Mental Health Nurse Shares How Depression Landed Her In Inpatient Psychiatric Care

After 29 years as a mental health nurse, Mandy Stevens never expected she would spend 12 weeks receiving inpatient care for a mental illness. Now the nurse is speaking up about the stigma those with mental illnesses face after facing depression as a patient.

“Mental illness will affect 1 in 4 of us during our lifetime and I guess now it’s my turn,” Stevens, who lives in the U.K., shared in a post on LinkedIn. “As I have worked in mental health services for 29 years, one would think I would be immune to mental illness… But there is no immunity; mental illness can come out of nowhere and affect anyone at any time.”

According to her post, it took 10 days from when Stevens’ depression symptoms started for her to be checked into an inpatient facility by an critical care team. “Depression ripped the rug out from under my feet and emptied my whole being,” she wrote. “I have been completely disabled and incapacitated by this illness.”

It took a lot to share her experience with others, Steven notes. “If I had been in hospital with a broken leg, or a physical problem, no doubt I would have been sharing amusing photos of my drip stand, the signed plaster cast and the hospital food; laughing with my family, friends & extended Social Media community. Instead I have hidden myself away, scared of my own shadow and told very few people.”

Despite her apprehension, Stevens post has resonated with thousands, racking up more than 8,000 likes on the professional social media network. “I suffered a complete breakdown in 2013 that took me a year to recover from,” one commenter shared. “I am proud of my fight and I am proud to help my colleagues that also have to fight the Mental Health fight. They come to me now as I have never hid what happened to me. I needed a safe place and safe people, I am now that safe person for others.”

Along with her post, Stevens shared a selfie she had taken in the midst of her depression, noting “This selfie, taken late November, shows a Mandy that no one will recognize: tearful, distraught, matted hair, frightened, withdrawn, desolate & desperate. So so so far from who I normally am… This is what mental illness has the power to do.”

In addition to thanking her family and medical team for their care, Stevens ended her post with a powerful message:

“Please don’t pity me for having a mental illness. Instead, wish me well for my discharge and full recovery.

I lost my mind, lost my self esteem, lost my pride, lost my sense of who I am, lost my confidence, lost my job & my income, lost my driving license and my independence… but I am slowly picking up the pieces… like a smashed vase, glueing itself together in to a beautiful mosaic. I will be strong again. I will be ok.”

You can read Stevens’ full post on LinkedIn.  

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Depression

Barista making cappuccino in the coffeeshop

Finding Beauty in a Life With Depression

Sitting in a Starbucks this past Friday, working on an English assignment, I began to wonder why this world was so broken. I was sad, but not without any apparent reason. This time I was once again back at school, and armed with antidepressants, I was determined to finish. I still am, but somedays are [...]
Contributor's photo

Facing My Own Depression After My Wife's Mental Health Crisis

Being “the glue” during my wife’s mental health crisis had many challenges. However, I was surprised by how difficult the moving on with life part was. We were really fortunate Sarah’s recovery from paranoid and psychotic episodes was relatively quick. After she had been out of the hospital for about a month or so, my [...]

When I Had to Accept Depression Made Me Too Sick to Take Care of My Pets

To my guinea pigs: Diana, Natasha and Clark, Depression and anxiety have made my life so different. My sleep patterns keep changing. I have back aches due to stress stored in my muscles. Headaches are now a regular occurrence and I can’t tell when I am stressed or overwhelmed. Actually the medicine stops most feelings [...]
Hand drawn sketch of a beautiful woman

What 'Starting Over' Means When You Live With a Mental Illness

Starting over. Twelve letters, four vowels, two words. Seems simple when you break it down like this, right? Wrong. When someone typically says they’re “starting over,” one imagines a blank slate, a sunrise after a long night, sunshine breaking through the clouds on a rainy day. This imagery gives way to the perception starting over [...]