Woman Raises Awareness About The Different Appearances Of Mental Illness

A woman uses social media to show that depression has no one singular physical characteristic.

Woman sits alone on a bridge.
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A woman uses social media to show that depression has no one singular physical characteristic.

Milly Smith, 25, of Hull, England, has coped with mental illness since she was in her teens. When she first realized she was having thoughts of suicide, she spoke with her doctor about receiving treatment. Unfortunately, her doctor was not concerned. He quickly dismissed her because he did not believe she looked suicidal. As a result, her depression would not be diagnosed for several more years, eventually causing her to attempt to take her own life several times.

Now, a survivor of attempted suicide, she is speaking out about the many different appearances of mental illness and how often it can be unrecognizable just by looking at someone, according to Today.

Smith says she felt hurt and betrayed when her plea for help was ignored by her physician.

“It took a ton of courage to go there and I was in a very vulnerable state,” Smith told Today. “I was crushed and felt invalidated and alone.” The doctor’s thoughtless comment stayed with her throughout the following years as she fought mental illness. Now, having learned how to handle her depression, she is trying to break the stigma that mental illness has just one look.

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This photo was taken just 7 hours before I tried to take my own life for the 3rd time. This photo was taken in the morning, we went for a walk and for some food with Eli. We laughed and enjoyed our time. That evening I took an overdose that left me in hospital for a week. . I had no idea I'd try to take my own life in the morning, I was smiling and loved the way my hair looked hence the selfie. Having BPD (undiagnosed for so long because the NHS wouldn't listen) means that my mood can switch to suicidal in seconds over the slightest trigger. . Suicidal isn't just crying, for those with a troubled life and long build ups to breaking point, it's also snap decisions made whilst your son sleeps in the same house and your loving partner kissed you goodnight hours before. . We need to learn how suicidal tendencies can present themselves beyond our ignorance to the topic. By listening and learning even the tiniest triggers/signs we can save lives. ❤️

A post shared by Milly???? (@selfloveclubb) on

On Instagram, Smith shared a photograph of herself taken just seven hours before she attempted to take her own life via a drug overdose. The image shows her smiling, looking happy and healthy. In the candid caption, she discussed her struggles with depression and borderline personality disorder. The combination of the two causes irrational decisions sparked by sudden mood changes. Although she had felt fine at the time she’d taken the photo, she had no idea how quickly suicidal tendencies would begin to invade her thoughts.

“Suicidal isn’t just crying, for those with a troubled life and long build ups to breaking point, it’s also snap decisions made whilst your son sleeps in the same house and your loving partner kissed you goodnight hours before,” she wrote.

Smith hopes that by sharing her story, others will begin to look at mental illness in a new light and start paying attention to the potential triggers that can set it off. While depression is often looked at as a taboo topic that should be kept quiet, she believes that it is only through further awareness that suicide can be prevented. Suicidal tendencies can be masked by a smiling face and an otherwise happy appearance.

“We need to learn how suicidal tendencies can present themselves beyond our ignorance to the topic. By listening and learning even the tiniest triggers/signs we can save lives,” she said.