Escaping the rabbit hole
Everything happened at the same time. I felt like I had fallen headfirst into an abyss of darkness and despair. I literally couldn’t move. I thought I’d had a stroke, and then I made my first suicide attempt.
Tracey grew up in an abusive household and had been dealing with mental health issues since she was a teenager. In 1993, she was diagnosed with depression related to her childhood trauma. She went on medication, which helped, but 13 years later, she had another major depressive episode. During a meeting with a psychiatrist, Tracey learned to expect more depression episodes in the future, and she was told that she would be on antidepressants for the rest of her life.
With treatment, it seemed that she could keep her condition under control, but a series of highly stressful personal and professional challenges in 2015 pushed her down the “rabbit hole” of depression and suicidal ideation.
I had a boss who was a workplace bully—it was relentless. In the midst of this, my husband and I separated and then divorced. My dog died, I had to move to a new place, and I was burnt out on my job. The bullying got worse and worse. That’s when I fell down the rabbit hole.
It took three years for Tracey to get back on track. On the advice of her psychiatrist, she started a blog to chronicle her experiences. That blog became a book, “Escaping the Rabbit Hole: My Journey Through Depression.”
Because I am a registered nurse, I knew I had to get help. Still, I was scared when I was told to see a psychiatrist. I thought they would commit me to the hospital. Also, I’m British, so we are told to have a stiff upper lip. So, after telling people about my mental health, I would berate myself. I would tell myself that I’ll never get out of the rabbit hole. I was scared about publishing my book.
But Tracey did publish her book. And she has found other ways to tell her story. Today, Tracey is a frequent guest on mental health-focused television shows, radio shows, and podcasts.
I was told I shouldn’t say anything about my mental health, but I started sharing my story. I created the blog and the book so people could understand what I was going through. I’m brutally honest about what I went through.
Through her work, Tracey talks about her personal experiences, but she also addresses societal issues, like the cruelty, harassment, and ignorance that fuel mental health stigma. She is particularly concerned with the impact of stigma on young people. Recently, she toured the U.S., speaking to groups of teenagers about bullying and mental illness.
I faced a lot of harassment in the past, but think it is actually harsher these days because of social media. That’s one of the reasons I’ve become so passionate. I have a loud voice, and I won’t shut up. I won’t stop.