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Thursday, 14 June 2018

Dear Diary: Let’s have a catch up | Depression stigma, don’t let appearances fool you

Whether we like to admit it or not, having a life that looks good, and having a life that actually IS good are two VERY different things majority of the time. 

Don’t let appearances fool you into believing that your life isn’t as amazing just because it isn’t as glossy on the outside- the grass isn’t always greener, let me tell you...

I like to believe that I’m really quite open and honest over on my Instagram- but as much as I like raw, real life honesty, I feel like I should maybe just shut the hell up at times, because I guess the truth can be boring. For this exact reason there are certain occasions when I’ll decide not to share the entire story. 

Let’s take my 21st birthday for instance... 


Yes it was amazing, yes I got spoilt by my absolutely amazing family, and yes the photos I uploaded looked glam, but guess what? It wasn’t all as it seemed- but then when does it ever hey?

I feel extremely guilty admitting that my 21st wasn’t all that great at times as my family really did go above and beyond to see me happy. But the truth is the day before I was so unwell that I couldn’t even lift my head and talk, I’ll be blunt, I felt deathly.

My actual birthday saw no let up either, I enjoyed a lovely meal with my family and friends complete with wine, cake and allll of my favourite food, but as soon as I got home I was screaming in absolute agony. My legs paralysed and locked completely and I couldn’t physically move them, which was quite possibly the most scary moment of my life. My mum had to dress me and look after me, which at 21 is really quite embarrassing. 

*At this moment in time I’m not too sure what is wrong, I potentially have another chronic illness alongside M.E* 

Of course feeling this awful each and every day caused me to spiral into a place I’d never been before. I felt helpless and desperate for this torture to end. 

It caused me to be severely depressed… which I guess is understandable? 

When I asked for advice about anti-depressants from friends, and whether I should start them I pretty much received the same response each time, and it went a little like this: ‘I wouldn’t, you’re young and shouldn’t become reliant on them’ 

I stupidly listened to this advice at first, and looking back it was the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever done. Why the hell was I listening to others who didn’t know how bad I was feeling? I basically didn’t take anti-depressants because of the stigma- no other reason but that. 

That’s right, peoples ignorant views, and lack of information stopped me from seeking help, and this desperately needs to change. 

I fear that this is going to sound majorly dramatic of me but this blogpost is all about honesty and breaking down that stigma, to put it simply: I don’t actually know if I’d be alive today if I hadn’t started taking them. 

Things got so bad that I’d wake up and want to just end it all, I simply couldn’t cope. I’d scream, cry, argue, anything to let out the hurt and anger that i held inside for so long, too long. As shocking as it sounds (and I am a little embarrassed to admit this) I’d stand at the top of the stairs and just want to chuck myself down them in a huge rage, feeling unwell everyday was becoming tiring and I just wanted it over. I felt annoyed with life, why did chronic illness and pain have to control my life so much? 

 I guess everyone’s pain and upset manifests itself in completely different ways and mine just so happened to cause massive anger. 

Depression changed me, it turned me into an absolute monster. It took over my personality, it turned me into the angriest person ever and it made me lose my laid back self. I wish I’d have taken action sooner, but that’s the thing about depression, you don’t think you’re worth it. 

I’d lost my sense of humour, my ability to laugh, I actually didn’t even know the person I had become. Life totally didn’t interest me anymore, I felt too unwell and couldn’t bare the pain any longer, I felt everything and nothing all at the same time: numb, angry, irritated, and argumentative. 

Before this happened to me I was ignorant and thought that you had to be crying in a corner 24 hours a day, rocking back and forth, not even getting out of bed to even be depressed but that really isn’t the case.

The amount of people who are SO shocked when I open up about this is pretty surprising (or not so surprising I guess, we do live in a world that expects you to look unwell, to actually be unwell, of course.) ‘what, why are you depressed and taking medication, your life looks perfect though’. 

Everyone always asks ‘have you moved out yet?’ Or ‘so when are you getting a boyfriend’ etc but never do they stop and ask ‘are you actually happy’. We see achievements and almost forget to think that success doesn’t always equal happiness. 

Admitting that I need help and opening up to others has been a game changer for me, I find myself laughing, and smiling at things I’d have previously wanted to break down over. If I wake up with torturous pain and exhaustion I simply tell myself that tomorrow is a new day and try not to get too worked up over the fact that I will have to lie lifeless for the entire day. 

Of course this isn’t ideal and not exactly how I’d wish to spend my life, but accepting my chronic illness for what it is has helped me to overcome feeling down hugely. Yes it rules my body and life, but I’m in control of my emotions, this won’t break me. 

So to any of you out there who think that you won’t make it though a really bad situation, YOU WILL, it just takes time and a whole load of opening up to others (I’ve found messaging others on Instagram who are going though the same thing has helped me so much, so if you’re reading this and need a cry, please do send me a little message.) 

A problem shared is a problem halved, you got this. 

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