Depression—Ashamed and Alone!
Do we confess and become stigmatised?
The human mind is amazing, unparalleled, and fragile, posing as the answer to all our dreams, lulling us into a false sense of security, and all the while, capable of destroying a life.
Complex and unique, everyone’s existence depends on how they perceive the world through their mind’s eye.
There have been hundreds of films created depicting the insane and their purported visions, alternate universes, and creative imaginations, believing the impossible is possible with drastic consequences.
Depression can take many forms and make people act out of character, believe there is no hope, and despair in life. People who are seemingly sensible and in control of their thoughts and actions can transform into paranoid, sad, and withdrawn shadows of themselves, isolated and desperate to find a reason to keep going.
As a previous sufferer of depression, I often see the signs of recurrences, feeling down for no apparent reason, thinking the world is against me, drained, and with no energy to do anything even thinking becoming a draining activity.
On researching the reasons, they are unlimited including the loss of a loved one and grief, the breakdown of relationships, parents who divorce, a traumatic accident, loneliness and isolation, bullying, a long-term illness, and so on.
In my situation, it began with divorce but continued to drag on due to the breakdown of relationships with whom I thought were good friends, members of my family, ending of a job due to this and inevitably the need to leave my home town.
I could say time healed me, my new partner healed me, the forging of new relationships healed me, but I would be lying as I have absolutely no idea what made the difference and what helped me come out of the other side.
How I perceive myself is a major contributor. As soon as I start acting strong, smiling for no reason other than to smile, and helping others, not focussing on myself, that’s when things start to change. This is due to the change in my perspective, my outlook, and my own actions. Only I can make a difference to me.
Realising this and taking action gave me back my control because, when around others, I recognised my demeanour, facial expressions, and words were infectious to the point that the whole environment changed. Helping others to focus on the positive, making them happy, and absorbing the positivity improves our mental health.
My moment of clarity was one day I left the house and got in my car, thinking that I was going to the sea to simply drive into it. However, on my way, I saw an elderly gentleman who lives near me, all wrapped up in his hat and coat, off for a walk by himself, talking to himself. When I reached the shore, I saw a massive container ship heading out to sea and could actually see the men working on the deck, putting in perspective what they had to do for a living, to earn a wage.
From these two experiences, I realised what I had in my family, how small I was in significance to the universe, and how lucky I was to have a well-paid job with people I enjoyed working with in a warm office.
My partner had just let me storm out the house after I started a ridiculous row over nothing and telephoned me twice, receiving a curt answer each time as I did not have any interest in taking to him about what was going on in my head.
I think that’s the worst thing, the feeling of stupidity and embarrassment when you realise how ridiculous you are and need to eat humble pie, but this only comes when you get clarity and everything comes back in perspective. This could take minutes, hours, days, weeks, or years depending on the person, the environment and numerous other factors.
Depression is an illness, a cruel illness and often the silent illness that no one wants the stigma of being related to in case they are thought of as unstable. I know I haven’t admitted this to anyone except one of my very closest friends who I have since stated to that I am well over it.
Am I? Well that’s for me to know, isn’t it?