I am a 21 year old English Literature graduate who loves reading, writing and who frequently develops unhealthy addictions to TV shows. And recently I was diagnosed with depression. Although it is only now that I am beginning to receive treatment for depression, I have struggled with this illness for a long time.
My first experience with this adversary began when I was only 14 years old. As I reached my mid-teens, I started to lose interest in everything around me. I felt isolated and misunderstood, despite being surrounded by loving friends and family. I didn’t feel able to reach out to them then, although I’m sure they would have been supportive if they had known what I was going through. I self-harmed often as a way to escape the overwhelming emotional distress I found myself in most days. I didn’t go into school most days and felt hopeless.
Finally I opened up to my mum who took me to see a doctor. I was diagnosed with depression then but was not offered medication and refused to go to counselling, embarrassed that my feeling a bit “sad” was causing so much fuss. I didn’t understand back then the debilitating illness that depression is and how much damage it can have on a person’s life, although I had had some experience with it (several family members, including my mum, have suffered with depression at some point in their lives).
Since then, I have struggled on and off with episodes of depression. I have managed to lead a fairly normal life, often repressing my feelings of intense sadness and loneliness. But that doesn’t mean I have managed to escape depression’s firm clutches. I had extremely low self-esteem, suffered from sporadic panic attacks and experienced regular bouts of suicidal thoughts.
My next “big” experience with depression didn’t come until very recently. After finally finishing my university course in March this year I experienced a major depressive episode. The stress of university combined with years of battling this illness without any help finally caught up with me. I began crying hysterically every day, refusing to eat and having extreme suicidal thoughts. This led to self-harm and eventually to me losing my part time job. I went to the doctors and have since been getting help, including trying different medications, therapy and alternative treatments.
This blog isn’t an outlet for my own depressive feelings (although I’m sure it will help). Recently, another friend of mine attempted to take his own life. Fortunately he failed and is now receiving the help he so desperately needs. But this event, along with the tragic death of Robin Williams and the shocking ignorance of some towards his sucide, has inspired me to try to make something positive out of my own horrible experience with depression. I hope to help those with little understanding of depression gain some insight of the illness, as well as offer a sharing platform for other people out there who are suffering.
In this blog, I plan to detail my own on-going battle with depression, offer advice on dealing with the difficulties that come with the illness (such as covering self-harm scars) and help to abolish the stigma of mental health problems.