By Ruth Fox
Diagnosis of depression as a fourteen year old four years ago changed my life massively. I felt like an outcast; I felt weak and I felt broken. However, I have learnt to come to terms with this illness and this is what it means to me.
Depression is a powerful black cloud
Depression is a powerful black cloud which envelops every aspect of an individual’s life. It’s debilitating, confusing and incredibly hard to deal with. It’s as though you are drowning yet expected to swim to a shore when you have no idea of how far away it is. It’s where being asleep is the only escape, and where you feel worthless and hopeless. It’s where all you want to do is be alone, yet can’t bear to be lonely. Your head is either full of thousands of thoughts or complete nothingness. Nobody understands it, and that includes yourself. You lose all purpose but death scares you more than life does. Every minute lasts an hour, yet the days quickly pass before your eyes. It feels like your life is slipping between your fingers and that there’s nothing you can do to stop it.
A smile can hide an awful lot of pain
I think one of the hardest things about it is its invisibility. Whether a person is intelligent, confident, out-going, friendly, selfless or quiet, they can be affected by this devastating illness at any point in their life. You can never know what’s going on inside someone else’s head and a smile can hide an awful lot of pain. When you are in that dark, dark tunnel, there is no light, I know that. Watching people around you getting on with their lives; laughing, smiling and succeeding, from within the confines of the ‘Bell jar’ you feel trapped in, is horrific. But the truth is, everybody is fighting their own battles everyday. The people with the biggest smiles may just wear their masks the best.
We are all fighting the same demons
One of the messages I try to promote everyday is ‘It’s OK not to be OK’. To talk about how you feel in an honest way takes so much bravery and courage, but can be an enormous weight off your shoulders. I want to live in a world where we talk openly about how we feel, nobody has to wear a mask, nobody has to pretend everything’s OK when they are struggling on the inside. A world where we can reach out to everybody and anybody and we’ve all got each other’s back. We are all fighting the same demons, just in our own way. We can do this together.
Go and check up on somebody, because you never know when it could save a life.