realillness aims to reduce the stigma of mental illnesses and to provide support and assistance to sufferers.
Who am I? I am 24 years old, protestant and an expatriate Australian living in Southern Germany. I am fluent in German and English and work as a teacher. Since 2003 I have been battling depression and at the end of 2015 I was hospitalised after a friend feared I would kill myself. In early 2016 and still in hospital I made my illness known to my friends and found that sharing my illness helped others around me. I’m now back on track and am actively involved in helping people with mental illness and their families.
Why the name realillness? I have so often felt that my friends don’t understand how real this illness really is. It’s hard to imagine that something ‘in my head’ is actually as real as having cancer. Even mental illness comes with physical signs, like hair falling out or lethargy. By using the name realillness I hope to remind readers that this is real, depression is not something I can just change and instantly get better from.