To describe what living with depression and anxiety is like to anyone who doesn't understand or hasn't experienced it before is to imagine a weight pulling your body down, so heavy that every day you have to summon up the strength to push against it and to lighten the impact.
I was told that my reason for being depressed was “pathetic”, and that I “had plenty of things going” for myself, but depression doesn’t work like that. It doesn’t look at what you have going on in life and avoid you because it doesn’t want to ruin that.
I wanted the people I care for and confided in to open their hearts and minds to understand that depression isn’t a choice. I didn’t want to be depressed - nobody wants to be depressed.
I remember the first time I vocalised and admitted the fact that I was struggling with depression and anxiety. Following seven years of sporadic periods of chronic anxiety and panic attacks induced by both smoking marijuana as a teenager and my parents’ break up, I was at university, 22 and suffering a reactive bout of depression triggered by the break-up of a tumultuous relationship.
I am 32 years old, a creative director and brand founder of global beauty brand Isle of Paradise and I am a comedy podcast co-host (yes, some people think I’m funny!). I have a loving partner, a great relationship with my parents and tonnes of amazing friends. I am happy. I’m not lucky. I’ve worked hard for this life, I’ve been nothing but grateful along the way and I haven’t had a life this smooth in the past – trust me.
It’s interesting trying to explain the agony that depression brought into my life to people who are not depressed. I find that people who haven’t fought that particular battle have difficulty understanding what I mean when I say I was not in physical pain per se but I was in excruciating torment nonetheless. Physically, I’m sure my body showed no signs of peril.