The dark shadow on your shoulder – depression

I have written on this subject before.

I have shared and tried to teach others that depression is a serious illness.
Because often I get the impression that people see depression as ‘just feeling a bit sad’

No sorry. Just no.

Depression isn’t about felling a little sad or having a down day.

It is all encompassing.
It is like a negative, black shadow that follows you around.
Like a weight tied around your waist, stifling your movements.
Like living inside a body that is fighting to survive, with a mind that is trying to give up.

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This image here, almost reached out to me and pulled me into it.
I look at it and I know exactly how it feels to be there.

Those words, are words I say to myself almost daily.
I am a master at putting myself down.

For years I have fought and struggled on.
For a long time I fought alone, in silence.

Just me and my shadow.

The shadow that dug it’s claws into me and refused to let go.

For so long I hid how I was feeling from friends, family, loved ones.
I guess I figured that they wouldn’t understand.

And I guess in some way they don’t.

Sometimes unless you have struggled yourself, it’s hard to understand and put yourself in their shoes.

When I was struggling deeply with PPD I tried to open up to my mum, bearing in mind my mum grew up in a time where depression was not talked about and even more of a taboo subject than it is today.

Her response was “what do you have to be depressed about?”
I know she meant well.
But unfortunately for my mum she had no I idea what kind of thing was happening inside my mind.

There have been moments over the years where I have almost reached breaking point.

It’s not something I share often, but during my last pregnancy I locked myself in the bathroom with a bunch of pills and were it not for my daughter knocking on the door – I am almost 100% certain I would have taken them.

I was constantly thinking negative thoughts.
I was constantly pushing myself further and further into a black hole, which very nearly became an abyss – of which I may not have been able to come back from.

The more you tell yourself “you aren’t good enough” and “everyone would be better off without you” the more you believe it.

It’s like writing something in permanent ink, once it’s there it will not disappear.

I think that one of the worst things to hear is –
” what do you have to be sad about? There are so many more people worse off than you are”

This kind of proves how people do not understand depression. They see it as wallowing in self pity – but what they don’t realise is self pity is something you can come out of.
Depression tears you down, tells you you aren’t good enough. Pours on guilt and shame. Breaks your spirit.
It overwhelms you with feelings if worthlessness and tells you you deserve to feel this way, to be punished.
And to have someone say that I am feeling sorry for myself and that I am ungrateful for what I have crushes me.

I already feel like I badly in myself, this makes it worse.

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I was always very good at putting on the face of “I’m OK”
I still am.

I guess I don’t like to burden people with my problems.
I always feel as though people have their own troubles to deal with without me adding to it.

And that is where I went wrong.
That is where I allowed my shadow to win.

Let me tell you, speaking out has lifted so much weight off my over burdened shoulders.
It has also helped to break the stigma surrounding depression – and how it is not something to be taken seriously.

But it IS something to be taken seriously.
It is a subject that NEEDS talking about.
The stigma NEEDS to be broken.

Sadly so many people take their own lives because the suffer in silence.

We need more of an area of help for those who suffer from depression.
We need there to be more of an understanding that it is an illness.

I will keep saying it until people listen.

The more stories I read about people who are battling or have battled, the more my heart breaks.

I will keep doing my part to help break the stigma surrounding depression, for those who suffer and those who are sadly no longer with us.

We owe them that.

I have said it before and I will say it again –

Even if you feel alone, or like you don’t have a friend in the world.
You have a friend here.
You have a friend in me.

Don’t ever hesitate or think I don’t want to hear your troubles.
I do.
I want to help.
I will be there for you.

I am your friend.

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