can truly understand it if they have never been through it, so be glad for those who do not understand. I wish you all the best.

Megan Lillie said...

I'm super late to reading this, but thank you so much for sharing your story. I think we always show our outer shell and are afraid to share what's really going on, so thank you for being so brave to. I hope you're recovery is smooth and steady.

Megan. xo
Thumbelina Lillie | UK Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

Immy May said...

You are beautiful, Meg. Thank you so much for sharing with us... It is so important to realise that you are never alone. <3 I love the blogging community for this. Sending love and light xxx

www.immymay.com

Katy said...

From a fellow depression sufferer, thank you for sharing your story. It's so bloody hard living with a mental health condition. Unless you have experienced it yourself it's really hard for people to understand we have good and bad days. I agree it needs to be made more mainstream so people can at least, try to understand how debilitating it can be to be in our position. I have suffered on and off for 15 years after I had a life changing illness. Some months I feel like I'm beating the dark times, then depression will rear it's ugly head again. I found/find it most difficult when I became a mother to our 20 month old son, I was diagnosed with post natal depression, I am still on medication for that today and find whenever I try bring it up in a conversation with anyone other than close family and friends that it becomes the elephant in the room.

My point is we are not alone in this, it's a lonely place to be, but we can all get through the dark times and when the brighter times come we can help others too.

Sending all the love and positivity to you lovely ❤❤❤

Diana Maria said...

This is such an amazing post and I am so glad you shared it! At times, looking at social media it seems as though everyone is so happy and their lives are perfect- so it's great to see a different perspective. I really do believe we should be more open about mental health and know it's okay to fall apart at times. I hope you're doing well, and I look forward to reading your honest and genuine posts! Thank you so much for sharing xx

Sending love & light your way,
My Lovelier Days

Wendy said...

OMG -- you know what *I* thought when I saw your photos on this page? What a stunningly beautiful girl. Seriously! That is what struck me. I was so drawn to the first image I saw via bloglovin' that I clicked on the link to this page to see more. Do you have any idea how beautiful you are? OMG!!! You may see spots but I assure you I didn't even register "spots" until I read your text mentioning them. IF this is you on a bad day, wow, what I'd give to look like you on a bad day! You are STRIKINGLY beautiful!

As for the depression, please, please do get help. Don't give up. You CAN feel better, no matter what you are dealing with. If you get no joy from going to your GP (though they should definitely try!) go to your nearest emergency mental health department at a hospital. My sister was terribly depressed and the medication the GP gave her didn't work, and nor did the second one (though actually she was not taking that one long enough to know whether it would have worked) so one day she went to the emergency mental health department at her local hospital, and from that moment on, she got amazingly good care. They put her on a different antidepressant, and got her therapy and many different helpful services I had no idea were available on the NHS. She is now back to her old self -- happy, confident, living life so fully that I feel tired just hearing about everything she's doing! Phew!

I've also seen an amazing, life-saving transformation in several other people in my life when they got on the right antidepressant (antidepressants are not all the same as each other so if one doesn't work after a month or so, your doctor should try a different one. Then if that one doesn't work, try a different one again. Everyone I know who is on antidepressants tried several before the docs found the one that changed everything. DO NOT GIVE UP. If your doctor isn't helping, ask to be referred to a competent psychiatrist. If that seems to involve too long a wait, find out where the nearest emergency mental health or psychiatric clinic is (it will be in your local hospital most likely) and simply go there. They will help you immediately without weeks of waiting for a referral.

She Who Travels said...

I'm actually coming back to this page again Meg after reading it when you first published. It's kind of a comfort reading about someone I admire who's going through the exact same thing as me. I've dealt with it (just realised I can't even bring myself to write the word depression, like it's voldemort or something lol) for 4 years and it just seems to only get worse. I admire how you continue to work hard through it, God I wish I could too, I've been doing youtube for 2 years but just can't bring myself to film another video at all. Same with my blog, I started it with big ambitions and can barely bring myself to start writing a post anymore. It's so hard to explain. Thank you so much for sharing your story, I hope to talk about it someday too. You're awesome for bringing awareness, I'll follow you on the up <3 xx

Emily - www.shewhotravels.co.uk

NerdyBook Life said...

I'm glad I'm not wearing eyeliner today! This post made me think so much of myself I teared up! Always remember you are never alone!

Lindsay Davison said...

I'm so sorry you're suffering but thank you for sharing your story 🙂

www.lindsaydavison.co.uk

Aishling Browne said...

I admire your honesty and bravery. Its clear to see from all the comments that this post has resonated with a lot of people. Thanks for sharing.

Aishling
www.le-stage.com

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