I’ve suffered from depression since my teens, although I refused any treatment for a long time. It came in waves. I’d have a few months when I felt okay and then a period of time (which seemed like forever) where I’d think about dying every day. I hurt myself, I cut myself off from people who loved me and I tried to pretend that everything was okay.
My depression came about from years of stress and loss. That combined with my sensitive nature made it difficult to cope. I became convinced that I’d lose everyone, which made opening up to people a terrifying concept. I didn’t believe getting treatment would help and I was scared that it would change me into someone else.
Dealing with all the stresses of life on my own caused me to fall ill with glandular fever, which lead to me being diagnosed with ME/CFS and hypothyroidism a few years later. Suffering with a long-term illness is very frustrating and upsetting and, in turn, made my anxieties higher and my moods lower.
I put on a brave face and don’t like to burden them
Throughout my entire life my mum has been my rock and, as much as I tried to push her away during these times, she stuck by me and tried to help me. The rest of my family and friends have done their best to understand how I feel too. Although I put on a brave face and don’t like to burden them, I know they’d accept me however I came.
My mum encouraged me to go and see the counsellor that she saw after her divorce, but I couldn’t bear opening up in front of a stranger. I felt like an idiot crying in this falsely comforting room and didn’t go back for another session. It wasn’t until last year that I attempted another form of therapy – cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) - with the help of some prescribed medicine to make me feel calm enough to get there in the first place!
These sessions helped me so much, and I found myself doing more things that I wouldn’t have dreamt of doing before. I’ve now completed my course of CBT and I feel like (with little baby steps) I could take on the world!
It’s an on-going battle
That isn’t to say I haven’t suffered more recently with depression. It’s an on-going battle and I expect it’ll return a few more times throughout my life. My moods are still very temperamental and I know it’ll be a while before they settle down but I now feel like I have the tools to cope with it a little better.
I wrote on my blog about a recent trip to see my GP after experiencing scarily low moods. I explained how just telling someone honestly how you feel can be all you need. If they, in turn, have some advice for you, even better!
main piece of advice would be don't suffer in silence
If I were to talk to anyone who feels like they may be suffering with depression, my main piece of advice would be don't suffer in silence. It can be really scary and upsetting telling someone how you feel but it will be better in the long run. You don’t have to do everything on your own and asking for help certainly does not make you weak.
Let yourself have days here and there where you ignore the world, snuggle into bed with a cup of tea and watch trash all day but don’t let those days turn into weeks. See people who make you smile, even if it’s just for an hour. Do things that make you feel happy and proud and you. Set yourself goals that make you look forward to a bright future. Always remember, there is a solution for pretty much every scenario and you don’t have to figure it all out on your own.