I was the last to know that something was wrong. I didn’t wake up one day feeling depressed.It crept up on me over weeks and months.
I felt tired, unmotivated at work and I had a nagging feeling of unhappiness.
Over time, this turned in to days where I could sleep for England. It took me all day to get the strength to go in the shower or get out of my pyjamas. At my lowest point, I didn’t leave the house for 3 weeks.
I woke up most days feeling empty, thinking about the prospect of facing another day where I felt dreadfully sad, or even worse, nothing at all.
I felt unable to go to work. People asked if I was bored staying at home. What they didn’t understand is that with depression, you don’t have the capacity to feel bored. It is completely possible to sit and stare in to space for hours because you feel paralysed.
Watching TV or reading is impossible because you can’t concentrate or find the motivation to do the simplest of tasks.
Depression is difficult, not just for the sufferer, but also for the people around them. People try to help, but sometimes make unhelpful comments or look at you like you’re a sick animal and not a person.
When you suffer from any illness, it’s tough not to let it define you. But it’s important.
I am (usually) a bubbly, outgoing person. I am NOT my depression.
It is helpful to talk about how I’m feeling, but there’s a time and a place. Sometimes I just want to talk about ‘normal’ things.
It’s important to feel normal when everything else seems out of control.
Everyone has their own way of coping with depression. This is important to remember. You CAN cope, you CAN live your life and things WILL get better.
This will almost certainly be impossible to see on your dark days, but it’s true. You just have to find out what works for you.
For me, exercise has always been my saviour. Just knowing that my body has been able to complete a workout despite the fact that my mind is in turmoil gives me a great sense of achievement.
I also enjoy singing and writing. Creative pursuits increase my self-esteem by allowing me to express myself, however I’m feeling.
I chose not to take medication because I was concerned about side effects, and I wanted to make decisions about my life with a clear head. But I have known others whose lives have been saved by medication.Everyone is different.
Instead, I explored talking therapies. CBT was very helpful as it activated me in the early stages of my illness. Rather than just talking about my problems, it encouraged me to look at what I could do practically, day to day, to feel better. It empowered me to help myself when I otherwise felt helpless.
But you don’t just have to rely on yourself. There are some great sources of help out there. You are not alone.
My GP was my first port of call when I experienced suicidal thoughts. I knew at that point that I had to seek help. She gave me hope that something could be done.
Hope is so easily lost with an illness like depression. The light at the end of the tunnel often seems so far away. But you always get there, and you learn a lot about yourself and the resilience you never knew you had.