Ive touched on the subject of depression in a couple of previous posts but i think now is such a relevant time to explain to people how depression can affect my life/my family/my friends.
When I was 17 I was diagnosed with depression and put on various medication to stabilise my moods which did help yes, until i made the worst decision to come off them without any sort of help. On and off over the years Ive been back on them and then when i thought i was ‘better’ i came off them(when really the medication was just doing its job).
I have seen councillors to help me deal with it and to find ways to cope and learn to enjoy my life again. Up until only a few months ago I took part in a 6 week CBT course which focused on strategies to find positives in negative situations. My family are my biggest support system and always have been because they know only too well how it can make you feel.
2015 – as you all know was the year i went travelling. But it was also the year that I found my depression so hard to cope with. When i first began au pairing I was completely honest with my host mum Nicola and explained to her I had just started a new medication. ‘oh, whats that for?’ she asked. To which I then told her everything and it seemed like she really understood. Well shortly after that sure enough I dipped to one of the lowest times Ive had. I did my daily routine with the girls, then spent the night by myself and mostly weekends shut away. Which i can imagine to everyone in that house they were wondering if they had done something, simply because they did not understand. I opened up to Nicola and explained i had no idea why I felt like I did. She then told me over that last week when she was at work she did some research on depression and mental health. She also told me how she used to believe that depression was just something you could snap out of and just be happy. But since I had been there, although probably not the best example to see, she knew it was more than that. And told me she was thankful I had taught her a big lesson. So with that I continued with my medication and stayed on them until I came home, where I then came off them again.
Since I have been home, over the months there has been highs and lows. This makes me believe that depression is something that will always stay with me. Some people still won’t be convinced that it is an illness you have no control over. You dont just wake up one morning and decide it is going to be a bad day. Some days, it feels like it is impossible to get up and face the world, let alone even going to work and put on a happy face. You feel like you just want to hide away, and yet there might not be any reason as to why you feel like this. You just DO. You will have days where you feel like everything and everybody is against you and that nothing you do is right. But its just the awful disease inside your head that makes you believe all the negatives. Fighting is a constant daily battle that nobody else can see or feel but yourself.
Up until a while ago, I never told anybody. My main reason? Fear.
Fear that my friends would leave my side. Fear people wouldn’t believe me because I am always so happy and out going. And most of all fear that I had let everybody down. There have been people who say ‘so many people have it worse’ and yes I know that. But sometimes, when you are having one of your bad days, all you can see is your own demons. Depression can make it seem to others like you are being selfish and that you are only thinking of yourself. I guess in a way it does make us selfish, but it doesn’t make you a bad person.
I want people to know that its okay to talk about your mental health. Its okay to open up about how you’re feeling. If theres one thing I have learnt it is that you are never alone in whatever battle you are fighting.