I'm Della. I live in a house share in a different town from my family. I work full time and I have to get through all my daily chores alone and ploughing through the darkness of depression. It's hard, really hard.
Depression doesn't care if I have to get up early and work a nine hour shift; depression doesn't care if I need to get into town to do some basic shopping; depression doesn't care if I've made arrangements with friends. I can be perfectly happy one day and wake up the next day with the dark sadness and suicidal thoughts – there is no warning and there's no way to stop it. Having been living with depression for years, I take daily medication and I attend regular GP appointments and counselling, but none of that can stop depression.
The hardest part for me to handle is how it affects my work. I love my job and the routine of going to work every day, and being surrounded by the staff who are loving and supportive is the best feeling. But when depression is hovering, I can't deal with work – all I want to do is sit and cry and feel sorry for myself. I need a routine to keep myself focused, and if my routine changes it can take me a long time to adjust and I know it will have an impact on my mental wellbeing.
When depression visits me, I struggle to work, I don't eat well, I self-harm and I have thoughts about ending my life. It's a scary place, and although I have the support of friends and family, I tend to push them away. I don't know why, maybe it's the thoughts I have and the shame I feel that I can't control my own mind.
I'll be honest, I've lost friends. I've nearly lost family in the past when my mental illness got the better of me and I tried to end my life. None of that matters now, I'm just coming out of a depression episode and, as hard as it was, I'm still learning about my mental health and so are my family and friends. I'm blessed to have the ones who have stuck by my side, who bring me chocolate when I'm sad or sit in A&E with me when I'm at a low point. I'm tired of hiding my thoughts and hiding my self-harm. If I'm in a low point I want to be able to tell everyone close so they know I'm not just being miserable, unsociable or boring but because I'm dying inside.
I used to hide my mental illness. I hid it from my ex-boyfriend for a long time, too long. I was ashamed and I honestly thought I couldn't be loved. I hated myself, I still do at times, so why would anyone chose to love me. It wasn't until things got particularly bad that he found out. I guess it's thanks to him I'm so open about it now. He was amazing and supportive, and for once I didn't feel alone. I had someone by my side who was listening to me and didn't judge me.
I'm blessed to have my mental illness, in a sense, as it makes me appreciate life and I know first-hand how quickly it can be ended.
Love yourself, you are doing a great job and if all you did today was get out of the bed then please be proud and shout it from the rooftops.
And be in your mates’ corners – take it from me, it makes a huge difference to someone going through depression.