Apologies for the hiatus guys. 2018 has so far been very eventful and I’ve just about got my breath back and kicked my writer’s block to make a comeback with this mini series about my depression. If you don’t follow me on insta (which you should if you think I’m cool lol), one of my most recent posts described my current dilemma surrounding my depression. I did not expect to receive the amount of love, support and DMs that I did from so many different people. I then did a poll asking whether to write up a blog post about it and now we’re here. I did get requests to do a video but I honestly would feel more than uncomfortable however I hope I could do so in the near future because I know that videos can sometimes be more relatable. So this is going to be the first of a few posts on this topic.
I hate disclaimers but as mental health is such a controversial topic, it’s a must. This post is based on my experience and is therefore my truth.
Please accept that this post is not going to go into detail and only explains what I’m comfortable enough to share.
Please do not use this post to self-diagnose. Make sure to seek medical advice to explain any symptoms you may have to get a confirmed diagnosis if you believe you suffer from depression.
Though I was diagnosed with depression at the age of 17, my first memory of having a very very low moment was around the age of 10 when I began to have frequent suicidal thoughts. I am the eldest child and the only girl in my family. This meant that mentally, I was definitely more advanced than my peers. I took on a lot of responsibility and I was trusted with information about situations I shouldn’t have been privy to at such a young age. I always joke and say there’s always way too much in my head – no wonder it’s so big! Those close to me know I’m a very anxious person but I’m also very good at not showing it because I’ve done it for so long that it’s second nature to me. I was also dealing with a phobia of death at the time and realised something was clearly not okay if I considered self-inflicting the very thing I feared.
A couple of years later, now in my teens, life was tumultuous up until I left home for university. At this point, I hated everything about my life. The incessant sadness I experienced during this period caused me so much emotional pain and emptiness that no physical pain could compare. My body was tired of breaking down – I was all cried out. Alongside this, I experienced many of my ‘firsts’ within such a short period of time from: relationship, heartbreak, job, cyberbullying experience and even my first death threat. With the emotional turmoil came a lot of physical change. My insomnia was the worst at this point and I noticed some other concerning symptoms which led me to the GP appointment that confirmed a diagnosis. I assumed that the symptoms I described were unrelated to my mental health however after explaining them, this led the GP to ask me loads of questions before saying “this sounds like you may be suffering from depression”. I reckon that was my last appointment at that surgery. I didn’t want to discuss it further at that point nor was I ready to try and fix it as much as it consumed so much of my life. The only form of therapy I knew and practiced was prayer and my DMCs with God. I would literally pray myself to sleep because I honestly felt He was the only One that cared and was willing to listen to everything without question or judgement.
Fast forward to my second year of uni, there was a long period of time where I moved out my bedroom into my living room. I was so scared of being alone with my thoughts that I spent most of my downtime and even slept on the sofa for the majority of that year. I barely went to lectures though I did attempt to attend my seminars at the very least. My deadlines were purely met through all-nighters..the night before the deadline. I was a complete mess. Surrounded by my group of friends and having the opportunity to live with them was great but when I was alone – I was ALONE. Extremely lonely and even more vulnerable. I then opted to seek some therapy through my university via email. Little did I know that the Wellbeing Service was a small building I walked passed all the time yet the information to access this service was nowhere to be seen on campus and very poorly advertised at the time. After a few months on the waiting list I finally got an appointment. I was asked a few questions but did most of the talking. After pouring my mind and heart out, I was shocked when the counsellor replied with something along the lines of “wow, you spoke about such heavy topics as if they could be part of normal everyday conversation”. I don’t know if this is because I didn’t cry or shudder whilst talking but this confused me. Was I meant to take that as a compliment? Why did he feel the need to even acknowledge that out loud? I asked him when I could book the next appointment and he simply said that the service was for more vulnerable students so it could be a while. I remember him commenting on how well dressed I was and healthy I looked. Again, this was very hard to comprehend but I left feeling very embarrassed and stupid for booking the appointment to begin with.Depression has no physical stereotypes and that's why it's so difficult to recognise. Click To Tweet
Until recently, my second year of university was the most difficult year dealing with my depression. Despite this, I still somehow graduated decently and managed to even secure my first job before doing so. Since graduating, I have dedicated a lot more of my alone time to research my symptoms. I established a year or so ago that I suffer from Dysthymia otherwise known as high-functioning depression. Having learnt this, I can now pinpoint particular mannerisms I practiced that seemed normal then but were/are still in fact coping mechanisms. My next post will explain my coping mechanisms of the past and present as well as the ‘common symptoms’ of Dysthymia.
This was not easy to write but I sincerely hope that me being as open as I can helps at least one person. If you have any questions or want to discuss anything surrounding this topic, please DM me through instagram and I’d be happy to address any comments or questions. In the meantime, please look after yourself. There is only one you.