Please note that this blog may be triggering for some readers.
For me depression manifested itself over a long period of time – around 7 years – it all started when I was very badly bullied both and emotionally for most of my childhood and left me having no self confidence, no self esteem and, most of all, no self worth. It was impossible for me to make friendships as nobody wanted me around, which left me feeling rejected. I refused to let anyone in who might be able to help in case it brought more abuse my way or I pushed them away as they wouldn’t want “a freak” as a friend.
I felt unable to tell people at work about my struggles
I started work at 16 where I was treated as an adult and equal by most of my colleagues, except for some who made me feel as though I was not good enough and that I couldn’t do the job. Again the vicious cycle of self loathing/lack of confidence and no self esteem reared its ugly head. I had convinced myself that if people at school and my colleagues thought that way about me they must be right – and if I was in fact as worthless as they made me feel, what was the point in me carrying on? So at the age of 18 I tried to take my own life twice in a matter of weeks. I continued working without telling anyone and covered all evidence of what I had done until again I contemplated suicide. At this point I lost total interest in my work and felt like I could no longer do the job which again backed up my thoughts of not being good enough so, with no back-up, I quit my job.
I found myself unable to move for weeks - depression and anxiety took hold
I found a new job relatively quickly – hiding from them that I had attempted suicide in case they judged me – and settled in well with a really great bunch of people. Everyday was a struggle and a battle against my own mind – I had more negative thoughts than one person could cope with. The most stressful week at work I’d ever had resulted in me not being able to complete my duties and that -more than any other occasion - proved to me that I was not good enough. The result of that period at work left me having a breakdown and it was then that I found my self unable to move from my bedroom for weeks – the diagnosis? Severe depression and high anxiety, it had been building inside me for so long that I couldn’t fight it anymore. For weeks I was unable to leave my bedroom and most of the time my duvet was too heavy even to lift. I had no resolve and no drive to do anything and had a constant feeling of rejection because no-one wanted to be around me. I would use so much energy to fight the feeling of nothingness that I would be unable to do anything after that – a feeling of treading water with nowhere in sight and the more I’d fight it the more tired I would be. Unable to work and unable to get out of the house I would repeatedly tell myself that those who made me feel worthless were right in doing so. This went on for just over two months when I decided that work and a routine was what I needed to help pull me out of feeling as low as I ever had done.
Every day is still a challenge, but I'm better equipped now
After a short time back at work I realised I had gone back too soon and found myself struggling once again to do the work and falling back into the mind set of not being good enough. For the second time in four months, I had a breakdown. The main thing that impacted me at this point was that I could not rationalise anything - if a friend wasn’t able to meet me all I would think was that they hated me and that they didn’t want to be around me. No matter what I did, these negative thoughts were always at the front of my mind and only over time did they start to fade.
That brings me to where I am today; I am now back at work and have been for over a month and doing better than I was 6 months ago. That is down to how understanding my employer has been and also the support I have had from my friends and colleagues. I still have very little confidence/self esteem and still have more negative thoughts about myself than positive ones but the thing I can take from that is that I actually see a few positives in myself. I still have times where I cannot see in my self what others see and I question why people like me and talk to me but I suppose that will get better with time. At the moment part of my recovery is to go out with my friends – even if only for a coffee - in order to get me out an about as I still struggle with my anxiety and the thought of going out without a friend/family member or in fact without a plan scares me to the point I will not go. Every day is still a challenge and a battle, but it’s a battle I am better equipped for now and a battle that I am not fighting on my own.