“Once you get over that hill and you get out of the fog, the world is such a beautiful place. It may not seem like it now but the world is definitely better off with you.”

I first started realising things weren’t quite right in my late teens, but I bottled it all up and didn’t tell anyone. I now know that I had severe depression, and was also struggling with an eating disorder. My parents were really concerned but I didn’t want to confide in them because I felt so embarrassed, and was scared that I’d upset them. I felt like such a burden and a drain on everyone around me. I was trying to manage my suicidal thoughts alone. I didn’t want to drag other people down.
 
I made two attempts on my life before I got the right diagnosis and help. I’m so grateful that something inside me pushed me to finally call a helpline. They gave me a different perspective at a time when I had tunnel vision. I couldn’t see how unwell I was.
 
Eventually, I found ways to cope with my mental health and suicidal thinking. I joined a therapy group and it was the first time I ever felt I could completely relate to a whole group of people, because they’d had the same experiences and thoughts as me. It was liberating. I didn’t feel alone anymore. Now, if I’ve had a particularly hard day, I know what to do to decompress. Running, being out in nature or at the beach with my camera – it all helps me to just enjoy the moment. I see the world and my life so differently now.
 

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Steph out in nature, taking photos with a digital SLR camera.
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A portrait of Steph in a leafy garden, looking contemplative.