I’ve suffered (is that the right word? Yes it is!) with Mental Health issues since I was 15. I think possibly even longer as I remember a year in Junior school where I kept having feelings of a blanket of sadness around me and unexplained episodes of crying. So anyway…….now in my erm *coughs* late thirties, I think I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that Depression and associated Mental Health issues are part of who I am. Throughout the years I’ve struggled with depression and anxieties which have at times felt crippling.
I remember when I was first diagnosed with depression being incredibly embarrassed about it – it was my ‘dark secret’. What did I have to be depressed about? I’ve learnt along the way that there isn’t always an explanation for it (although sometimes there is). It’s an illness like any other. I’ve always known this so why am I still embarrassed? Even writing this I’m thinking “OMG what will people think of me now?”
But here’s the thing, along the way at school, college and work, I have chosen a select few friends that I have confided in about my history with depression. Each time I’ve told my story it’s surprised me that the responses I have got have never been of horror or disgust, just empathy and acceptance. Friendships have never been changed by my ‘confession’, in fact I think…..I know, it’s made them stronger.
I’ve never really thought about it before but most people I have spoken to about my history, have exchanged their stories of their own experiences with, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, OCD…..the list goes on, in return. It’s got me thinking. Is everyone silently struggling with issues of some sort ? And, if so why aren’t we talking about it more openly?
So here it is, my words of wisdom from a seasoned sufferer (and survivor) of depression. When depression rears its dark, ugly head, pushing you down, feeling like you don’t want to lift your head up off the pillow in a morning, remember, it’s temporary, it will come and it will go, keep telling yourself this.
However, I have found that there are a few things you can do to make the all consuming episodes a little easier.
- Talk to someone……anyone, it helps just to tell someone “I’m having a bad day”.
- Find a GP that you feel comfortable with, finding the right medication and dose is really important, what works for one, doesn’t work for everyone.
- Surround yourself with people who make you happy and avoid the people that bring you down.
- Be kind to yourself and do whatever you need to take you to your happy place.
- Exercise….it doesn’t have to anything strenuous, walking really helps me.
- Make sure you get some rest, sleeping isn’t always possible but relaxing is. This is something I struggle with as a Mum with 2 young children I always feel guilty spending time just focussing on me. Working for Yorkshire Psychotherapy has made me realise you have to do this. So I’m about to start on a journey, I’m going to make time for myself. I’ll keep you posted!
I hope that in sharing my ‘confession’ others too will share their own stories, and consider seeking help for issues that feel too overwhelming to deal with alone.
I’m going to start on a mission to make talking about Mental Health something that is not to be ashamed of, I would love you to join me 😊.