*I’m no expert, but with the recent news about Robin Williams death, it encouraged me to write this post. He was depressed, and while some may not understand what that means or how it feels it’s often an illness which is overlooked. People automatically think if you tell someone to snap out of it, they will be happy. Or the one which irritates me the most is ‘How selfish’. If we were all able to visit each other’s minds, would we treat people the same?
Battling your own mind, most of the time is a silent illness, because how can you look at someone and know whether or not they are suffering from depression.
According to statistics 1 in 4 of us will experience mental health problems at some point in our lives. So if you yourself are experiencing a mental health problem whether it be depression or anxiety, just know that you are not alone. There are support groups and charities which can help.
It’s not the easiest thing to speak about, because how can you explain a pain which is not physical.
I asked a few people anonymously to share their experiences and how they overcome their feelings:
1. “It wasn’t until my mid twenties when I realised I had depression, It was awkward because I had no one to turn to. My friends and family thought it would just blow over and that I was just upset about something small. A few years on and I know how to deal with my mind better. I exercise on a regular basis, spend time alone to reflect on how far I have come.”
2. “I would go to work and then come home and straight to bed. I wasn’t interested in talking to people because I thought I was contagious. If I was unhappy why would anyone else want me around. Working a 9-5 job was difficult enough so I would lie about back problems so I wouldn’t have to go in. I have tried to overcome this, but it doesn’t happen overnight. You have to understand the smallest things can upset you. But now I try and relax more and do what I enjoy, most of the time that involves my partner and I going away to the countryside. Find what makes you smile and go for it, at the end of the day you have to look after yourself first.”
3. “I’ve had bouts of depression since I was very young, but my worst depression came when I started getting panic attacks and becoming housebound. I felt like a failure, as my world got smaller and smaller. I would lie in bed, unable to get out, thinking that I was supposed to be at university, but not even having the energy to shower or change out of my pyjamas. I felt ashamed and alone, especially because I am from a minority background, where it is believed you can either “snap out” of these moods, or that you need to be hidden away from gossipers within the community to stop them finding out, until you recover from this “curse”.
I hope this post has helped anyone experiencing depression, even if it is just one person somewhere somehow reading this, I hope you know you are not alone.
I have listed a few organisations if you are looking for support: