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professional, independent woman” to “a Mandy that no one will recognise: tearful, distraught, matted hair, frightened, withdrawn, desolate & desperate”.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:
This is simply stunning. Thank you @mandystevens22. You have given us a priceless gift by being so honest. https://t.co/imJhsStrNQ