Monday, July 28, 2014

Depression: Not A State of Mind

Have you ever woken from a restless sleep and wondered what the point of getting out of bed would be? Ever looked at yourself in the mirror and wondered why you are you; what your purpose is?

Some of you have known me for a long time. You may know me as ever-positive, smiling, happy-go-lucky, nothing stresses, nothing irritates, nothing can break the effervescent spirit I exude. That may sound cocky and self-obsessing, but the truth is, you don’t know me. For the past year or so, my positive shining light has been a wall in front of a spirit ladened with depression.  I question the point of getting out of bed regularly.  My friendships have fallen by the wayside. My employment and studies have suffered. My faith and trust in God has become a dull reminder of what I used to be so sure of.

You may wonder why I am writing this, why I want to share what is beneath the mask of positivity.  The answer is simple: I will no longer be silent.  This is not a selfish excuse to unload all of my feelings on the unsuspecting web of readers, nor is it some sort of therapy.

A number of years ago I was made aware of a friend who was struggling with depression.  She had been attempting to battle this suffocating and soul crushing sickness alone, hoping to overcome it without having to ‘burden’ her friends and family with the knowledge that she needed help.  While some would simply be a support, and try to do what they can, I needed to understand what it was exactly that she was struggling with.  Instead of assuming it was a sad state of mind; instead of telling her to stop feeling bad; instead of ignoring her desperate need for support and love; I researched.  I found numerous websites explaining that depression is not, as is commonly assumed, a bad day or a sad state of mind.  I discovered the medical explanations.  I read about therapy and support options. I became educated.

When I began feeling similar symptoms, instead to relating my prior research to my own condition, I was in denial. I am a happy person. I am ‘annoyingly positive’ (according to close friends…).  I am bright, and bubbly.  I can’t be depressed. I’m the one that helps people, not the one who needs help. I can do this alone… And yet here I am, suffering from the realisation that I have been diagnosed with depression.

This semester, instead of studying what I love, at an arts college that has taught me so much about myself and my abilities to create, I will be focusing on my health.  It was a very difficult decision to make.  I at times feel my depression worsening at the realisation that this semester will be spent getting help, and developing healthy friendships.   This blog will be part of my development.  I feel the need to share my story, my journey and my recovery.  Please understand how difficult this is for me to publish. I don’t like admitting something is wrong, or that I need help. I am chronically putting off seeing the doctor or the dentist for fear of being told something is wrong with me. This is me, admitting to all who care to read, that I am flawed, I have an illness and I need help.

A friend and colleague recently linked me to this amazing song, a song that spoke to me in ways I cannot describe. I leave you with this…

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