My name is Ann-Marie.  I work in the pharmaceutical industry, I’m a mature psychology student, volunteer youth worker and a keen mental health advocate.

I have also struggled with depression, anxiety, and OCD in varying degrees of severity since the age of 10, which led to my interest in raising  awareness of mental health issues. Now that I’m nearing closer to age 50, I feel now that I want to open up about my mental health.

“You’re always real happy” people say to me.  It’s true, most of the time I ‘appear’ to look really happy, smile a lot, and have a bubbly personality but in truth, my smile is my mask.  I may look happy on the outside, but I’ve been fighting a battle with my mental health for almost 40 years. Not even those close to me know to what extent.

You keep a lot to yourself because you find it difficult to find people who understand

Brought up in a home where I witnessed and listened to domestic violence on a regular basis, undoubtedly had an impact on my emotional and psychological well-being.  I remember some of those moments like it was yesterday. It was a very unhappy time.

I hated going home from school, I never knew what the atmosphere was going to be like from one day to the next.  I’d go and hide in my room, and developed my own coping mechanisms to deal with the situation (but that’s another blog post).  It was at that point that my mental health took a nosedive and has never fully recovered. It’s affected all aspects of my life; relationships, friendships, employment. Sometimes, just surviving day to day is a struggle in itself.

I want to use this blog not only to talk about  my own battles but to help others open up about their own experiences, raise awareness of mental health, and focus on overcoming stigma. 

Don’t be ashamed of your story, it will inspire others