On my way home on the train with my Dad after having a massive panic attack at university in London, was when I first acknowledged to myself that I needed some help. Physically, the panic attack was the worst I’d ever had, and I ended up being carted off in an ambulance, alone in a big city. I was scared because I thought I was about to die. But what scared me even more, is that for a second, I had a thought, that if I had died, I really wouldn’t have cared. Even now, on the long but steady road to feeling better, I find it really hard to come to terms with the memory of that thought.
It really is hard to describe what it feels like to be depressed
It really is hard to describe what it feels like to be depressed, I don’t think that I ever could. Or at least, I could never describe it in a way that would give significant resonance to how it really feels. As a creative person, finding ways to express how I feel comes naturally to me, but when it comes to expressing how depression and anxiety have affected me, it’s like I’m scared to even let it out, because then it would give life to the ‘thing’ that has been so dark and awful.
I just felt as if I had lost all control of myself
Things started to spiral whilst I was on holiday. Everything should have been perfect. I’d got into a top uni, we were staying in a beautiful place. But for me, nothing much seemed beautiful. I, had this terrible feeling that something very awful was going to happen. I knew then that it wasn’t logical, but that didn’t help to ease the intensity of. I cried hysterically and told my boyfriend that I knew I was going to fail, and that I was a disappointment to everybody. I was terrified to be alone with my thoughts.
I spent a lot of my time alone at uni, and things only got worse. I was convinced that I wasn’t good enough to be on my course and that I wasn’t like anybody else. It was like my mind was on overdrive, and it was a voice in my head was just saying over and over ‘you can’t do it’. I could literally hear myself saying it, and once I even said it out loud without realising. I really felt as if I was losing my mind, I felt so unexplainably out of control. I thought that If I couldn’t even control what I was thinking or saying, what was I capable of? I worried that because I thought I was ‘going crazy’, I wouldn’t know what I was doing and I would hurt myself. What if I just can’t stop myself from jumping in front of that train coming towards me? I didn’t want to do that, I just felt as if I had lost all control of myself. I felt as though my mind was so weak, that It wouldn’t be able to stop me. It’s a truly awful feeling to think that you have no control. I was in a very dark place.
Admitting it to myself was the hardest thing of all
For a long time, I refused to say that I was depressed. I was so ashamed. I thought that people would think I had no reason to be depressed or they would say I was 'mental', and that they wouldn’t want to be around me. Admitting it to myself was the hardest thing of all, because those negative and completely false assumptions had come from me. It felt like admitting I was crazy, and a failure, with no reason to be the way I was.
It's very important that people are not ashamed
Now, I am in a much better place. I was given the support from loved ones to talk, and people listened. It is through talking, that I learnt about mental health problems like depression and my increased understanding made it far easier to accept it for myself. I do have ups and downs, but releasing myself from the stigma that I had has allowed me to see that I do not need to be ashamed. It’s very important that people are not ashamed and that they feel able to talk, to anybody that they want too. In my opinion, it is the affirmation that you are not alone that will be the best support you will ever receive.