“It is an odd paradox that society, which we can now speak openly and unabashedly about topics that were once unspeakable, still remains largely silent when it comes to mental illness” Glenn Close
I wanted to write this as a girl, who has now battled with depression for over 5 years, yet was only formally diagnosed 18 months ago. I say that because I didn’t know I had depression, I just thought that was how everyone was, only they coped better than I could.
Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you my life story of how or why I have depression, nor am I going to tell you how to make it better. We are all different people, that said if I can touch one or two people who suffer from it and help them or make them smile – my job is complete.
A few things I did want to share with you is what I have learnt from battling with depression. It’s a cruel world and it’s not actually having depression that can be the main issue, it’s the world we live in that makes depression harder to battle.
One of the hardest things I have done is tell people I suffer from depression, not only is it hard to admit to yourself but to tell people, have them think you are weak or there is something wrong with you is so difficult. I remember the day I started to tell people close to me, family and some friends. Some were fine but others… well this is how one conversation went with a “friend”
Friend: How do you have depression, you are so confident and strong
Me: I cant explain how I have it, I am just low all the time, I don’t feel good enough, I’m fighting my own thoughts every day, I feel so alone.
Friend: How can YOU possibly feel alone, you have loads of friends and always seem so happy
Since that last conversation we have never spoken for over a year, we didn’t fall out but I decided to put her in a box (not literally, I don’t have a patio, so she is still alive) I was so upset that she questioned me and that made me feel worse. As if someone like ME couldn’t possibly have depression. One thing I learnt from my counselling was that sometimes things aren’t worth worrying about. Now those who suffer depression and anxiety will know, you can’t just stop thinking about things, in fact you will take something so small and in your head (within 4 mins) have conducted a full-blown story about what has really happened and how they think of you. Which then leads you to feeling so upset about yourself and there we have it, back to square one again. So learning to put things in a box helped me. I would simply say to myself, ‘right i’m putting you/situation in a box and when I am strong enough to deal with it i will open that box back up‘. At one point Imust have hired a full storage room for my boxes but it did help. Funny enough I’ve never gone back to open those boxes back up- as I don’t need to anymore.
Society is a strange place to be in with depression, people don’t understand it, they dont want to, they think depression is lying in bed all day or walking around sad. they think you can just pull yourself out of it and tomorrow you will be fine. Of course you can, just like when you have cancer, you can just wake up tomorrow and its gone – idiots
Depression impacts people very differently, some do the above. Some don’t, some fight demons in their head everyday, the best way I can describe it, in a roundabout way is: Its like having a little person in your head saying you aren’t good enough, you arent skinny enough, you arent pretty enough, why would they like you, look at the way they are looking at you – they hate you. The world would be better without you, nobody would notice you had gone. What are you even doing, you are nothing, dont bother trying, just sleep, just leave, just go, just forget it. Remember when such and such said hello, did you hear the tone in their voice they hate you, it will be from that time when you said something 3 years ago. They dont want to really go out with you, they are just being nice. Nobody cares, I am so alone… I could continue and continue with that.
The other thing that annoys me about society is, when you finally see a doctor and get the support you need. some people think that is it, you are fine. Shut up man, some people do overcome depression and can go on to be fine, some don’t and some have to find ways to live with I – I am this person. I know my depression wont go away I know I just have to understand the triggers and I allow myself that bad day and that’s ok! its ok to have a bad day, to sit in your PJ’s and watch tv all day, but the next day I force myself out.
Anyone ever had this situaation, someone knows you battle with depression and then a few months down the line, you have a bad day, or you react to something negatively and its suddenly “oh just ignore her, she has depression so is having an episode or bad day” yeah you know what I might be having a bad day, i might also be entitled to react to something in that way. Do those who don’t have depression not have a bad day, do those who dont have depression not react to things or is my opinion on something now not valid because I have depression. Does the person with a broken leg or diabetes never have a bad day or is never allowed to react. of course they are because we are all human.
People don’t realise that comments like this is infuriating, you are labelling me, saying I’m not allowed to have an opinion or react because it’s not valid! that makes a person with depression even worse.
I’m still learning now that those who label me or treat me differently aren’t worth knowing and they certainly arent worth being in my life. I needed support from people around me, I needed to talk to people who would help me and asking for help is a very hard thing indeed more so when you feel vulnerable with depression and your mind is already against you.
But let me tell you something, to all those people who think depression is weak, or that its nothing or that we are just sad. We are actually the strongest minded people you will ever meet. We battle with those demons every day , some days we don’t think we can make it, but we do! On top of battling those demons in our head, we deal with the same day-to-day life battles that you face and we survive. so dont ever judge those that battle depression we are the strongest minded people you will ever meet.