February 6, 2013

Mel, a Time to Change bloggerSome people will scoff when I say I've been spurred on to write my thoughts out as candidly as I'm about to by a song in the charts. Listening to the radio a song really jumped out at me recently by Kelly Clarkson entitled 'Dark Side',

"Everybody's got a dark side.
Do you love me?
Can you love mine?
Nobody's a picture perfect,
but we're worth it,
you know that we're worth it.
Will you love me?
Even with my dark side?"

I'm a very musical person and I absolutely love nothing more than really listening to the lyrics and searching for my own meanings. Music has the power to lift my mood completely or offer me a comfort blanket during some of my less than good times. And this song really spoke to me and was the 'light bulb moment' for me to sit down and write what I'm about to.

I struggle with depression.

Am I depressed? I couldn't possibly be

That's a pretty big thing for me to write because for so long I have battled against an internal monologue in my head convincing me that I couldn't possibly be depressed, that I was just having a bad day/week/month and I'd get over it eventually.

I feared that if I mentioned the word 'depression' to anyone I'd be met with prejudice and laughter. I've got away with that because for the most part my moods are cyclical. I can go a few months getting on with life like I'm supposed to and then suddenly I'll crash head first into this brick wall and the darkness will descend, making it almost impossible for me to function 'normally.'

I'm terrified to tell people about my depression

I have one of the best support-networks anyone could ask for but none of them know the true extent of my struggle because I'm terrified to even admit to myself that there's a problem. If I can't do that then there is no way I'm going to open up to my loved ones. I'm scared that if this gets out into the open then I'll somehow destroy the harmony of everyone's worlds, in particular my husband and mine.

Our relationship isn't perfect, it takes work, but then I think every relationship is a constant series of ups and downs. And I think the biggest problem is my mental health struggles. It’s a black cloud over our joint happiness and it's always going to follow us if I don't do something about it.

Depression brings a third angle to our relationship that I don't want

My husband is my absolute rock, I love him with every fibre of my being and it destroys me to watch myself pick away at the bonds that tie us together because I'm so unhappy in my own head. I'm scared to say anything I'm thinking about because I don't want things to be any different between us and having mental problems brings a third angle to our relationship that I don't want. I want to just get on with life being together like a normal couple and doing things together like we used to.

I'm absolutely terrified of going to get any proper help in case I'm told I'm making all of this up and I need to just get a grip. I know that most likely won't happen with medical professionals but there is definitely still a stigma attached to the word 'depression' that is scaring me out of doing anything about my problems. It’s classed by so many people as something made up to get you out of being a normal human being like everyone else. And I'm scared that if I'm given a actual medical diagnosis this will make it all the more real and it’s not just that I'm having a bad day/week/month... it’s something that needs real treatment.

I lead a truly amazing life... it doesn't sound like I'm depressed

I feel like I shouldn't even be contemplating this because, on paper, I lead a truly amazing life. I have a husband who loves me, we have a lovely home and a cat and friends who we spend time with and loving families who would do anything for us... that doesn't sound like the life of someone who is massively unhappy does it?

The quote “a problem shared is a problem halved” is so apt in situations like this and I'm promising myself that from here on in I will start to talk about my mental health problems frankly and honestly.

What do you think about the issues raised in this blog?

Share your views with us on Twitter >>

Or sign our pledge wall to show your support and find out how talking tackles mental health discrimination.

Share your story

Too many people are made to feel ashamed. By sharing your story, you can help spread knowledge and perspective about mental illness that could change the way people think about it.