It terrifies me to put this out in the world but in the hope it may help someone else - here is my story. First, let me be clear, I am not asking for sympathy, only understanding and awareness. I suffer from depression and anxiety and have struggled for many years. Those of you that know me know that I can be stubborn and this in turn led to me being very hard on myself and thinking that I could cope without any help. Then add to that the negative responses from people I know and care about and I was ready to hide my illness away forever. There was the person who told me that “shrinks” were a waste of money, the person that told me that tablets just didn’t work, the person that laughed at the mental health campaign, the person that told me to "go find what makes you happy" and the person who just walked away because they didn’t understand. But then there was the person who said it’s ok to get help, the person who said you need to choose the treatment that works best for you, the person who said "I understand" when I was having a bad day and the person who said I am here for you. Whilst the negative comments may have hurt me I realise that those who said them just don’t have a very good understanding of the beast that is depression, to them I say please take the time to do some research on this illness that so many suffer from and think carefully next time you respond to someone who has the courage to share their story with you. And to those who have been there and supported me, whether they realised or not, I say thank you. Living with this illness often feels like you are constantly on a rollercoaster but having those special people in your life make the hard days bearable.