November 14, 2014

The number of times people said to me, “Come on, you have everything, you have nothing to be sad about just cheer up!” or “what happened to make you upset?” These questions are seemingly innocent but they hurt when you can’t answer them. That’s the issue with mental health stigma, it is born of people not understanding, therefore without more understanding the stigma will never be broken.

Some people I have talked to still do not believe that depression is serious

Some people I have talked to still do not believe that depression is serious and can be debilitating, when someone says something like this it hurts but I try to explain to them what it’s like and this is what I am going to try to explain here.

I went from a good student, attendance was near perfect, obtaining good grades on every coursework and exam. Then depression hit, I barely got out of bed to eat or have a shower let alone going to lectures, blasting music into my ears in an attempt to blot out the voices in my head, the ones saying “you're useless, you’re worthless, you're never good enough, you're just not enough”.

It just slowly crept up on me

Another thing with depression is, in my case at least, it was not on its own. Anxiety joined it, the constant nagging feeling in depression, it hit me out of the blue or seemingly so. I am a second year university student, achieving great grades, have a loving family and had a girlfriend, and so what went wrong you may ask? I don’t know why I am like this, if I knew I would change it in a blink of an eye. Looking back I can’t see anything that caused this episode. It just slowly crept up on me getting slowly worse and worse until a crash came when my girlfriend left me.

Your stomach. Petrified of something, but you don’t even know what you’re scared of.

People still find it difficult to understand

People still find it difficult to understand - a few times I have tried to explain why I am like this, only to have people say “that’s nothing to be upset about, there are people so much worse off than you”. I respond to this statement simply, by saying that,: everyone has limits, some people are more predisposed genetically to struggling in times of hardship that others would just take with a pinch of salt. Depression is a very personal illness, each and every person that struggles with it struggles in their own way and that makes you feel alone. If you're reading this and struggling with any mental illness, you are not alone and please don’t keep things to yourself, try to talk about it. The only way we can break stigma is by communicating to those who don’t understand, because stigma is caused by misunderstanding. 

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