Tuesday, 15 May 2018

My Depression

I sometimes find myself sitting at the table, listening to the radio while the sun is glaring in through the window, and I'm crying.

For the most part, my life is good. I have a great family, a fantastic husband, and an exhausting but amazing little boy. I have a good job that I enjoy and don't have any money troubles.

So why am I crying? The answer is simple; I have depression.

Depression is seen by many as the act of just being sad. But its so much more than that. It's feeling alone when surrounded by people. It's feeling like a failure whilst you're achieving your goals. It's feeling sad while your laughing.

I was officially diagnosed with depression in 2010. At the time it felt temporary and situational, but eight years later my life has changed dramatically and the depression is still there.

Over the years I have learnt to deal with my illness and I know the warning signs. I know when I need help and I know when I'm just 'having a bad day'.

I am one of the unlucky people who have both depression and anxiety, two illnesses which work together in an attempt to make your life hell. For example, if I miss a friends party because I'm having a panic attack, depression will swoop in with feelings of guilt and stupidity. I hear these words in my head:

"Everyone else can go, why can't you?"
"What's wrong with you?"
"Your friend is going to hate you now"
"You've spoilt her party"
"You're not good enough to even deserve friends"

This can send me into a horrible spiral of self-loathing and hatred and it can often take a little time for logic to kick in and remind me that none of this is true.

Sometimes I even have bad days of depression simply because I feel guilty for not feeling sad enough. On these days I think that maybe I don't really have depression because I've been happy this week. I proceed to think about all the people that have it worse than me and that here I am, pretending to have an illness.

Once again I head down that horrible spiral.
(Note: This is called 'imposter syndrome' and it's a whole other discussion!).

I'm lucky that, after years of practice, I can pull myself out off these spirals, but I could never have done this alone. I've had so much help and support from both family and professionals that I can now manage my illnesses and talk about it to help raise awareness.

I am not ashamed of my mental health. I am not ashamed that I have had therapy and I am not ashamed that I've taken medication. I have an illness just like any other, and I'll use what's available to get better. There is nothing to hide and there is nothing to admit.

Thanks to the raised awareness over the last few years, suicide rates have dropped significantly. I have never been in a position where I felt self-harm or suicide were the answer, but I know how easy it is to fall down the rabbit hole.

If you are suffering from depression or any mental illness, please talk to someone. It could be a friend, family member, or even a stranger. There is a huge support network available to everyone and it is incredibly important that it's used. It can save lives.

If you think someone may be suffering in silence, talk to them. You'll be amazed at how much of a difference you can make in someone's life by purely listening to them.

Most importantly, take care of yourself.

For support, please see the below.
MIND:  0300 123 3393
Samaritans: 116 123

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