I didn't think depression could affect me - but it has.

A 24-year-old lad, with a good career, loving family, and a great group of friends, depression isn’t something I’ve ever got to worry about…. Is it?

Well unfortunately, yes it is. I was diagnosed with severe depression in December 2015, which turned my whole world upside down. I haven’t told any of my friends: only my family and my psychiatrist know. One of the honest reasons being that if I did tell them, they probably wouldn’t believe me. If you were to observe my friends and me in day-to-day life or whilst out on a night out, I’d be the last person you’d think to get depression. I was always the one having a joke, first on the dance floor, chatting away to people, the boisterous and extrovert one. 

I still worry about being judged

Another main reason for me not wanting to tell people is the fear of being judged, the fear of people talking about it, branding me as ‘mental’ or having ‘lost the plot’. In my close group of friends we have supported each other through many a tough time, but mental health seems to carry such a stigma that it has seen me hiding away from telling them. I had a friend text me the other day asking if I could play 5-aside football. as they were one short. It’s hard to reply ‘Sorry mate, I’ve got depression’ just seems wrong to me, but it shouldn’t be. 

Depression has stripped me of my attributes, and my social life has been ripped away from me, which for any person - let alone a young person - is just horrendous. I’m scared to answer the phone some days, or reply to my friend’s text messages in the fear that they would try and arrange to meet up and I’d have to lie to them or make up some story that I can’t make it. I’ve beaten myself up about it, constantly comparing myself to the way I was before I had depression. ‘You can’t even walk out of the front door, you’re pathetic’.

With most days spent indoors, I’ve often found myself researching the web reading about other peoples battles with depression, seeing how long they had it for, what their journey through it was like and then thinking my experience would be the same. The internet can be your best friend and your worst enemy: in a vulnerable state you could easily convince yourself that you will have depression forever, but that’s not the case and I’ve needed my family to keep reassuring me of that.

Talking about it shows I'm not alone

I’ve now come to terms with the fact that I have depression, which really was hard to accept, and as a man in particular there is a lot of pride to swallow and demons, telling you that you have failed, to stand up to. Today my mum had a friend round for a cup of tea (incidentally, on #Timetotalk day) who is also experiencing depression, and it felt good to just talk with her, knowing that I wasn’t alone.

People must understand that depression manifests itself in many different ways; no two people will go through the same journey. No matter who you are, what you do or where you’re from, depression does not discriminate. Premier league footballers, to the local shopkeeper, the statistics don’t lie that 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health problem in any given year and it can be any of us. It is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.

Follow Aaron on Twitter @AaronRoby_

What do you think of Aaron's blog? Tell us in the comments.

Comments

Sympathy

You have my sympathy. My feelings are much the same as mine. I know I SHOULDN'T be embarrassed, but sometimes I am. Many people do treat mental illness differently from physical illness, and it's our job to educate them.

Thanks for this post, it's

Thanks for this post, it's something I can closely relate to. I've been diagnosed with depression for just on a year now, and I still haven't told my friends. There are only a couple of family members who know, and that's it. The reasoning being that has been mentioned in the blog. Will people believe, or judge me? If they're true friends, (which I think they are), they will be understanding, but I still can't face telling them :( Socially, I'm okay. But deep down, I'm a wreck, and worrying about everything. My family, my work, my weight, my appearance, everything, it kills me. Some days I want to be left alone, others I feel the need to be constantly doing things to try and keep my mind occupied, but it doesn't work :\

Depression and hiding it...feeling judged?

I've been through all the same feelings and thoughts. I see many here posting are younger than myself....that's ok of course but what I am trying to say is...YES, I felt the same way at your age :) I have learned a lot and mastered a lot but I can not say that I am fully 'free' today. I think it is just something many of us have to deal with their entire life...but that is ok ! I am 55 years old now and let me tell you... I CAN CARE LESS WHAT ANYONE THINKS ABOUT ANYTHING. I am a good citizen. Raised my children well. Married for 36 years. I managed. It was very hard, yes, but I was always one to search for answers and learn to better myself. I do believe it all gets better with age...why? Well, because many do not really sweat the small stuff like 'what do other people think', or 'how do I look', when we get older. You have this one life. Live it :) Find your 'happy'. May it be in hobbies such Arts & Crafts or music or helping others. Find your 'happy' and embrace it. Enjoy today....I know it's easier said than done, but it can be learned ! You can find so many 'same' stories about the how and the downs and feeling like this or that and how hard it is....but please, search and find the stories that tell you it can be a little better and that you can do this! One of my favorite is always: It's not a bad life, just a bad day :) Try to think as many positive thoughts as you can when you feel ok. They will store in your subconcious mind and help you out later...without you even knowing it. Yes, you are valuable! You are a human being and you are loved by someone. We can not be loved or liked by 'everyone', but that's ok :) So what if you go 'crazy' now and then? Is this world not filled with what the masses always call 'crazy'? So, me being a little 'crazy' just blends in, lol. I really do not care if anyone thinks I am 'different' or 'strange' or 'weird' at times. My time is to precious to worry about what other people think about me. I am me. That's it. That is what you get :)

It's inspiring the way you've shared your story!

Hi Aaron, I just wanted to say how much I admire you sharing your story. I really think you will help others speak about their own experiences and situations, helping everyone get the support and love they need. Thank you!

depression

iv just been reading aarons blog,the same thing as happened to me for 25 yrs i waz the village header always in the pubs going on football trips horse racing trips always full of banter,then last march i started to feel low which resulted in a suicide attempt ever since my life as turned upside down lost my job house now i dont leave the house my friends are understanding and evrey week they ring me to go out but i cant.i have accepted this is always going to be with me.its like my lifes been taken away hey but im still here and appreciate evreything that i have,good luck too anyone who is suffering with mental illness.

Nothing to be ashamed of it

Nothing to be ashamed of it should be treated like physical illness hope you doing ok now

i didn't think depression can affect me

I think that it is brave of Aaron to write about his problem, but I want to know what were the signs and symptoms of his condition. Maybe what was the initial triggers for his depression and whether he is being followed up

Depression sucks

Aaron you have captured perfectly how I feel. I've gone from being life and soul of any party to not wanting any social interaction at all. I'm twice your age and female but you could have been writing about me. I've still not come to terms with this illness and feel so guilty for not wanting to participate in events with my dearest and closest friends. Valentine's Day was a wash out with my lovely hubby cooking me a fab dinner and me crawling back to my bed at 7.30 because I felt so bad. I've missed birthday get together's lunches and beauty appointments. I never thought this would happen to me. I've always been an optimist and have encouraged others to always try and look on the bright side. Now when well intentioned friends and family ask me if I'm feeling better yet, or I see a post on social media about positive thinking I want to scream! I now get it. I hope you get well soon. Depressions sucks.

Depression

I would like to salute Aaron for his courage in being so open - and especially on social media - about his depression. The feeling that your friends would think less of you - well, it's a Catch 22 thing that goes with the illness, unfortunately. But . . . if one of those friends told you that THEY were depressed, I'm confident that you would wish to support them as much as you could, Aaron. They are friends who know you well, and who clearly care about you, and just want to see you well. Depression IS an illness, and people DO recover. Wishing you all the best.

Hi Aaron,

Hi Aaron, Firstly and most importanly you are right, we are not alone there are many people suffering from anxiety adn depression and also agree that the more people you talk to the more you find out that there are so many people out there, even might be your friends too who would not talk about it for the same reason as you do not. You say you do not feel like going out but you have to. If you have people around you and you are out and about in the nature it helps. My anxiety and low mood started last summer. Came from nowhere and I was struggling for months. I found that meditation, excersice, vitamin B, mindfulness and writing a dairy dauly helps me a lot. Letely I was lazy and skipped a few class at the gym as well as did skip some meditation and I was feeling shit Yesterday. I realised I have to maintain this lifestyle even if I feel better as it comes back. You mentioned you have got a freat job and an awesome family. Same here so I should not have any reason to hate the World but I believe that is what depression is about. It just comes from nowhere. I wish you well, everything will be fine. Oh and what helps me greatly is listening to positive thoughts on you tube every day while I am driving to work and back home. Take carex

As a young person and an

As a young person and an extrovert myself, I really feel for you Aaron. I'm in the same situation myself, and it can sometimes feel like an inescapable nightmare. I've always been light hearted, never getting into anything too serious, so when it came to getting depression I was totally lost. At nineteen, my friends are out most nights, in their second year at university, living their lives to the full. I've had to drop out of university thanks to my depression, along with other mental illnesses, and I can hardly stand to face my friends these days. It's painful sometimes to have to put on a brave face and see your friends. As much as you'd like them to understand, and as much as they probably would do their best if they knew, it's so hard to face talking about it. You're right, depression doesn't discriminate. It goes for anyone. Reading this has made me feel a little less isolated. It's nice to know I'm not the only one feeling that way I do.

depression

I am home from work because of it. Since 1989, and it is still here. I have had multiple Drs, therapists, meds, 2 hospital stays and read numerous books. I am so tired if it. Got an appointment in a couple of weeks to see about different meds again. Maybe more therapy, again. Again, again, I'm over it. I can't take it. It is too much.

Support

Hi there, I'm really sorry to hear that you've been through all of that. Please don't give up hope – there other means of support and people out there who can help you. As an anti-stigma campaign we aren't able to offer advice on support directly, but you may find these links useful: http://bit.ly/1Lh54ZT Best, Tim at Time to Change

Hi Aaron

Don't worry about what people will think about you. But also don't feel that you have to tell everyone. As long as there are a few people close to you who you are able to confide in then you'll find that maybe all you need. Well done for talking about anxiety though. You'll find a way to turn things around.

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