Living With Depression: You Are Not Alone
What living with depression for 17 years has taught me.
Having lived with depression since I was about fifteen years old, I have been incredibly lucky. "Lucky" may sound like an odd word to use in regards to depression, but I have been through and dealt with a hell of a lot and I am still here. This in turn has taught me countless valuable lessons about life and mental health.
The very first lesson I learned about depression is that most people will do anything they can to keep it quiet. Whether they have it or someone they know, they don’t want to talk about it. We have all been guilty at some point of thinking that if we ignore a problem it will go away, but it never does. If we ignore a problem it gets worse and worse until we can’t cope any more.
Mental health issues are hushed up as they always have been. People don’t want to talk about them because society seems to say “if you have a mental health problem then you are crazy” but you’re not.
And whilst talking about mental health issues may not cure them, it will make those that live with them feel better. Feel better about speaking out and seeking help and feel better knowing that they are not alone.
In this series I aim to cover some of the aspects of depression and the ways they can be dealt with and to encourage people to talk about depression. There’s nothing wrong with having depression, it can happen to anyone and the very fact that people don’t want to talk about it could mean that someone you know is going through it right now.
I’m not an “expert” on depression and I don’t claim to know everything about it. Everyone’s experience with depression is different. I have just lived with it for a long while and I want to help anyone else that is struggling if I can.
Be honest with yourself.
Coping with depression can be an incredibly frightening time, you may be experiencing thoughts and feelings that are completely new to you and the chances are you will feel alone and frightened. But when it comes to coping with depression, one of the most important things to remember is that you are not alone. There are people that you can talk to and people that care about you, no matter how alone or lonely you might feel, someone really does care.
But before you can even think about admitting it to anyone else, you need to admit it to yourself. You need to acknowledge that you have a problem with the way you are feeling and that you can't cope. I know how hard this may sound but if you do not do this then you can not move forward. If you do not truly admit how you feel to yourself then you will be living in denial and nobody will ever be able to help you.
But before you admit it just let me clear up a few things.
- Just because you are depressed does not mean you are crazy.
- It does not mean you are weak or that you have a weak mind.
- It does not mean that you will have to be on medication or in therapy for the rest of your life.
- It happens to a hell of a lot more people than you think.
- You are not alone.
Seeking help for your depression can be hard, but it is something that you need to do in order to survive. If you are feeling depressed at all then I would highly recommend that you speak to a doctor or a medical professional as soon as you can. The sooner you see someone, the sooner you might start to feel able to cope again.