My Mental Health: Depression

Friday, 31 July 2015

In my previous post, I discussed my social anxiety. In this second part, I talk about my experience with depression. I've never been diagnosed or sought out help with depression, but trust me, if you have it, you know about it. Depression is so common it almost seems redundant to describe it. However, there are still so many people that are dismissive of mental health issues and don't fully understand them so I think it's important be open about mental health.

I've suffered with bouts of depression, the first and worst being when I was around fifteen. I'm not going to go in detail about the various times it's affected me but I discuss generally how it feels and what it does to you.

Depression, to me, felt sometimes like I was walking around in a haze and sometimes like a deep, deep sadness. What I mean by this is that some days the sadness that I felt would feel so poignant and so painful. I hated myself, I hated how I looked and how I acted and how ungrateful I was. I hated the fact that I couldn't just get over myself and be happy because what reason did I have to be sad. I wanted to just disappear. Other times, I would be numb. Depression often takes away your ability to feel anything. You reach a point where the self-loathing becomes exhausting. When you're in this haze you can do the things that you once did, but nothing really affects you. You don't feel sad, or happy or anything. Only empty. And somehow, this feeling is worse than the sadness.

Unfortunately, depression takes away your motivation along with everything else. Which makes it really hard to get help. Or to even think about. The first step, as clich├ęd as it sounds, is admitting that something is wrong. I've linked a self-assessment quiz below, however if you're taking the quiz then you probably know that you're suffering from depression. When I had depression I read a web page which I unfortunately can't find now. It basically discussed how mental illness was the fault of the brain and not of you, that mental illness was caused by chemicals. Whilst I don't know how much I believe this entirely (social anxiety can't be explained in quite the same way), at the time, it helped to take the pressure off myself. Suddenly I wasn't such a let down, and the way I was feeling wasn't entirely my fault. I also read that it was useful to fake smile, when you felt unhappy. I used to try and smile at myself in the mirror. I felt ridiculous. But I kept at it. And after a while, I felt a little less ridiculous and a little less sad.

I don't really think depression is something you recover from completely. It is something you learn to live with. I do get scared that those old feelings will resurface. Sometimes they do. Never for as long as they once did. My anxiety and depression come hand-in-hand, and tend to be worse when I'm stressed or tired and can also be affected by the weather. Unfortunately I can't offer any quick solution because getting over depression takes an enormous amount of willpower to overcome, an almost impossible amount when you're suffering from depression. I will be putting up a post soon about little ways to make yourself feel better but for now all I can really say is to try to forgive yourself just a little bit. And maybe read It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini. I promise, it will get better.

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