Depression is something that has hit the world for years. Some people are outspoken about it, and others are ashamed of it.
Stats show that 1 in 4 people suffer from severe depression. A few people have said that I should speak my rollercoaster story. For a while, I held back, but looking at it now, I want to share my story and help others do the same. There are so many different routes when it comes to depression. It understands what level of severity it is people have. Years ago, if you were said to have any form of mental disorder, many families would have been ashamed, disgusted, and in many cases would have the person sent away to a facility.
I’ve encountered a few people who have dealt with this horrible illness. Some would say they can speak openly about it and feel that they have officially admitted that they are dealing with this they feel so much better. Others close themselves in from the world and hide the truth.
I, for one, did that for quite some time, and if it ever did come up in a conversation about my mood, people would say, “Well, come on! Just be happy”. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as that. I was diagnosed with depression back in 2012. It was a year of moving cities, a new job, a new life. Many people didn’t understand how I was acting towards them – being quiet, excluding myself from conversations. I just wanted to be alone and do my own thing.
My confidence dropped, and my social skills were non-existent, much like my appetite. I never spoke to anybody about it as I knew it would just be a case of people not understanding.
Outsiders would see I had friends, great family support, a nice place to live. Why would I have a reason to be unhappy? When I decided it was time to open up about my depression, I got some hurtful comments.
- Just get over it.
- Just be happy
- Have you taken your medication?
- You’re just having a bad day.
- Cheer up
- You have so much going for you! Stop being selfish…
Whenever I get upset or annoyed, people will turn around and say have you managed to take your medication today? Just like a bit of magic pill will make everything disappear, it’s not like that. (Sometimes I wish it was!!)I’m opening up about this because I know so many people are in the same situation, yet we all deal with things in this world entirely differently.
One thing is authentic: you can have all money in the world, have the best career you could have, all of the most incredible friends and family, and yet, you feel so guilty when you’re feeling low. This might come as a shock to some of you, but one thing that did change my life ultimately was the arrival of my ragdoll kitten in 2013 that my boyfriend bought me for Christmas.
It wasn’t just me; I had a beautiful cuddly kitten who depended on me. I wouldn’t change it for the world. She has been an absolute star, and I think people underestimate how powerful pets can be. You don’t need a bunch of medication and therapy. It would help if you surrounded yourself with things that make you happy; it is a work in progress; you will not be cured overnight.
Many people who go through this don’t have someone to talk to or open up to. The terrifying truth is that so many people deal with depression in secret. When you pass people in the street, you see they are wearing nice clothes and seem happy, but 9/10 times it’s a cover. Just because you can’t physically see “depression” doesn’t mean it’s not there.
You’re driving the car; no one is forcing you to take roads you don’t want to take; if you’re unhappy at work, quit and find something that makes you happy, like travel; a new hobby or workshop? Get started! Things will get there, and it will take time, but understanding you are not alone and establishing what makes you unhappy is the first step! The rest works up from there.
What does it feel like to be depressed?
The feeling of depression is more profound, longer and more unpleasant than the short episodes of unhappiness that everyone experiences occasionally. You will notice:
- persistent sadness or low mood
- not being able to enjoy things
- losing interest in life
- finding it harder to make decisions
- not coping with things that used to be easy
- feeling exhausted
- feeling restless and agitated;
- loss of appetite and weight
- difficulties getting to sleep
- loss of sex drive
- thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
Doctors grade depression as mild, moderate, and severe to help them choose treatment. One thing that profoundly helped me (along with my Ragdoll–Pancakes) is my family support. I know how fortunate I am. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same license, and some people have had to take drastic measures for people to realize what’s going on.
It’s all about support, being open and honest, and even if some people don’t understand you 100%, you can feel so much better about yourself for being honest about the situation and being open, and you don’t feel alone. Sometimes, opening up and having someone listen is just what you need.
Facts & Stats on Depression
- People of all ages, backgrounds, lifestyles, and nationalities suffer from major depression, with a few exceptions.
- Ten times more people suffer from major depression now than in 1945.
- The average age of the first onset of major depression is 25–29.
- Up to 80% of suicide deaths are in sufferers of major depression.
- Depression has different triggers. People have a higher risk of depression if they’ve recently been through a stressful life event, if they’ve had depression in the past, or if a close family member has been depressed. Sometimes depression develops without any apparent cause.
- Depressed people might not look depressed. “Depression is a hidden illness,” says Jeremy Coplan, MD, professor of psychiatry at SUNY Downstate in New York. Some people can seem upbeat and cheerful, but on the inside, they’re struggling with the symptoms of depression.
- About a quarter of suicides in the US are felt to be due to undiagnosed or misdiagnosed major depression.
- Depression makes it hard to give. It’s tough to think of other people when you’re wrapped in a prickly blanket of sadness, and all you can think about is your pain. Be proactive and take just a few steps to heal. Try reading a book to help you understand what you are going through and how best to deal with it.
If you or anyone you know needs help, contact the following links below. Or give me a message for a chat. You are not alone.