Having a mental illness is just as serious as having a physical illness. If you haven’t had a mental illness then it’s really hard to understand how someone with a mental illness is feeling. This is where empathy comes in.
I’ve had mental health problems for as long as I can remember really. They’re not limited to anyone. Every single human being on this planet can have a mental illness. From any walk of life. Every 1 in 4 people suffer from mental health problems in their lifetimes in the UK. So don’t think that you’re immune. If you show any symptoms then I urge you to please get help. Don’t suffer in silence. There are billions of people just like you, and you can’t get help.
I want to let anyone reading this who has or thinks they have mental health issues to know that you are not alone, and there is help out there whenever you feel like you need it. I’ll post helplines and websites at the end of my post.
Symptoms of depression- Depression has many symptoms, but these symptoms are also symptoms for numerous other conditions, so please look in to these with an open mind, but also seek medical help advice too.
Low mood: I believe this is the most obvious symptom. Now, this doesn’t mean you’re feeling a little sad today because something didn’t go right. Low mood means no motivation, or feeling so sad you almost feel empty. Of course being sad means low mood, and yes it can be a symptom of depression. But, a one-off doesn’t necessarily mean depression.
Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of self harm: If you ever think about killing yourself on a serious note, then please get help. It’s a permanent solution for a temporary situation. Much to some peoples belief, it’s not cowardly either. Physically going through with suicide takes a lot. It’s incredibly draining to think about and no one should ever have to think that it is the only solution to something. Also self harm comes in many forms. It’s not just cutting, it can come in the form of doing something to yourself knowing it’ll cause you discomfort or pain. Like starving yourself for example. It’s a big spectrum, but please seek medical help if you experience any of these things.
No enjoyment in things you used to like doing: This can cause you to stop activities you love, or hanging out with friends too. When you have depression you can lose motivation and interest in doing things. It’s a painful process because half the time you actually want to do them, you just can’t. Without actually going through it it can be quite hard to understand. I’ve heard ‘well just do it if you want to’, but I can’t. I just can’t do it.
Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much: Sleep plays such a huge part in the stability of your mental health. Not sleeping enough can cause you to be irritable and unpleasant to be around which fucks with your mental health. But then sleeping too much makes you feel useless and lazy. Trust me, I’ve felt both.
There are more symptoms of depression and you can find them on the mind.org website.
What it’s like to live with depression- Living with depression is a really hard thing to talk about. Mainly because not everyone experiences the same thing. But, for me, I find it actually really hard. I don’t show it often, but I sometimes really struggle. It can be hard to function with daily tasks like showering, work, eating, basically anything other than sleeping. Because when you’re asleep you don’t have to deal with things, right?
Last October I had to quit my job due to my anxiety and depression. Leaving my job gave me a form of relief because I knew I could start working on trying to get better. But at the same time I also felt useless, like I was letting everyone around me down. Also I started to think that I would have no future if I couldn’t work and get experience, or save money for myself. I still often think like that, yet whenever I think about getting a job I can get physically sick. Its a vicious cycle.
I know I don’t have it as bad as some people, but that doesn’t stop it from being hard. And you should stop comparing your struggles and hardships with other people. It’s not going to do you any good. I promise.
Living with depression and anxiety is really hard. I’m not going to sugar coat this post because I know that if I do then I wont be helping anyone.
Depression isn’t glamorous. At all. Some people paint this picture of depression being a young girl crying alone in her room. That is so not the case. I can go days without leaving my room. I’m irritable with the smallest of things. I argue with my Mum. I wont shower. I’ll either binge eat or starve myself as a punishment. I’ve self-harmed. Half the time, I feel absolutely nothing. No emotions or feelings, I just feel totally empty. Sometimes I wont sleep and other times I can sleep for nearly 20 hours a day. When I’m in my low moods I know I’m an incredibly unpleasant person to be around.
As I mentioned in my personal mental health journey blog post (you can read here) I have ruined a lot of relationships with some really great friends due to my depression and anxiety. I get so paranoid that people don’t like me, or they’re talking behind my back. I do this thing where I cut off relationships before they can, whether they’re going to or not. I can’t help it. It’s like the depressive side of me is a hell of a lot more powerful than the logical side of me, and it controls what I say and do.
Self diagnosis – I thoroughly approve of self diagnosis. You know yourself better than anyone. If you can’t self diagnose yourself anyway, then how can you know if something is wrong?
When I was growing up I knew something wasn’t right with me, but whenever I went to the doctors I always felt like I wasn’t being taken seriously.
I first went to see a doctor about how I was feeling when I was about 15/16 and I did get sent to counselling but my counsellor was the worst. Everything she said was just so patronising and never actually told me anything new, she just repeated everything I said back to me. Like, lady, you’re just telling me things I already know.
But I didn’t give up! After 3 different counsellors and one suicide attempt, I was finally diagnosed with depression! Yay. At least now I knew I was right about not being completely right. Of course I knew, but it felt good hearing it come out of the mouth of a professional.
I know for a fact I have Bipolar disorder. I show all the signs for it, plus it runs in my family. Yet the doctors wont have any of it whenever I mention it. But I KNOW I have it. So if you want to self diagnose yourself, then do it. You know what you’re thinking and how you feel, no one else. Don’t wait until you have it come out of a doctors mouth, if you feel like you have it and want help then go for it!
How I deal with having depression and anxiety- I believe I’ve had depression and most definitely anxiety for a very, very long time. From childhood. I had a funny childhood, I wont get in to it because it doesn’t just involve me. And I can’t ever remember a time where I didn’t feel like a huge waste of space.
Since I was about 10 years old I’ve really struggled with body image issues. I had bulimia when I was in secondary school, and I now currently have an eating disorder too.
So, what I’m saying is that I’ve had problems for a really long time so they’ve become part of me. It’s something I face everyday, and have done for about 12 years.
Over the past couple years I’ve definitely learned to control myself and how I act a lot better. I’ve learnt to communicate with people and let them know how I’m feeling and let them know I may be M.I.A for a few days or weeks (I do this often to clear my head and have some ‘me’ time).
I feel like this post is just me rambling about issues and problems I’ve had. But it’s nearly 4 AM so I’m really tired and can’t sleep (depression symptom) and I’m feeling super inspired to just write and write.
Mental health is something I am really passionate about. I really want you to get help if you need to. I’m working on myself.
Here are some helplines you can call if you are in need of any help:
Thank you for reading and I hope it’s helped anyone reading. Or it’s helped you so you can help someone you know with mental health issues.