Wednesday, 3 February 2016
Depression: the horrible fog of darkness
So I was very unsure about doing this post but I realised it may help one person, and if it does one then it is definitely worth writing. Mental health has been on the rise for years now. Whether that's because the stigma isn't as bad or people are just more aware or the result of all this technology it has it's good and bad points right? So I thought I would share with you how I've been dealing with Depression and how I cope with the bad days with the good. I'm thinking about doing an anxiety post as well depending on how this post is received. All I ask before you comment is please remember this is my experience and that might not be the same as everyone else. If you have a friend or family member going through something similar I'll write a little at the end on my advice on how to approach them but bottom line is - get support. I'll explain what I mean by that later on.
If you want an in depth explanation of depression and symptoms click here so it takes you to the MIND website. But everyone's experiences are different, one size does not fit all. Here is the definition from MIND:
'In its mildest form, depression can mean just being in low spirits. It doesn’t stop you leading your normal life, but makes everything harder to do and seem less worthwhile. At its most severe, major depression (clinical depression) can be life-threatening, because it can make you feel suicidal or simply give up the will to live.'
For me personally there wasn't something specific that happened that made me start developing symptoms. I did have a lot going on but no more than what the usual person has to deal with, I just wasn't coping well with it. I remember the first symptom that was really evident to me was I really didn't want to go out. Any social events I really wasn't interested in going on. Or I'd go and regret going after I got home. Had no idea why, I just wasn't happy. I would finish college and just want to get home to bed as soon as possible, I felt that way for a long time before I realised how much it was effecting me. Another major change for me personally was I was getting very irritated at the tiniest things. I was also getting really teary - which I can say is not like me at all. Again I was just not happy. I think the point where it got unbearable for me is when I couldn't sleep. I was like a walking zombie, I wouldn't sleep at night. I'd be awake all day avoiding social contact with everyone. I just felt incredibly isolated but yet when friends asked how I was I replied with 'I'm fine.' The way I can describe it is feeling the absolute lowest of the low. Like I was in this sinking puddle which I couldn't get out of. Like a black thick fog of darkness that I couldn't escape from. It's not something I would ever wish upon anyone. There was a point I was suicidal as well. I think it took me absolute months before I got help.
For me particularly it was when the doctors gave me tablets to help me sleep. It was a random day that I just decided I couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't keep feeling like this. Since then I forced myself out - I spoke to some really close friends. Just talking about how I was feeling was such a big relief. I took it day by day and I started feeling a bit better. I was and I am stubborn so I didn't seek help about it from a doctor. At the time Connexions was still around and I saw a counselor for about 7/8 sessions and that really helped. (I've had bad experiences with counselors from when I was younger so I was hesitant, but I've learnt it just takes time to find who you're comfortable with and that's fine too). I still have very bad days but I just remember back to that point I was at my lowest and how I never want to be back there. I don't think I've kicked depression as I don't believe it's something that can ever completely go away. I feel a lot more in control though. That's a brief overview anyway, I can go more into depth but it would take a long time to explain.
So if you know someone who is going through depression or you think you have here's the advice I would give.
For those with depression:
Remember you're not alone - There are so many people battling with depression and the great thing about the internet is that you're now exposed to people who you can talk to. If you're uncomfortable talking face to face then it really does help to talk to someone.
Things will get better, it takes time though - There is no quick fix. Everything does take time, it's okay to have days where you can't physically deal with the world. Just remember that feeling will not stay there forever. You will find happiness in moments again, and when you do hopefully you will try to maintain it.
It's okay to ask for help - I know I was very stubborn and haven't had medical advice on tablets itself or taken any antidepressants, however, I have friends who have and it has made a huge difference. I do believe you have to be ready to accept help for it to work. I was lucky to see an amazing counselor from Connexions but I do wish cognitive behavioral therapy was more common when I was struggling. I know it's very British to not accept help and think you can do it all yourself. And you probably can but it is okay to ask for help and to accept it.
You can be happy again - Everyone is different and with mental health nothing is a quick fix. You can get back to feeling happy and content. That's not to say you won't have bad days where you just want to pack it in but that's fine.
Talk - This is the most important. I think if I didn't reach out to friends I wouldn't have made it through. People care.
You're a survivor - You're here today. You're still fighting, and you're amazing. It may not feel that way but you are. There are people who care, and you are valuable to this world.
For those who have a friend/family who are suffering:
They may try push you away - This was my default setting when I feel terrible. I push people away, but it only makes me more isolated. Try to be there as much as you can, even if they are pushing you away.
Give them a hug - Or let them cry or get angry or frustrated. Whatever they need, give them a chance to release the bad energy. It could make a huge difference.
It will take time - Again it's more just be there for someone. It can be exhausting on you but they will appreciate it.
The way I personally cope is locking myself away for the evening, crying it out. Letting myself get worked up but it never feels as bad the next day.
I'm no expert in depression, only know what I have faced and seen others face. Sorry this wasn't the most cheerful of topics but it does need to be spoken about more in my opinion. Thank you so much for reading, and if you do want to reach out please do talk to me! I hope this has helped someone at least, everyone faces different obstacles but it is possible to feel better. You're all amazing!
p.s I haven't proof read this in the fear I won't post it so if there's any mistakes I apologize!
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