If there’s one thing you shouldn’t do when feeling depressed is to apologize for it. Depression is an illness not a choice. You will often hear people tell you that there other people worse off than you or the are people out there with real serious illnesses. Saying these things only makes sufferers feel guilty as depression is a complicated and lonely illness that’s hard to explain to those who have never suffered or lived with someone who suffers. Yes there are people worse off and I feel for them but at the end of the day it isn’t my fault nor does it stop my depression or anyone else’s. Yes there are people with serious illnesses such as cancer but, depression can also be dangerous and serious. Who the hell can say how depression affects different individuals ? It can make you Ill, it can cause weight loss and it can also kill. If you tell someone you have cancer people are very sympathetic but tell them you have depression they are more likely to roll their eyes at you. Suicide is a huge problem that sadly is growing. Who do you talk to ? Who can you trust with your deepest and darkest intimate secret ? Can you feel safe knowing you have someone to put your trust into? I would never tell any cancer sufferer to cheer up or pull yourself together or think positive or smile it may never happen ! And I certainly wouldn’t roll my eyes at them and undermine the seriousness of their illness, so why do it to people with mental health issues ? Why tell someone who is being brave enough to confide in you be made to feel like an idiot or someone who is after attention or to get out of work ? You should never be ashamed because you suffer with this monster because it isn’t just in your head, it’s real , it’s terrifying and it can kill.
To be honest if I tell someone I suffer with depression I still feel ashamed every now and then. A lot of the time you can’t even put your finger on what is making you feel like that so many people find it hard to ever open up. Just because you haven’t suffered a loss or been through something traumatic it doesn’t mean you are making it up and it certainly doesn’t mean that you Should feel bad for having what people say “nothing to be depressed about “. Depression happens, you don’t choose to have it and believe me it hurts like he’ll. It isn’t a choice just like cancer isn’t. Sometimes when I’m feeling my worse I just want to band my head against the wall to to stop the God awful exhausting torment that pounds in my head. The physical pain can be nothing compared to the indescribable lonely pain pounding your brain. Sometimes I feel like screaming or scratching the skin off my face so please, do not tell people that there are other illnesses much worse than depression. If I have a headache I can take asprin, if I have an awful episode of anxiety or depression I have to lump it and ride it through, until it eases off. And then it happens again and again and around and around we go in a vicious circle of indescribable torment and pain.
I’m not trying to say which illnesses are worse but I will say that the stigma attached to mental health issues adds to what is a serious problem and can cause people to commit suicide. Try telling the families who have lost loved ones to suicide due to depression that this illness isn’t real. Try to have a bit more compassion and understanding for those who suffer because mental health issues do not discriminate and it could be you one day that is in a deep dark pit of despair that no one wants to be in, a place you thought you would never be. Wouldn’t you want someone there for you who is on your side and understanding without telling you to get a grip or get over it ?
It’s hard not to feel guilt or shame as a sufferer and its hard not to feel weak. It’s easy to believe you are a burden and people are better off without you because you can’t see depression. It looks invisible so as you can’t see it it’s easy to see why people do not understand or show and empathy it’s easy to assume there’s nothing wrong with you. Depression is very real whether it’s seen or not and it can be relentless to the point of causing one to take the final step of suicide. It’s extremely sad and such a waste of life. I feel sad that suicide has taken so many. I feel sad that depression can take away your life so you are merely existing. I feel sad that there isn’t enough support to help those to cope preventing them from enjoying some of the wonderful things life can offer. It’s saddens me that for some suicide was the only answer when it could have been prevented. The families left behind are left to deal with a devastating loss and merely expected to carry on with no support. It isn’t right. And it’s a situation that will only get worse with all the cuts to funding affecting the most vulnerable. Since I have started this blog I have truly listened to what people have had to say. For some having a loved one commit suicide is an unbearable loss that isn’t supported enough. People who live with sufferers have to one to talk to about it and face the constant worry of wondering how to help or the constant fear of thinking they could lose the person they love. It’s a huge burden and again there’s no support for them. Depression doesn’t just effect the sufferer,it effects those closest to them to. At times it can feel impossible to live with so I will never give up trying to help those who need as much support as possible, including myself.