In a post titled 'From NHS Director to mental health impatient in 10 days,' Mandy Stevens has shared her story of depression, to prove that mental health is indiscriminate, and anyone can suffer its consequences.
Mandy was a mental health nurse for 15 years before being promoted to a manager, and then director, for a further 14 years.
But then, depression began to take over her life and she eventually became an inpatient at a London hospital for three months.
Now in recovery from what she calls “the most terrible depression that ripped the heart and soul out of me”, Mandy has decided to share her story.
Mandy writes that she hopes her story will “increase understanding of the impact of mental illness”.
Working in mental health services, she says you might think she would be immune to mental health problems. But Mandy says she lost her mind, her self-esteem, her pride, her confidence, her job, driving licence and independence.
There is no immunity; mental illness can come out of nowhere and affect anyone at any time.
From initial symptoms of depression to admission to a mental health unit 10 days later via the Crisis Team, depression ripped the rug out from under my feet and emptied my whole being. I have been completely disabled and incapacitated by this illness.
Astonishingly, Mandy says she was embarrassed of her condition, and had only told a few people while receiving treatment.
She writes that as well as feeling suicidal, depression turned her from a “confident, competent, extrovert, professional, independent woman” to “a Mandy that no one will recognise: tearful, distraught, matted hair, frightened, withdrawn, desolate & desperate”.
I initially shared this post on Facebook only, but I was overawed by the response I got from my friends and family, particularly about addressing the stigma relating to mental illness… Hundreds of comments along the lines of 'Never thought someone like you could go through this’. Well guess what... we can and we do; mental illness does not discriminate.
People have been tweeting Stevens in support: