By Stan Yeatman

“One effect of Depression is it taints self image.
No matter how hard I looked, I could never see myself as others saw me, I could only see this wilted, worthless version of myself. Self-love doesn’t come overnight, but one of the first steps was being able to see myself the way my friends do and to build my self image from their point of view rather than what I saw in the mirror. You don’t have to be perfect in your own eyes to be perfect in the eyes of those around you. I wasn’t wilted or worthless, and neither are you.”


By Hannah Murray 
Images by Tamaraunemine Gede

Internal chaos, maddening obsessive thoughts. I crumbled beneath the burden of my own hazardous contemplations. Drowning in my mind’s ocean and collapsing to the seabed, unable to surface.

Waking up to existential dread every day. Eyes pouring every day. Heart aching every day. Panic attacks spreading like wildfire. My body ablaze from the catastrophic perils of my mind, cloaked in exhaustion and weakness. I perished at the hands of my consciousness.

Depression’s causes vary from individual to individual, but mine stemmed from living buried beneath the crushing weight of the expectations of others. My perception of the world and society’s standards had me drowning in self-hatred. I twisted, contorted and crushed myself into someone I was not, removing all trace of my essence so that it couldn’t be torn down by others. I could not be myself, god forbid, yet my masks were asphyxiating. I wore them so instinctively that even when alone, I did not know who I was. I faced all-consuming loneliness; my search history flooded with pleas for help.

How can you be at peace
in your solitude if you do not even know yourself?

But I’m here to tell you there is a way out. I began piecing my (thus far chaotically dismantled) self back together, piece by piece, until the woman I am today emerged from the ashes. I delved into my childhood passions, unapologetically and without hesitation, albeit drenched in fear. I considered who I was before society told me who to be. And I forgave her. I hugged her. I honoured her. I talked to that child who decided the only way forward was to hide behind masks and chip away at herself until she was no more than a walking carcass. I held her. And now we are whole. Now we have rejoiced.

Returning home to your true authentic self is a seemingly abstract concept when you are in the throes of an identity crisis. You are you, living within yourself, yet wholly and entirely disconnected from yourself. The smothering loneliness envelopes your being incessantly, without pause, every moment. But on my journey of returning home to myself I began realising I am worth so much more than my thoughts of self-destruction.

More than society’s expectations. More than fear.

After a debilitating battle with myself I can finally, with heart-aching pride, announce that I love myself. And that’s bloody fantastic. I am happier than ever, life is joyous.

The journey is by no means easy.
It’s terrifying. Hellish. There will be copious amounts of tears, shame and fear.  
             BUT THE RESULT?

The result is life changing.
I am now me. In all her entirety.
And she is f*cking wonderful.