Liz, August 7, 2019

“I wish I had been told that depression isn't something to be ashamed of.”

I've been suffering from depression for just under four years, and depression has a way of replacing your confidence with pure anxiety and self-hatred. 

The scariest thing I found about suffering from a mental illness is the effect it has on every aspect of your life; it’s not just what’s inside your head. For me, suffering from depression became debilitating as I couldn't find happiness in the little things I used to enjoy doing. More often than not, depression would cause me to sit in my room and cry, usually for no reason at all.

I was told a lot that 'I had nothing to be depressed about' and that 'I’ll get over it’ because I have a great group of friends and no enemies to worry about, but the real enemy I had made was with myself.

Depression is something that cannot be healed simply, and I wish I had been told just how easy it can be to fall back into a spiral of severe isolation and anxiety.

It's so typical to believe that depression is nothing more than being sad. Depression isn’t feeling sad; if it were, it would be so much easier to deal with. Every time I'd let depression affect me, my body would go into shut down as I'd hardly sleep, I'd be sick: I had no energy to fight how I felt. 

I’d be asked what triggered me to feel ‘sad’, and I felt so humiliated that I didn’t have a ‘trigger’; depression hits you when you least expect it, and it comes in frequent waves. As well as being physically fatigued, my depression led to paranoia, which had a huge impact on my life, causing me to fret and become severely overwhelmed, and so, the cycle continued between being paranoid, which made me panic, which made me depressed. I wish I had been told that depression isn't something to be ashamed of, as telling people I had depression was a task I still struggle to achieve.

Sadly, I’ve found that depression (as well as other mental illnesses) are romanticized, especially in the media. There really isn’t anything glamorous about suffering from depression, and it’s important that this trend is stopped before it gets out of hand. 

It’s so true when you hear that support is always available, whether it be from friends, families, charities or organisations, but seeking this kind of support made me feel uncomfortable at first. Depression isolates you, making you believe your importance matters less than those around you. Depression pushed so many people out of my life to the point where I feared forming friendships, because the pain of losing the people I loved was too much to bear.

It was important that my friends would embrace my depression rather than see it as a flaw of mine, so I began openly talking about it to those around me, and by raising awareness, quite a few of my friends stepped forward to say they had been through the same, or at least knew somebody who did. 

By accepting my depression and openly discussing it with others, I didn't feel as ashamed anymore.

I realised for the first time that I wasn’t alone, and mental illness is actually far more common than we’re led to believe. 

Mental illness isn’t a trend, but it shouldn’t be a taboo either. One day, we’ll find the middle ground.

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