I’ve suffered from both depression and anxiety throughout the majority of my teen years. There have been times when both have completely consumed me, times when I feel one more strongly than the other, and times when I may not notice them much at all, but they’ll always be lingering. I’ve been on medication for my mental health for a few months now, and have seen multiple counsellors over the years – facts that I am not ashamed of sharing with others. My struggles with mental health are not something I am ashamed of and feel I should cover up. Talking about these issues is so important, especially when trying to overcome them.
However, some people out there simply are not able to empathise with or fully understand those who suffer from mental health issues, as they lucky enough to not have experienced first hand what it’s really like to suffer through a mental illness. So, in order to encourage people to talk about and understand mental health, I’m going to tell you, from my experience, what depression really feels like.
1. Depression feels like drowning. Imagine drowning, but never being able to die. You can’t breathe, you can feel the strain on your lungs as you try and fight against the strong current of the water. You can never quite make it to the surface. You’re just dying for that huge relief of filling your lungs with fresh oxygen. But you just can’t quite make it, and you’re stuck in this trapped, panicked and terrifying state for what feels like forever.
2. Depression feels like guilt. The overwhelming sense of guilt you get for being depressed is almost unbearable at times. What have I got to be depressed for, right? I’ve got a great family, amazing friends, a steady job, a roof over my head, food in my fridge. I could have it so much worse. How can I be so down all the time? Here’s how – anyone can have depression. It’s an illness, not a choice.
3. Depression is a ball and chain. It keeps me in bed for hours some days. It stops me from going out and having fun and spending time with the people I love. Even if I manage to get up and out, it’s still there, lingering in the back of my mind. You just have to learn to live with it, to cooperate with it. Show that depression who’s boss.
4. Depression feels like nothing. I might laugh at that funny video on Facebook and I might be loud and outgoing when I’m with my friends. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t still there, inside my head. There are days that I feel nothing. I don’t wanna cry, or laugh. I don’t feel like doing the things I love. It numbs me. And I think that’s one of the scariest feelings of them all, not feeling anything at all.
I hope this helped some of you understand what it’s like to suffer from this very common mental health issue. For those of you who do suffer from depression, anxiety or any other illness, please know that you’re not on you’re own. You can live with it, it gets so much better. Talk to your parents, your friends, a doctor or a helpline because you should never have to go through it on your own. If you believe someone you know may be suffering in silence, let them know that you are there for them. Lastly, be kind to everyone; always.
– S x