I had a dark period of depression for just over two years, not that I knew it at the time. It had become the norm to feel dead behind the eyes, empty, numb and generally dire at all times. My weekends would involve a breakfast of crying followed by a coffee and cry for lunch, a long sleep on the sofa to forget I was even there, then a dinner of tears and a sob to sleep. It was bleak.
I had suffered a dreadful heartbreak months before which left me crushed internally and unable to feel anything. It was also a major factor in my decision to give up my career as a singer and songwriter. I was so twisted with pain I physically couldn’t sing, and there were only so many songs I could write “He’s left me, I’m DEAD!” My passion had abandoned me along with my inner spirit that normally lifts the room, instead - I couldn’t leave my room.
Speaking to someone honestly about how I felt made the emotion race out like a tidal wave
While I was aware that something wasn’t right, it took a hit of gastroenteritis which I carried on with oblivious for two weeks, then a serious bout of face swelling glandular fever which left me unable to move, and my Mum feeding me in order to say - enough! I could almost handle the emotional deadness of depression, but seeing my face look like a puma was too much for me.
I took the plunge and saw my doctor. Speaking to someone honestly about how I felt on a daily basis made the floodgates of frozen emotion race out like a tidal wave, and there it was - I was depressed. I explained the feeling of having a pair of hands crawl up my back and press down on my shoulders, that how I saw it in my mind so I could identify what ‘it’ was. But as I spoke to her, I also felt utter relief for the first time in years. As I left the surgery and walked home, I felt alive and present. I smiled, I breathed the fresh air - I felt semi normal again, just from talking. A session with a therapist followed who just brilliant, and by the time the session was over he told me to “Get out of here!” (joking) as I was fine. By opening up to my doctor then him, he explained how I was one of the ‘lucky’ ones who reach to bottom, realize it, then bounce back up. My god, I was lucky. I left him and never looked back, and as quick as my recovery was, I will never forgot the feeling of those hands on my back, no escape seemed possible.
I feel the strongest possible version of myself due to my depression
In a matter of days I noticed the colour return to my cheeks and a sparkle to my eyes - I looked like me again! That period of my life stays with always. It makes me feel able to deal with anything, anything. After feeling like you’re a spec of dust waiting to be swept away, you just don’t sweat the small stuff - it does not matter. A break up, a crappy day, a job loss, or being unable to make rent, they all pale into the background after you’ve experienced depression. I feel the strongest possible version of myself due to my depression and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Who knows who I would be without? Would I really know what pain was? How would I cope with everyday things that seem to drive sane people to tears? I don’t know. I do know however, that an open honest attitude to mental health is just as essential to helping others with depression.
I feel the stigma attached to having depression is massively diminishing today
I didn’t tell my family or colleagues about my therapy, only a few select friends at the time knew, as I knew there would be that look of “there’s something wrong with you”. Narrow minds would pop me into a category and harp back to it anytime I felt a bit off colour, so why share. That was over ten years ago for me, and thankfully I feel the stigma attached to having depression is massively diminishing today. Indeed some of the most wonderful creative minds have fallen victim to the illness, and come away for the experience, like myself, mentally richer for it.
If we do keep talking about mental health, it will help
I also know, that it doesn’t matter what someone says to you to try and help, the best will in the world can’t shake the feeling of helplessness, but, if we do keep talking about mental health, openly, proudly and freely without fear of others labelling those who experience mental illness, it will help.
Since my depression I have lived my life by the law of attraction, and I can honestly say I feel happy every single day. That’s not to say I don’t get pissed off from time to time, but ultimately, it just doesn’t matter. People often ask me how I am so genuinely happy and positive all the time, and my answer is recovering from depression - nothing will ever be that bad again, so bring it on.