“Depression” – everyone has an opinion on it, but unless you suffer with it you can never really understand it. But I wanted to explain my story, not for sympathy, I don’t want it, but I want people to try and understand what it is, how we feel, more importantly I want you to recognise the signs and help someone else.
Being in your 20s is already a challenging time, your trying to figure out what you want to do with your life, you may be dating and you are coming to terms with yourself as an individual. But all of this and an extra black cloud hanging over you is tough.
So you might ask how does a girl in her twenties, with a uni degree, masters, a job and an amazing family have depression? Well it’s a bit like the chicken and the egg story, I don’t know whether I had depression first and then developed an eating disorder or the other way around but ever since I was 15/16 I’ve suffered with an eating disorder, something I’ve only recently admitted and started to get help with. So as you can imagine being in denial for 10+ years messes with your head.
If you met me, you wouldn’t know I have depression, most people don’t know. I don’t walk around with a permanent frown, I’m bubbly, I love to laugh but like everyone, I have good days and bad days, sometimes my bad days can turn into a bad week. I can’t tell you what triggers my bad days, because I don’t know myself. I could be fine one minute and then the next I have an overwhelming feeling that I can’t cope, I’m overcome with anxiety and I feel suffocated.
Some days, I wake up with this feeling and I can struggle to bring myself to get up out of bed, all I want to do is hide away from the world and be in the quiet. If I manage to get myself out of bed, I spend all day at my desk distracted, anxious and more often that I like I’m reduced to tears, the reason? I have no idea, it just happens. I lose appetite and painful headaches have become a normality. No, I can’t just snap out of it, no I can’t just “be happy” I don’t have that luxury. I want to be fine, I just don’t know how to. Instead the word “fine” has become my most used word, “I’m fine honestly” it protects myself and the ones I love from how I really feel.
See, the thing is when you have depression you spend 24 hours, 7 days a week inside your head. You don’t shut off; you over analyse and question everything about anything. My mind works at a million times per hour, it makes me anxious, fidgety, some days I can’t concentrate and sleeping 8 hours a night is now a thing of the past. I constantly have to be doing something, just to keep my mind distracted, I can’t sit down and watch television for hours on end because I can’t concentrate for that long. Which is why I go to the gym twice a day, I work 8 hours a day I come home and study. I’m sure running my body down to distract my mind will catch up with me one day, but until then it’s the only way I know how to get on with each day.
Although some days I would wish for anything to be “normal”, not to think the way I do, to be able to sleep, to be able to be in social situations without over analysing everything and dating? Well that’s just a no go for me. But, let’s get one thing clear, having depression doesn’t mean you hate everything about your life…it’s not that dramatic. I have a great life, I’m grateful for a lot of things and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it.
I have depression, it’s not who I am it’s just a part of me.
I’m not ashamed of it anymore, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. It makes us stronger. I’m learning to live with it; with the help of the gym and music I have time where I’m not in my head.
For anyone reading this who feels the same, you aren’t on your own, I know you may feel like no one understands but there will always be people that do. Find enjoyment in something you love doing and stick with it