If you're living with a mental health condition, it's easy to feel alone. Sometimes, it seems like no-one else knows what you're going through, and help - or a sympathetic ear - can feel impossibly far away.
The irony is, of course, that so many of us are living with - or have felt the full force of - mental health issues like anxiety and depression. And it's not just 'normal' people who are affected; some of the most famous faces in the country know what it's like to feel 'blue' too.
In a new book, It’s Not OK to Feel Blue (and other lies), activist Scarlett Curtis has curated a collection of essays by famous voices, campaigners, world class authors, musicians and experts in the field, many of whom have suffered bouts - long or short - or mental ill health themselves. Here, they share what they've learned in the hope their words will help you.
"Depression tells you that you are alone and that you will always be alone. It convinces you that your mind is a prison and makes you believe that to bring anyone into your life is to lock them inside with you so it's probably just easier to push everyone away. Feminism made me feel like I was a part of something, a small part of something huge and historical. Feminism gave me friends and enemies and a better understanding of my place in this world that I ever even dreamed of having. Feminism is my self-help."
"There will be good people around you, good souls wanting to help. Even when it seems impossible to open our mouths to let out the grief and despair – the weight of it feels insurmountable – we must."
"We brush stuff under the carpet, decide we don’t want to give it the attention it almost definitely needs. But we can’t just delete our thoughts like a Word document. We need to talk more, listen more, share and understand more."
"I get frustrated, but I have to interrupt the thought pattern. I remember to be gentle with myself. I cancel plans with friends, because right now I think I need me more than they do. I feel guilty about it, but I must take care of myself, and my friends will understand."
"Like most, I’m a work in progress but I will say this – take time to reset, take each day as it comes, seek help and do not be ashamed of your story; it will inspire others."
"I am one of the 50 million people around the world today living with a brain injury. And if they can do it, well then I guess the Mother of Dragons better get on and do it too."
"The ‘man armour’ I wear today is full of cracks, dents and openings, but I know every mark and scuff intimately. I still have fears, but they will never again define me, because no one is truly fearless and failure is inevitable. So here’s to the unbeaten, calloused and bloated belt-holder. Failure. Fuck you."
"THE CONDITION WITH WHICH YOU MIGHT HAVE CURRENTLY BEEN LABELLED IS NOT WHO YOU ARE. It will lift, but for now it is your superpower. It’s your agency to change. It was mine."
"Let people in. It’s scary and sometimes it can go wrong, but when you manage to connect with people, it’s magic. Let people go. (The toxic ones.) They don’t need to know – just gently withdraw."
"See as much as you can of the friends who like you, support you and make you laugh. See as little as you can of the friends who judge you, compare you to others and tire you (and don’t pretend you don’t know who they are)."