The hardest part of depression is finding a way to tell people. It is like you are hiding a terrible secret. I think I felt ashamed of myself for getting depressed, like somehow I had failed. That’s what depression does to you: it makes you feel like a terrible failure and worthless. There are still those quite close to me who don’t know or i've told but werent willing to listen that I’ve suffered from crippling depression. I remember that people didn’t know what to say in response, because I am usually the most hyped person in college with a long stretch of friends and no social problems. What happens when mania starts slipping from my grasp? The complete opposite. Welcome to Depression.
I tended to inch my way along to a ‘full disclosure’: How are you? ‘I’ve not been feeling too good’, ‘Not great’, ‘A little down,’ 'ok i guess'.... If people still don’t get the message then they’re a little slow and I would give up. Then of course there are some who don’t want to accept that you are depressed. They say things like “Oh, you’re probably just tired... you’ve been stressed because of college coursework… you’ll feel better tomorrow…” and try to sugar coat my problems by saying things like "you are the most beautiful girl with the whole world infront of her" If you’ve suffered depression you’ll know how hollow these things sound. But, if you’re usually someone who likes to joke around and be socially awesome, people find it hard to accept this new depressed you.

Wow, I’m sounding like a great conversationalist eh? But that was when I could even get myself to speak to people at all. In the throes of my worst times of depression, I couldn’t face seeing people at all or even speaking to them on the phone. Why? Because it feels as if you are not you anymore, you’re just a hollow shell. You can’t be bothered with yourself anymore so why should other people? 

How can you possibly tell someone that you feel like you want to die? How can you describe the arctic winter wipe out blizzard that has become your headspace? But, I tried, I made a pact with myself not to hide if possible, to talk to friends on the phone, to chat about the football, because sometimes a tiny ray of sunshine in the shape of a story, a joke, an opinion, a kind word, would, just for a nano-second, help me forget that I was depressed. And that tiny moment is precious.

I was very lucky in that I was able to tell a now close friend in college. She's just like me. Its so nice and comforting to know that someone is literally going through rough patches as you. Through this comes better understanding and easier explanations. Something I've wanted fot God knows how long. 

Incredibly, I am able to carry on studying. I was very lucky in that I was able to tell a close friend at college what I was going through. They listened and they didn’t judge. They knew that I was often on auto pilot, that I was operating at only about 30% of capacity, that I’d suddenly developed a need to go outside and smoke several times a day, but they didn’t treat me any differently than they ever had. Well that’s not true. They treated me with even more kindness, respect and caution than ever before. But it was difficult. I’m a student. Independence is something I wanted, and now its hard to take control.

With depression, telling people is a personal choice. I think it is important to keep talking and to be honest, particularly with people closest to you. Of course no one should feel ashamed of being depressed (even though you do) but it’s probably wise to choose your confidants carefully at work or school or college in the same way as you might decide to share other very personal things about yourself only with certain people.

Now, seeing as I've just entered depression, I'm trying to take the optimistic route of looking forward to getting out the other side, and as I make my way towards recovering I’ll be certainly more careful to look beyond other peoples responses of ‘Not so good’ ‘a bit down’ etc and just check that they are ok. It doesn’t feel like it at the time but depression gives you an insight into suffering which can only help you become a kinder and more understanding person.
 


madu
24/12/2012 7:28pm

You write so clearly with so much thought to every sentence. Pleasure to read and its helped me so much these past couple of days.

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