Hiiii again! Hope everyone is good. Sorry for the delay, uni is very demanding at the moment!!
This post was a hard one to write but I wanted to do it because I know how common depression is, so bare with me and remember everyone’s journey is different, this is just my take on it…
I’m going to be honest, I don’t know where to start with this one. Let’s start with: what is depression? I looked on the NHS website, online for a legit diagnosis but there doesn’t seem to be any. Surely this speaks for itself – so many people go through it but no one can define it? The NHS says that its more than ‘a bad mood’ and these are the symptoms: Continuous low mood or sadness, feeling hopeless and helpless, having low self-esteem, feeling tearful, feeling guilt-ridden, feeling irritable and intolerant of others, having no motivation or interest in things, finding it difficult to make decisions, you find social situations hard sometimes and other times they’re 100% ok, and there is more. (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/clinical-depression/symptoms/) PLEASE READ THEM BECAUSE EVEN I WAS SURPRISED. The ones that stood out to me are: you are sad but you don’t know why, feeling hopeless and helpless, you lose motivation to do the things you used to love doing, there are so many things going on in your head but you can’t get them out to let people help you and then you can feel alone. There’s so many relevant ones and even ones that I myself think about everyday and didn’t even know they were under the ‘depression symptoms’. It’s weird that people use these terms and the word depression to take the piss out of something, ‘you look so depressed, cheer up’, and comments like these are the reason that depression isn’t taken seriously. It makes me really angry because being sad and being depressed are two DIFFERENT things. You can’t just ‘cheer up’ when you’re depressed because it consumes you and becomes your life-style its not just something you can change like that, I wish it was but it’s not. By using these mental illnesses as a casual label, people diminish their meaning so its not taken seriously and this is the problem about mental health. It’s not a joke, it’s not something you use to ‘laugh about’. It’s you not being in control of your mind, your thoughts, your feelings, its like living with 2 people inside you and not knowing how to escape it. Its pushing away the people closest to you because you’re not worthy of having relationships/friendships because you’re not good enough. Its not doing the things you once loved because you’re not good enough.
When I got diagnosed with anorexia, I knew I had an eating disorder. I never thought of it as a mental illness and that’s a problem that society does. An eating disorder is a mental illness above anything else. Just because you’re not literally underweight DOES NOT MEAN you are not sick. The same applies for depression. Just because there are no visual marks or pointers to show you are depressed, then you’re not. That’s not how it works. Just because I don’t have scars to take steps to ‘show I’m depressed’ doesn’t mean I don’t have a constant battle in my head with this part of me that controls me and takes away who I really am. This is yet ANOTHER problem with mental health which raises the question, how much has really changed? If people still look for visual marks of you being ‘mentally ill’?
Ok so rant over…
After recovering physically from my eating disorder, I fell into deep depression. There were so many things going on in my head that I couldn’t get out to let people help me because I didn’t know how to – something therapy for Anorexia didn’t teach me to do which resulted in depression and me feeling neglected and alone. I can’t even describe to you what it feels like. I punish myself for not sticking to what I was going to for no reason, I only see myself as a ‘faliure’ which poses the question, why bother with anything? I know some people reading this will think ‘just think positively’ but you CAN’T. You’re not in control of your thoughts, they’re filtered through a dark, misty lense that you can’t move or clean. I will think like this today, and the next day I’m fine and the bubbliest person in a group of people. But please be aware. Someone once told me ‘the loudest, most hyper people are the ones who have a lot to hide with that humour’ and it’s true because I used to do that. (Maybe not EVERYONE but it’s a common thing coping mechanism for people who are struggling. It can feel like ‘putting on a front’ most of the time, pretending you’re ok so people don’t ask questions that you don’t want to and aren’t able to answer. It made me push some of the closest people to me away, and even to this day I still do that, and I can’t tell you why. You learn to be comfortable in your own company and want that only especially on down days.
Depression can come across as though people are ‘attention seeking’ or ‘isolating themselves’ but what people need to see is that its not what you want to do. It’s something you learn to do that becomes your place of comfort and your way of dealing with things. It’s hard because in society, a lot of misconceptions have been made about people ‘attention seeking’ and people suffering with mental health problems tend to fall under that category which makes me feel so sick. Why are people being given this label, when they’re struggling? When they think they’re better off not here for reasons that are not their fault?
I’ve googled some quotes that people shared about their experience with depression and what it feels like: ‘You feel like a ghost… not part of the real world’, ‘Nothing is fun anymore’, ‘It’s like someone else is in control of your mind and has the power to make you feel worthless and numb’, ‘Not feeling any internal emotions, or anything at all but emptiness’, ‘it steals your confidence’. There were so many more, and it just goes to show how common it is and how rubbish it can really make you feel.
Please take the time to really look at the people closest to you and if you recognise any of this in them, sometimes, the people closest to you are going through so much, want help but just don’t know how to say it. Having 1 person asking you ‘are you ok’ just out of the blue can be the start of that little glimpse of hope for that person, and believe me, it helps and only takes 2 seconds. Depression makes you lose who you are and going through the process to find yourself again is a long painful one. It makes you question – who am I and where has the real me gone?
I just want to say, for anyone reading this who connects with any of these feelings now or has done; please don’t hesitate to message me, thank you for being here to read this and even though it doesn’t feel like it right now, there is a way out. It’s taken me a long time to get where I am now, and I’m still not where I want to be yet…
P.s take a look at this video which made me feel empowered: