“Depression is a prison where you are both the suffering prisoner and the cruel jailer- Dorothy Rowe”

If you look around the room you’re in right now it has 4 walls a door and a window. You can move freely around the room, and the can see different colours. When you are a suffer and have hit the low point the doors the windows start to disappear and fade into the walls becoming a cold box with no escape. This is the prison that happens to those suffering from depression.

This week we marked Mental Health Awareness Day. With #timetochange, and I told the world of the battle I have faced most know about them already. Some have been surprised as they thought being up north and a recluse away from them I was happy. Reality was I was slowly losing the key to my prison cell.

A question I always ask is if you look at me do you see mental illness first or do you see me? Would you know I have sunk to the bales of hell in the past 10 years? Being succumbed by agony and the cell keys turning. The keys easily removed and being passed around to different holders. The keys becoming older and rusty now.

If you look at the below picture would you see what is really behind my eyes?


I have a big milestone coming up on the 13th February it will mark 1 year since my breakdown, and I began to seek help and advice with counselling, and then cbt. It took a lot to finally let the darkness out it was a final push to approach counselling, I have always been skeptical about psychologist or counsellors because of what happened when I was visiting my dad in hospital weirdly on the 17th February 2007 the psychologist made me relieve the whole event in front of my father awakening the depression and this monster with the jailer holding onto those keys the psychologist forgot about my feelings my emotions and was instead more focused on my dad.

For a number of years, I lived silently within the prison of the voices. Making it appear as if I was ok or was losing more and more of myself and becoming the shell of the man I wanted to be. The keys to the jail I was in was no longer with the psychologist but instead it was with me, I wouldn’t turn the keys for longer than a few days or weeks, I would never be happy with what I had. I became destructive in certain situations. With that I would have serious lows and consider taking my own life. Moving myself from a main cell into solitary confinement. Within the prison I would struggle to sleep struggle to speak and let events get the better of me.

Once my father passed I grieved like I have mentioned in “Loss” but then the key to the prison door unlocked for a period of time. The walls became clearer with colours and wallpaper being on the walls and the door no longer being closed but being open, same with the windows letting in the breeze.

On and off over the years I have finally started to have my lows but nothing as big or as hard as moving to Manchester, I had the breakdown of my relationship, falling for someone, but also letting someone to take over control of my mind and manipulating my thought process and the way I could rely upon my own moral compass. Some twists within my mind, the manipulator wanted to control and make it about them. Lighting the fire and letting the fireworks go off in my head, never really trusting anyone or seeking the help I really needed using the energy to change me against me in the way to make it seem as they cared and the way it was relatable. Giving him the key to my prison and pushing the cell walls further and further away from the realms of reality. Until finally the prison cell was pushed so far that it couldn’t move anymore.

Following the implosion of the cell I begun to recover and slowly rebuilt the walls and the blocks of the reality. Without knowing in building and giving some people more space into my mind and not leaving them in their own prison.

I am 30, never been in trouble with the law, I have always been hard working and fought for everything I have now. My reality is still fuzzy and clouds still come into view every so often and this week the prison cell is definitely taking more of a precedent than I should allow it to. This is the time of my life I should be celebrating what I have achieved and I have a lovely home which I live on my own, my own car, a good job, great friends & family. Then I give those that manipulate and twist the knife of control space to carry on and retain the keys to the prison.

2015-12-02 11.14.39

The past year the prison has been a big part of my life but then the biggest part has been some people have come more prominent in my life and they have helped save part of me, they have been on this journey with me where I pick up the parts of me I dropped. I have celebrated Christmas, birthday new years with people that are so close they are family.  I have also been rebuilding bridges with people and re building my confidence to actually go out and try to enjoy myself. I have been out twice on a big night out for new year’s & my birthday.  They are far from prison cells they were moments people I know were there.

My prison cell is still there existing and at one point I use to think my home was the prison, but it’s not, my mind is the prison and the more I focus on people who have damaged my life the more time I will be in this prison.

I am surviving, and I am survivor as well as I stopped from the voice. There is no explosives that will destroy this prison, but the more I am aware of this prison existing the more I know who holds the key the stronger I will be. As I hold the KEY.

I am ONE



  1. Andrew Smith · February 6, 2016

    In terms of what I see when I look at you, you are Alex, one of my best mates, and I am very grateful for that. As you rightly say, each of us has the capacity to take ownership of our key; unfortunately depression can weaken out resolved to keep hold of it and we can allow others to limit our freedoms. However, we can also be out own jailers, locking ourselves away from a world that seems difficult to navigate, unsure of who we really can trust. In these times, it’s important to remember those who we know truly value us and will be there for us in the good and bad times.


  2. Sue · February 6, 2016

    When you think of it, we are all prisoners of our own making. However the prison closes in on some people more than others. It is sad and it is not until we accept that our own mind is the ‘cell’ and understand that we are our own jailer and possess the key to unlock that door all the time. Once we absorb this information we can then learn how to deal with situations. This enables us to control our mind and not the other way around.

    It is a brave and strong thing to learn and accept. But we learn how to deal with these hurtful feelings and put into action skills to push them away so that we are free, safe and clear from their tentacles. Sadly, it is a disease that can be triggered from a person, incident or an action. But we have strategies in place to help us fight off these demons.

    You should feel proud of yourself as you have dealt and faced many of you ‘demons’ some are still lingering on the side-line but you understand and recognise them and have your programmes in place to deal with it. You are a survivor and you have survived. Keep strong as you are most definitely moving forward and onwards xx


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