Depression is a funny illness because so many people have it, but don’t talk about it. I do not intend to be one of these people. I am currently suffering with depression. There is no shame in admitting the truth, Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there, I can almost guarantee that 90% of people reading this will have gone through similar mental illnesses in their time, even if they did nothing about it.
Falling in to the bracket of a mental illness rather than a physical illness means that there is an unnecessary stigma around it and I think that is wrong. I am writing this post in an attempt to help release the stigma behind mental illness and give people who have never gone through it an idea of how truly difficult it is to deal with.
All I can provide here is a personal experience, this does not reflect everyone who has depression. This is from the brain of a 21 year old female who is sick of hiding from everything. I know. Boo hoo, poor me. I have an illness that millions of other people have. This isn’t for sympathy. If I had wanted sympathy I would have spoken about it months ago instead of avoiding treatment.
For me, depression has made it difficult to motivate myself to do anything. Every small thing has become a chore. I have seen myself going days with out having a shower because I can’t pry myself out of bed to shower and get to work on time. In fact this past week I haven’t made it in to work at all. I’m not lazy, though, as some have suggested. This is the first time ever I have struggled to get out of bed in enough time to get ready for work, in fact I am normally half an hour early. The illness prevents me from having the will to leave.
People describe it as “Feeling Low”, for me it’s become debilitating. I am the weakest I have ever been and I hate it, yet every time I try to bring back my motivation or will I end up in a deeper pit than before. I avoided it for so long that when I did finally seek help it’s only because I fell so deep that I struggled to function in every day life. The routine of work helped me at first, having to be somewhere got me out of bed. After a while I couldn’t stop crying before and after work and most recently that followed me in to work so I had to take a break.
The first time I noticed it affecting my social life was at one of my friends birthday celebrations. I got drunk and the anger and tears wouldn’t stop flowing out of me. I haven’t really done anything social since then. I’ve been so down that I have shut myself away, cancelled plans last minute and been shutting out my nearest and dearest.
Excitement faded. Normally I am a happy, smiley, excitable young woman, but for a good 8-9 months nothing has gotten me excited. At what should have been the happiest time of my life I have felt numb and worthless and haven’t looked forward to anything. I got in to a new relationship within this time and got a brief stint of what happiness felt like again. He has been a blessing in dealing with all of this and continues to support me. He’s been kind patient and understanding and hasn’t left even when I was pushing him away, he deserves a lot of good things for that.
After a while I realised I was just isolating myself in to a safe place where I could stay for comfort. I even have something me and my boyfriend call a “burrito blanket” which is a blanket I wrap myself up in to stop the tears streaming out. It doesn’t always work, but I guess you could call it a security blanket that is a placebo for stopping the bad thoughts seeping through.
This, of my own doing, has made me feel lonely. Lonelier that I have ever felt. Even with people telling me they were there for me and that I wasn’t alone I left each of those people feeling just as lonely. It sounds ridiculous, I have many people telling me they’re there for me and I’m not alone yet I still went home every evening to cry and felt so lonely because I didn’t feel like I could confide in anyone.
Sleep has been a really prominent part of my depression. I either sleep too much, or far too little. I’ve seen myself sleeping for 12 hours every night for a week, then 2 hours a night for a few weeks. The insomnia is the worst because your thoughts trail off to unpleasant places and you have far too much time to contemplate everything.
Trigger Warning: This isn’t something a lot of people don’t talk about either, but I think as this is an important part of my journey I should mention it. Self Harm and Suicidal thoughts. Yes, I have self harmed and yes, I have had suicidal thoughts. For me self harm is a temporary release from the pain in my mind. It stops the tears and gives me something else to focus on and calms me down enough to get some sleep.
Suicidal thoughts are something I personally don’t think I have the guts to act on. For a while (Until I got help) I would sit up at night and think about how much better everyone’s lives would be with out me and how I am a burden to everyone who knows me. Of course now that I am getting better I can see how much people actually care for me and how much more hurt I would cause by doing something as potentially permanent like attempting suicide.
I am now on medication that seems to be helping. Getting up and doing things is very slowly, but surely becoming less of a chore. I managed to get up and clean today which was a really big deal as I have been struggling to find the motivation for a very long time. The darkness is starting to go away and let the sunshine back in and believe me it’s long overdue. I’m not at the end of it all yet, but I am on my way there and that’s all I can hope for at this stage.
There are some people reading this who would have experienced much, much worse than me and others who would have caught it much earlier and gotten better quickly. Depression comes out differently in each person who has it and that’s important to remember. If you think you might be suffering with a mental illness, please, please, please get some help. It can only make you feel better.