What a day to ask me about something I feel strongly about! It is World Mental Health Day and I could talk about this all day!
I have suffered from depression twice in my life. My first bout was brought on when I was going through some heavy stuff in life. I had a lot of emotions that my brain couldn’t process and so it decided to shut down for a while.
Depression is a mental health disorder which affects people differently. I lost interest in the world and stayed in bed a lot. I had the notion that life was better when I was asleep – except it wasn’t. The mind can play cruel games with you if you feed it the ‘right kind’ of depressing thoughts.
I wanted to be rescued but at the same time I pushed everybody away. Depression is not something that another can fix – it has to be done by the person who is dealing with it.
For the longest time I felt like a failure. Depression had much more of a stigma back then than it does today. Countless people told me to just “go and get on with things.” They couldn’t understand why I was laying in bed all day. People thought I was lazy more than anything else!
Bring your pain out into the open
I found it hard to talk about my thoughts and feelings back then so I didn’t. It must have made me a nightmare to deal with! I remember my boyfriend at the time described living with me as a rollercoaster. He said he didn’t know whether he was going to come home to a ‘normal Sandra’ or a sad/angry (insert any emotion) Sandra. As a result our relationship broke down and I was forced to confront my mental health issues as a result of being alone.
I took myself to the doctors and began a course of anti-depressants. At first I was hard on myself because I felt like I had failed. Now that I understand what they do I realise it is no different from taking a pill for the flu. They help to level out ‘rollercoaster’ emotions.
I spent a good six months working on myself and eventually came off of the tablets feeling so much happier in myself. That didn’t mean that I was now forever cured of depression however as I relapsed again a few years later. Life decided it was time to take a few more swipes at me but that time it was different!
“Self-care is how you take your power back” – Lalah Delia
The second time I was aware of it. I noticed the same patterns of behaviour taking shape and I took myself to the doctors again. I didn’t beat myself up for taking medication the second time around – I knew it was an aid to help me gain clarity.
By this time, mental health was beginning to get peoples attention. I noticed a lot more empathy from people. My job were supportive whilst I took several months off to recover – and recover I did. I got through my difficult life situation by forcing myself to reach out to friends/family/professionals.
That second round of depression was harder in many ways but I was so much stronger having survived the first round. As I mentioned in yesterdays Blogtober, “The best way out is always through.” It doesn’t matter what that looks like for you – just don’t give up!
You are not alone
The hardest things about any mental illness is dealing with it alone. Our ‘Monkey Minds‘ can be really cruel.
If anybody reading this is suffering – be kind to yourself. Reach out to somebody. I promise you’re not alone. A burden shared is a burden halved. My door/phone/email is always there if you need it!