On Sunday my friend Lucy (whom I knew from my stay in hospital starting last year) tragiically lost her battle with depression and ended her life. Lucy was brilliant, bright, funny and beautiful. She had attended Cambridge, like me (although I attended Oxford which Lucy would argue was inferior!), been ambitious in her academic aspirations and had recently returned to Sweden - a country she loved - to resume her studies towards becoming a doctor.
And now she is no longer here. I will never meet her and share a joke with her about the therapy groups we attended together at hospital.We won't discuss ice cream flavours over lunch. We won't watch terrible television together. She won't listen to music any more, sing anymore. Her singing is at an end. Her voice will never be heard again. And although I do love to write, I cannot find any words to describe what that sadness feels like to me.
What I do know, is, that there is not enough help for those of us who are struggling with depression and our mental health. Today in the UK, 17 people will die because of suicide, and up to 100,000 will attempt suicide this year. And that is not even touching upon the terrible lack of support forcing people back to work when they are too sick, which is why we must change the WCA. Nor the fact that too many young people and adults of every age are becoming sicker and sicker with the many facets of debilitating mental health conditions.
I will never. EVER. stop talking about how important it is that we support each other until we have ended the stigma around mental health and changed those harrowing statistics into more lives kept, more lives lived, more lives better because of access to care, support, kindness and love.
Here is my own story of times when I have lost "Hope". I know I have to watch carefully to try to prevent myself from harming myself during tough times.