My depression and anxiety
I have always suffered from depression and can remember going to see a mental health professional at the age of thirteen. Depression tends to run in families and mine is no exception. My grandmother suffered from depression and my mother did too.
Depression is one of the most debilitating experiences. It feels like you are stuck in a dark tunnel with no light and no way out. Depression often gets confused with unhappiness and they are completely different places to exist in. Unhappiness usually has a specific cause (for example – losing your job or a relationship) and doesn’t last indefinitely. Depression, on the other hand, doesn’t always have a specific cause and can continue indefinitely without professional intervention. For me, being depressed meant I did not enjoy anything and did not look forward to anything. Even winning the lottery would not have perked me up.
I withdrew from friends and avoided social situations, locking myself away for lengthy periods of time. Of course, this is one of the worst things you can do when you are depressed but it is a very common reaction. I did not care about my personal hygiene and even taking a bath or shower became a huge effort.
The thing is, mental illness is not uncommon and statistics suggest that 1 in 4 of us will be affected by some sort of mental illness during our lifetimes. With this is mind, it seems ludricrous that there is still such a stigma attached to having a mental illness. I put this down to ignorance and a lack of understanding. Mental illness isn’t as obvious as a physical illness but it can affect someone far more severely in terms of the quality of their life.
Due to my own experiences with depression and anxiety, I decided to study Psychology to try to understand more about why depression occurs and what can be done to alleviate the symptoms. I have found many tips and tricks over the years (many of these I share in this blog) and thankfully, I can say that I manage my depression and anxiety far better these days. I still get down days (I like to refer to them as “duvet days”) and I will constantly be a work in progress. Depression and anxiety can be managed and in many cases, overcome.