Zoe, February 19, 2018

Picture of blogger: Zoe

Depression and anxiety, what do they mean to you? There is a lot of coverage on these topics at the moment and, in my opinion, rightly so. Mental health is something that has been affecting so many people, for such a long time, and only now does it feel acceptable to talk about and open each other’s eyes to the struggles people face daily.

I have suffered with anxiety for many years. I have also probably suffered with depression, although I’ve never been formally diagnosed. For me, I’ve always struggled to open up and tell anyone. Why? Why should I be ashamed of the thoughts and feelings going through my head? Well that’s just the thing; those thoughts and feelings are relative to me. They’re relative to what I am facing and how I manage to deal with those issues.

Yet that doesn’t stop people with the questions; “Why does it bother you? Why can’t you chill out? Why can’t you relax?!” Well, maybe if I had any answers to those questions I wouldn’t feel the way I do. I already feel silly, I already question my emotions on a daily basis, so do you think I need anyone else questioning that? That is why I’m glad people are finally speaking out and finally addressing the questions and the negative opinions surrounding this matter.

What do depression and anxiety mean to me? It means struggling to get out of bed in the morning. It means fighting back the tears while sitting at my desk and putting on a brave face while inside I feel like everything is being screwed up and I can’t breathe. It means trying to concentrate while inside my head I have constant battles and arguments. It means getting angry and pushing away the ones I love the most because I’m adamant they’ll hurt me if I don’t push them away first. It means wanting to sit in a room on my own and not interact with the world but missing everyone and everything at the same time.

I fake my way through most days and some days that gets exhausting to the point where I can no longer put on that brave face. But what I will say is, anxiety doesn’t make me who I am. Sometimes my brain likes to think it does. Some days I feel like I’m not a person, just a shell, but for the most part I will fight. I will fight to be the person I once was. I will fight to be the happiest I have ever been. I will fight to let people in and not shut that door.

I am still me; I’m just a little fragile some days and I just need someone to stop, think and ask, are you ok? And to tell me they’re there. I don’t need advice, I don’t need people telling me I’m “being stupid.” And I most certainly don’t expect you to understand. But by being there, and taking a moment to think, you could save someone’s life. You could be the reason they’ve got a smile on their face. You can make a difference.

It’s time to talk. Don’t shut the world out! Share your stories and help each other - it may surprise you how much you have in common. No one should be alone in this world, so remind someone they’re not

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Too many people are made to feel ashamed. By sharing your story, you can help spread knowledge and perspective about mental illness that could change the way people think about it.