January 16, 2021

Two birthdays, three years apart

By rosieweldon

Warning: This post contains references to self-harm and suicide. Please DO NOT read if you have any concerns this may affect your well-being.

17th of July 2016 was my 25th birthday. I had just finished my second year of university, I was severely depressed and could not care less about my life, much less my birthday. I had been dreading it.

Mid-afternoon the family I lived with left to go down south to see other family members. I wasn’t going, I had no interest in travelling. I just wanted to stay home. Depression is a dark void and I was lost in it. I had succumbed to utter numbness.

I saw no future for myself. Why on earth would I celebrate turning 25? It was a joke that I was 25. No life, no future, nothing to live for. Hours after they left, I turned to the staples in my pocket. I pulled them across my arm and watched as it bled. I felt the burn, at least it was a feeling. It was something other than nothing.

Fast forward to 2019, this year, I turn 28 next week.

In those 3 years I got diagnosed as autistic, graduated with a first and won a valedictory award.  I have been employed by two incredible companies and I’m buying my first home. I am happy, content and most of all, proud of my life.

My life may not look like I thought it would as a teen. I thought at 28 I would be on the path to being married with kids. Life doesn’t always go the way you think it’s going to, but that is not always a bad thing. If someone had told me on that birthday 3 years ago, that everything would be okay, you will find success and happiness, I would have laughed at them.

I have nearly taken my life twice. I have struggled with self-harm. I saw no future; I had no hope. But things did get better. You have no idea what is around the corner. You will never know unless you stick around to see it.

Obviously if I had the choice I’d rather not have gone through that depression. I will carry both the physical and mental scars for the rest of my life. However, I am turning 28 next week, and I have a profound appreciation for my life, for happiness, for holding those I love close.

Life can be cruel, but it can also be beautiful, if you stick around for it.

It gets better.

If you are struggling with depression, please reach out to those close to you. Reaching out has saved my life. It is not weakness to ask for help, it is strength.

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