December 5, 2016

People like me don't get depressed; depression doesn't affect people like me. I'm always smiling, happy, always the first to make a joke out of a bad situation, if you hand me lemons I'm the first to grab a large glass and make a gin and tonic. I’m naturally an optimist.

The first time I opened up to a friend about how I was diagnosed with depression, she said: "how can you be depressed?" It was a stab right through the heart - she didn't mean it in a nasty way, she was asking a simple question, but she sat glaring waiting for a reply and I couldn't answer. I seem to have everything: a husband who loves and cares for me,  a healthy little boy, who's smile brings so much joy, I have a house, a job, I go on nice holidays, I'm surrounded by so many people who love and care about me what more could anyone want? I get it, totally.

To my friend it’s like it wasn't acceptable to be sad, It's like because I had all these things my life wasn't bad enough to be depressing. But that’s not how depression works. The worst part was I felt I wasn't as lucky as everyone else I didn't have my health to enjoy all the things I was blessed to have, things that play a huge part in happiness.

It was like a Pandora's box had been opened with so many different emotions and I didn't know to deal with them, I felt like a burden to everyone around me I felt Like I was draining the life and happiness out of everyone exactly like my condition was doing to me, most days my heart didn't allow me to get up and go to work in the morning like everyone else did It didn't let me just be me, be a mum, I even thought at one stage life would be easier for everyone if I wasn't around if I packed a bag and ran away hopefully the sadness doll in my head wouldn't follow at the back I grow tiered of living in a body that's damaged and can't be repaired things I would normally carry in my stride I couldn't anymore, every difficult moment, anything that went wrong it,tore another huge chunk out of my sanity and it's like one day a light was switched off my legs gave way from underneath me and I fell into complete darkness alone.

With depression I always imagined someone looking sad and miserable someone who lay in bed and cried. I basically imagined the Sadness character from the film Inside Out: someone who's smart but pessimistic and negative all the time that the best and only thing to do in life is to lie around and cry.  That person wasn't me, In fact I rarely cried - it's like my tear ducts didn't work exactly like my heart didn't, I just felt numb, I didn't lie in bed crying every day. Instead I woke up in the morning just to go back to bed again at night - it's like there wasn't any purpose to life.

When I was diagnosed with depression, I couldn't accept it I didn't believe it, I felt sad but I used to think the sadness I felt was nothing compared to what depression feels like, I couldn't imagine what having Depression was like because it doesn't happen to people like me. Part of me even felt ashamed for feeling the way I did, it just sort of became a part of me, a part I didn't really like but I Just had to get along with anyway.

I've had people close to me suffer from lots of different mental health issues, I didn't judge them, I just felt compassion towards them and tried to help them. But I just couldn't see myself with depression. My Nana always used to say, your mind’s a powerful thing and that you shouldn't judge someone else's mind because you never really know what's going on inside it the ironic thing was the first time I witnessed mental health it was with her, she had bipolar that saying she always told me stuck, it made me compassionate to others Especially mental health, you don't judge someone’s mind when you don't understand what's going on inside it.

My own experience made me recognise depression has so many different faces and forms, mental health can affect anyone it doesn't matter if your fat or thin, rich or poor, it doesn't care if you’re male or female, it is what it is, it strikes without warning and takes over your life, You can't help the way you feel, you can't just snap out of being sad.

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