Introductions

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.

“Whatever you do in life will be insignificant…”

Just a Guy

To quote Rob Pattinson quoting Ghandi in the movie Remember Me: Gandhi said that whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it’s very important that you do it because nobody else will. Like when someone comes into your life and half of you says: “You’re nowhere near ready”. And the other half says: “Make her yours forever”. Michael, Caroline asked me what would I say if I knew you could hear me. I said: “I do know. I love you. God, I miss you, and I forgive you.”

First off, this is a great movie and Ghandi is awesome. So, look into both of them. 

Secondly, I just ended my previous post with a very bad paraphrase of the above Ghandi quote… and I sat here thinking about it after I wrote it, and I am not sure how much I agree with either Rob Pat or Ghandi……

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When love is not enough…

Barefoot Bellringing

As a depressive I was shocked and saddened at the death of Robin Williams.  I was disgusted with a lot of the media coverage and especially of the term “commit suicide”.  To use the phrase “commit suicide” is to incur that a crime was committed.  He didn’t break the law.  Robin Williams died from side effects of deep depression.  I read a great deal of articles that talked about how “selfish” he was, because he took his own life.

There is no doubt in my mind that Robin Williams was loved.  He was loved by his wife and family, his co-workers and his fans. The fact that he struggled with depression and addiction all of his adult life meant that he found it difficult to love himself.

What most people don’t understand is that depressives are often great actors.  We force ourselves to clean ourselves up, pull ourselves together and…

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Loving an Eeyore

RillyRoos - The Whole RillyNess

I spotted the meme above the other day and it totally changed my whole outlook on living with depression. I don’t mean my own depression either, but the depression of a loved one. 

Depression is an illness that doesn’t just affect the one diagnosed with it. You try all you can to get them to ‘shake it off’ or ‘let it go’ and many a time you feel like pulling your hair out in frustration. This in turn gets you down , after years of encouraging and coaxing you feel like giving up yourself, and deep down if you look closely you probably have given up lots of times. 

Simple things like, when the loved one suffers with anxiety and agoraphobia, and they find it difficult to go out. After years and years of asking them to go out and being told no, you stop asking and just go on your merry way…

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Weekly Update

I’ve had a pretty tough week. My anxiety has skyrocketed for some reason unknown to me. I’ve been extremely tearful and have had many suicidal thoughts. But I’m still trying to keep hopeful and positive. It fucking sucks at the moment but I’m not going to give up. I still think things will get better eventually. I hope other people out there feeling the same way feel this too!!

An Anxious Life

There’s a big difference between being anxious and suffering from an anxiety disorder. For some people, going for a job interview or on a date or meeting new people can be sources of anxiety and this is perfectly natural. However, having an anxiety disorder means that the nerves go beyond mere butterflies in the stomach. It can affect how we live our lives, what we are able to do and where we can go.

 

Being an anxious person, I feel that anxiety and anxiety disorders are often confused. When I tell people I have anxiety, they seem to think that I mean I’m socially awkward (okay, I totally am but it’s still not the same thing :p) or just prefer my own company or am a bit quirky when it comes to germs or something. None of this is right. Anxiety is a huge problem and one that is often downplayed or overlooked by people who have never experienced it. While I can’t speak for everyone who suffers from anxiety, this is just a few ways that anxiety affects me.

 

No Job

I haven’t been able to work for months now. During my university years, I was able to hold down two jobs while studying twenty hours a week. I did work experience in professional, well-established companies in central London and was happy networking with new people.

Since my initial ‘episode’, I have been unable to keep even a part time job. Some days I can’t leave the house because the feeling of being anxious is so overwhelming, despite knowing the people I work with for years. Not having a job means I don’t get out of the house as much and have very little financial independence.

I am lucky enough to get help from the government, but the amount is miniscule and covers only a food shop per week. I have had to move in with my mum who cannot afford to support me and I am no longer able to have much of a social life because I have no money to do things. Having no job makes me feel guilty and ashamed as I was a very independent person before and I now have to rely on others to take care of me. I also hope that people don’t think I am lazy or just don’t want to work.

 

Panic attacks

For those of you who have never experienced a panic attack, it basically feels as though a team of rugby players has decided to sit on your chest and refuses to get up. Your heart speeds up, your lungs don’t feel as if they can pull in enough air, your head spins, you feel sick and disorientated. When I get a panic attack, I find it hard to rationalise the fact that, yes I am breathing and this is just a psychological reaction. I think that I am experiencing a heart attack or that I have some other illness.

It is extremely embarrassing for me to get panic attacks in public which means that I limit the amount of time I spend away from home. Panic attacks are terrifying in a way that I don’t think can ever adequately be described until someone experiences it themself. Just imagine someone shoving a pillow over your face and telling you to try and breathe because that’s pretty much what it’s like.

 

Low self-esteem

Since my anxiety has gotten worse, my self-esteem has plummeted. While I have never been the kind of person who is super confident, I was content within myself before my episode. Now I feel useless, ashamed of myself, unable to do anything and afraid that this is how I will always be. My future feels hopeless and I find myself comparing myself to those around me who manage to do things that seem so simple, like go to work or meet new people, and getting annoyed at myself for not being able to do the same. This low self-esteem then fills into my anxiety so that a vicious cycle has been established.

 

 Paranoid thoughts

Things that don’t register with other people become a huge deal for me. For example, a noise at night instantly sets my mind to believing that there is someone trying to get into my house to kill me and my family. I will literally not sleep for the rest of the night and will constantly check the house for intruders.

I have to check my front and back door several times throughout the night because I don’t trust my family to lock them right. I also can’t leave the house without a rape whistle, rape alarm, fully-charged phone and at least thirty pounds emergency cash. I won’t leave my house after dark unless it is to someone else’s house and they will drive me. I struggle to use public transport and constantly fear things that are highly unlikely to affect me, such as terrorism, or unrealistic things, like supernatural activity. These kinds of thoughts plague me every single day and night and it is literally so exhausting to be so scared all of the time.

 

So the next time you meet someone with anxiety, take a moment to remember that this is perhaps more than what you perceive it to be and try to understand that they might come across as a bit weird or unusual to what you are used to.

 

I would love to hear from other people affected by anxiety of course to see how your experience compares to mine!

 

Much love x

this tree

Shack Life Diary

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her spinster hands
reach fully empty
yet delicately bold
imploring life, death

orange dreaming
in the fall of nature
a survivor from the poorest soil
roots were spoiled, heaped upon

her spine amongst the tree line
bent bitter in the chill
of relentless winds
wincing at the blows
and yet there she still grows

but how thinly pale is her inhale
her breath
imploring life, death,
life, death

how thinly pale she grows

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