It can happen to anyone

**Trigger warning – suicide**

Mental illness can spring at any time, it can get anyone.

Recently, Stephen Fry, who has bipolar disorder, has spoken about a suicide attempt in 2012. Here is the link to the video where he speak about it.  He explains that there is no “why”, no reason, and just because someone “has it all” doesn’t mean they can’t be suicidal. As the president of Mind charity, I think it was really brave and good of him to speak out about this. Being suicidal is something that happens to a lot of people. There is not generally much awareness about this or mental illness more generally, and that does need to change. Frankie Sandford (a member of the band The Saturdays) is another celebrity affected by mental illness, here in the form of depression. This year she has become an ambassador for Mind, and earlier in the year her story appeared in some of the magazines (eg Cosmo, Glamour) to raise awareness of depression and how it is an illness like any other.

It feels very strange that a few years ago I didn’t know anything about mental illness/depression specifically, and yet in the last 5 years, my mum, myself, my best friend and a lot of other people I know have been affected by it. I used to live in a world where (I thought) everyone was pretty happy, strange how much that has changed in the last 5 years or so. And the more I know about it, the more I think that I probably have had some form of mild depression for quite a few years, probably at least from the age of 14, and based on a couple of memories, maybe even in primary school.

I got a text from my best friend (Artist) saying she’s going to drop out of uni because she’s been really depressed for months. I feel like the worst friend ever, I had no idea. She told me uni was much better this year and it seemed like she was happy. I should’ve seen it, I should’ve been there for her. I’m pretty shocked to be honest. She’s one of the ones who I always thought, do you know what, if I was as happy as her I’d be living the good life. She is always so sociable and seems happy, confident too. But this is a stark reminder that it can happen to anyone, anytime.

I feel really bad, I wish I’d been there for her more. I feel like such a bad friend. We are at opposite ends of the country when we are at uni, me in the North and her in Cornwall. It is difficult to stay in touch properly, but this really made me think… Don’t forget your friends, they might need you.



7 thoughts on “It can happen to anyone

  1. behindthemaskofabuse says:

    Oh Ellie you’re beating yourself up again with the “should haves” you didn’t know because she likely didn’t want you to know. Now she’s told you, and so you have a wonderful opportunity to be a great friend now that she’s ready for you to back her in that way.

    It’s not your fault that you didn’t know. I’m sorry you’re friend is struggling but I’m glad she’s seen you as a GOOD ENOUGH friend to share this with!

    Be nice to you!! xo

    • anxiouselephant says:

      Thanks Zoe, I think that’s a better way to look at it. I couldn’t help when I didn’t know but now I do and now I can try to help 🙂 She said she’s been kidding herself that this year was going well so maybe she didn’t even accept it herself until recently (I did that as well for a while). Should is one of those words that I “shouldn’t” use!! xx

  2. Tilda says:

    In my experience, people with depression are extremely good at hiding their anguish. Look at Stephen Fry. When people first meet me, they think I’m the life of the party, and I bet you hide your pain from others too. It’s what the world expects from us.
    You didn’t let your friend down, she didn’t give you the opportunity.
    But you can be a friend to her now, and let her know you understand [as you probably already have], and your friendship will probably grow stronger.

  3. MentalShep says:

    I’m excellent at hiding my depressive states. It usually only becomes noticeable when I crack, and have a complete “break down” and end up in crisis mode. When I start feeling depressed, I don’t want my friends to know because I don’t want them to worry, especially if I think that they cannot do anything, or I feel like I don’t deserve help anyway.
    My blog is the only person who knows when I am becoming depressed.
    Your post really shows what a good friend you really are and how much you care. I’m guessing your friend knows that you do care.
    I agree with the other comments, you can be there for her now,

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