May 30, 2013

There are some days when I still think, ‘I’m not depressed, I’m just lazy.’ But the truth of it is, I am. I am depressed. Yet saying it out loud makes me cringe every time.

I have told a few people, some were great and very understanding (unlike some my employer has been fantastic). My friends and family on the other hand well, like me, I don’t think they really have or will accept it.

It’s like the dirty secret I don’t talk about, no one ever asks me outright about it. But the person I’m most disappointed in is myself. I don’t understand. I’m actually scared of myself. I keep telling myself to ‘pull myself together’ and ‘just do it’.

Yet one week it took me 5 days to walk into town to return a pair of jeans. So lazy. So pathetic.

I've had bouts of depression since I was a teenager

Looking back I’ve had bouts of depression since I was a teenager but it never became as apparent as it is now. A year ago I left my now ex partner after 3 years in a relationship which was abusive and left me desperately unhappy. I thought it would pass, after all it was traumatic and we had lived together for the majority of that time. Break ups are hard but I’ll get over it won’t I? But I didn’t.

6 months later I was using alcohol as an escape, not turning up for work and not attending any of my university lectures. The moment finally came to head when I missed work for the 2nd time that week and an important meeting with my manager who had made an effort to see my especially.

I decided to make the brave decision to get help

I grabbed a train and headed home in the worst state I have ever felt, the only thing that gave me energy was to absorb myself with those I loved most. I survived. I came back to university, went to counselling and decided to make the brave decision and get help via medication.

Counselling really helped to reconnect with myself and take a look at what I was doing. I was shocked when my counsellor said I was ‘self harming’. Look mate, there are no scars on these wrists. However I was, by drinking. I would drink more than a weekly allowance in one night and put myself in some pretty risky situations. As a student however, no one bats an eye when you get hammered do they?

Depression shouldn't be a dirty word

I’m better now but I’m not ‘cured’. I still sleep a lot, sleep is my way of escaping the world. When I sleep I make no effort, my mind carries me wherever I want to go. I don’t have to pick up a textbook. I don’t have to talk to my friend. I don’t have to eat. When I wake it feels like I’ve been treading water for an eternity, I ache and my eyes are heavy.

But I’m not at the stage where I finally feel like I can start to come to terms with my illness. I’ve always considered myself quite an open, expressive and understanding person. I’ve had close friends who have experienced severe mental health problems and I’ve stuck by them, never judged them or thought any different of them. Depression shouldn’t be a dirty word and yet, I can feel my skin crawl as I say it. It’s time to change my view of mental illness.

I have depression. I have depression. I have depression.

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