I know that I have touched on this issue in some of my other reviews, but decided to write this review in more depth, as much for my own help as anyone else's!
Depression is an often misunderstood illness. You can't see what's wrong with the person suffering and I've heard on the past that people should 'pull themselves together' and to 'wise up'. In my opinion (although I may be biased!) physical and mental illnesses are the same. You wouldn't expect someone who has a physical condition to wise up, so why is it acceptable when it's a hidden illness?
I've had depression most of my adult life. Initially, I resisted medication, but eventually I did ask for help from my GP. Before that, I thought I could cope, but I needed a push to help me. I have tried different medications with varying results. Cipralex left me too tired to function and Prozac had no effect. I have been taking Sertraline for a couple of years now, and it seems to be the one I have had most success with.
Depression, in my own personal experience is hard to describe. It feels like a weight Is on your shoulders and a fog that takes over your brain. It's exhausting to even do the simplest tasks, and I sometimes feel like I've fallen into a hole and I don't have the strength to pull myself up. At my lower points, I exist rather than live, I have no interest in anything and even the things that normally cheer me up have no effect. Even getting out of bed is a struggle and takes so much energy. At my low points, I also have no real interest in my appearance and may not wash for 2 - 3 days. I also have a tendency to comfort eat, which then makes me feel worse, and I vow to hit the gym but that often doesn't happen if I'm honest.
It helps to talk - after all the saying goes, a problem shared is a problem halved. If you are unwilling or unable to talk to those close to you, there are professionals. The Samaritans are available 24/7 and they also have an email address. I have occasionally emailed them when I want to get my thoughts down in words, and although it is not an instant reply, I find that they are very helpful with their replies. They break down my emails/ramblings down into manageable chunks and gave advice and guidance on how to deal with each thing. Their system never reveals your details, so it is completely anonymous, and you just get a reply from 'The Samaritans'
I had a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy a few years back. This helped at the time, as it teaches you to rethink negative thought patterns and helps you to develop coping skills that will make dealing with negative, unwanted thoughts easier. I now use some online CBT tools to refresh my memory.
There are also some online tools that can help. I use
http://www.aware-ni.org.uk/ (although this is a Northren Ireland based website.
https://moodgym.anu.edu.au/moodgym/unwar​p/depquiz (online CBT tool)
http://www.niamh.co.uk/ (Ni Association for Mental Health)
2012 is a year I will never forget. I had a breakdown in September, and this was definitely one of the scariest experiences of my life. I felt like I had lost control of my feelings and emotions and for days I statyed in bed and cried. If somoene had given me the opportunity of falling asleep and never waking up, I would have jumped at the chance. I also started stockpiling strong painkillers and sleeping tablets, though thankfully something always stopped me. I have since read that since the introduction of blister packs, suicides using tablets have reduced, as it gives you valuable seconds to think and survival instinct kicks in. This was definitely true in my case. I also kept reading this booklet over and over again, and it seemed to help me: http://www.llttf.com/free_booklets/i_fee​l_so_bad_i_cant_go_on/
I was also referred to the local mental health crisis care team and I had an appointment with a psychiatrist who prescribed me Diazepam to help calm me down and Mirtazepine, an anti-depressant that also helps with insomnia. The first time I took this tablet, I slept the clock round, but this was my only side effect and it only lasted that one day. I found the Mirtazepine a godsend, as I take it about 2 hours before bed and it helps me fall asleep easily, whereas when my insomnia was at it's worst, I was awake most of the night, only falling asleep at about 5am. Having a tablet that aids sleep has really helped me physically and mentally.
I feel a lot better than I used to be. I'm back working, and while I still have my moments, on the whole my mood has stabilised, and I no longer feel the suicidal urges unless I forget to take my medications. I will probably never be cured, but I do see a future, and it's a lot brighter than it was in September.
For anyone suffering from depression, there are people out there who will and can help. Don't ever be afraid of your feelings, and nothing is so bad that it can't be worked through. I hope this was of a bit of help to somoene out there.
Also on Ciao
* Introduction *
I have decided to write a review on depression as I have suffered with depression for many years now. I have not decided on this topic lightly as there as been a lot of things happen to me which as caused me to be depressed in which I will be talking about in my review. The review is based on my opinion and me having depression and hopes that it might give comfort to others, and to help. Please note I have not written this review on people feeling sorry for me. Hope you find this review helpful in some way or other and know your not alone even though you may think you are.
* What is depression *
Depression is known as a mental illness, it can go away when treated but its not and easy or quick progress, but then again everyone is different. Depression is caused by an unbalance of neurotransmitters which is located in the brain, depression can occur at any time, and most people will have a bout of it at some point in their life. Depression is a serious illness and may go un noticed by the person, which can lead to it getting worse if not treated.
There are many things can trigger depression deaths, loss of a job, worries, just to state a few. Depression can be treated in many ways, talking to someone professional, doctor or counselling or even behaviour program, pills, just to name a few. I have worked with people with depression and with me having it myself its easy to work with them and understand them, and know how they feel. Its not always easy to notice depression until you know that something is not quite right within yourself, feeling tired all the time, not sleeping, apatite not the same, loosing interest in things you used to enjoy doing, irritability, mood swings, just to name a few.
Its not a nice feeling at all and most people see you down and either they ignore you or tell you to get a grip and cheer up, you can't snap out of something like this, if you could you would not be depressed would you? Not many people know how to cope with someone who is depressed, or don't know how to live with it, its not easy for the suffer or the person living with you, but I do say all you can do is be there for them and support them as much as you can, and do your own research to get an understanding what they must be going through daily, and know how you can support them.
* How did I know I had depression *
to be honest I did not know I had depression, I was going through a lot at the time and just put it down to that. I just had my first child, which I suffered with post natal depression which was hard to get through. I was living with a lazy, manipulative, boyfriend that was using me as a punch bag when it suited and which also played with my head. I did not really have my family around me at the time because of my partner (long story) and no friends.
I was feeling very lost, lonely, scared and frightened, tired, no apatite, and so it was time to go to the doctors, and that is when they told me that I am suffering with depression. They explained it was a mental illness and that being on antidepressants would help me perk up, so I took them. Although when my partner found out he took them from me, told me they were no good, there was nothing wrong with me and to grow up.
For many years I was not being treated at all for the depression, and he drilled it into me I just need to snap out of the moods and I will be ok, I wish it was that simple. Things only got worse I was not sleeping, eating, couldn't go out, I lost my self esteem, no confidence, and thought I was a failure. I think most of this was down to how he made me feel but there was a time where I had locked myself away in the bathroom and self harmed, and even tried taking a lot of pills because I could not stand the way I felt.
I knew that the situation I was in did not help in any way, but I knew without help I was not going to feel any better within myself, and I would never have the strength to get out of the relationship until I felt better in myself.
Many years I did get out, I did feel better for it obviously but the depression is still there, I know this will probably be my life now as I have tried to stop taking the medication I am on and I get those symptoms back especially the irritability and the mood swings. The doctors are fantastic with me and do help where they can, I have tried counselling but it did not work for me because I have trust issues, and think that everyone is going to sit there point there finger and blame me for the mess that I am in, I also have the problem when discussing how I feel I feel very guilty too, so all this does not help me what so ever.
* Living with depression *
Living with depression is like being on a roller coaster for me, I have my up days and my down downs, and ill a lot of the time which depresses me more. I do live with someone else now and I love him to bits but things are not getting where my depression is concerned, my partner don't know anything about depression and refuses to read about it so he knows what it is I am going through.
He recently got diagnosed with diabetes so that was a blow to us both and there as been a time where he got depressed and was on tablets to help him through although they did not help him, and is very angry most of the time because of the diabetes. So although I am trying to get better I have now my partner learning how to cope with his illness so I do try and put mine aside to be there for him.
Living with depression is hard, especially when you have things going on in your life that you can't seem to make right or better, when you feel lonely and no one to talk to, when you have stuff happening at work and don't know how to make the right decision, when you want to do is sleep the day away because you don't want to spend another day with depression. Or even sometimes you think to yourself I am better off dead than to be here living like this, where you are fine and smiling one minute then the next minute your crying, but don't know why.
I will never get over the way I feel inside, I spend all the time feeling I am failure, lonely, sad, empty, and taking the blame when things goes wrong in life. This is me and its sad, but I know there is one person that can change all this and it is me, the frustrating part is how? how do I change where I am no longer feeling this way. Its hard life as it is, but with depression everything seems a huge effort especially on your bad days.
Going to sleep and staying asleep is my biggest downfall, I get into bed shattered and then you get things going around in your head, most of the time with me is things from the past, with my kids, what my ex put me through, and my family not being around, I wish I did not have these but there is nothing I can do to stop them.
The good thing is I am still able to support and look after my family, and hold down a night job as a care assistant for the elderly which is something I love doing. Sometimes it can be really tiring but I get through the shift the best I know how. I know some people with depression cannot hold down a job and not there for there family I don't judge them as I understand people living with this illness is a struggle in so many ways.
* Help *
There is help out there, never give in to this illness its not worth it, try and think of the positives in your life. Seek professional help whenever you feel depressed, they will help you can gt back on track, ok its not immediate but the quicker you seek help the better you will feel. Like I have mentioned everyone is different and have different opinions but you can only help yourself by getting the help you need.
* Final Thoughts *
I am glad that I am out of the relationship that I was once in, I do still have a lot to cope with in my life as do everyone, but living without my family, kids and having the support around me from my partner can be very hard at times, and is very tiring. I am money worries and stresses at home and work, but I am happy that I am still here to talk and help people that best I can. Even though you may feel alone your never alone and don't be embarrassed to talk to anyone with the way your feeling, there is always someone out there to talk to. Something I have not tried is talking to people that have or had depression, as talking to someone that has or is there helps a great deal.
I am hopeful that one day I will feel loads better within myself that I can come off the medication and live my life happily without the stresses and worries that I have now. Know I did something about the depression tells me I did right and only I can help myself into making me feel better and forget or at least try and forget the past and look to the future and what it holds for me. I am glad that I am able to hold down my job as I love the work I do and I work hard. If anyone wants to chat to me about anything then please do so, and I am hoping this has helped in some way or another.
I am writing this review as this is something which is affecting my life, sometimes I find it therapeutic to write it down. Depression is a very taboo subject and like other illnesses is one which you can't see from the outside but on the inside it is very real. Depression is more than a feeling of low mood and feeling fed up it goes much deeper than this and can be very debilitating for those who are suffering. Many people worldwide will suffer with this condition through their life and what cause it can sometimes be unclear. Many things can contribute to this condition such as genetics and life experiences such as relationship problems or bereavement. Here is my story.
When I was in my late teens I suffered from eating disorders, I had both anorexia and bulimia at the same time, in a way I think my mental health problems may have stemmed back from then. I have always been a perfectionist and strived to do everything PERFECT, I now know is impossible to be perfect and am trying to now accept that I cannot be this. I did get over the anorexia and bulimia but took a long time, I think it really hit home when my doctor told my mum that if I didn't recover I could die, quite a scary prospect so in time I overcame this. After this experience I had a really long period where life was good, I met my husband and had my daughter who is now 10, life was great.
In 2005 I became pregnant with my second child myself and my husband was over the moon with joy, a perfect addition to our little family. All was great with the pregnancy until we had our 20 week scan and were told the devastating news that the little boy I was carrying had died and I would have to deliver him. The prospect was awful I delivered my son who was so small I was scared to touch him, I desperately wanted the horror of it all to go away and wake up from this nightmare, life seemed so cruel. I found it very difficult after the funeral of our son and struggled to get up most days, but carried on for the sake of my family. After a month it all hit me like a ton of bricks and suffered severe anxiety and depression for months but after treatment I slowly improved and things did get better in time. Things that challenge you in life can in fact make you stronger and after the loss of our baby I did get much stronger. I still think about him every day but I had to give the best I could and still can in life for my family.t
In 2007 I gave birth to a much wanted little boy who is now 5 but form the instant he was born I knew all was not well, I felt very detached and anxious. After the loss of my first son I was certain something terrible was going to happen to him and spend many weeks in an anxious state without eating or sleeping. I did seek help once again, it was a long year after my son was born with more downs than ups but I did get there with help and support. My life started to get back on track and I was able to enjoy life with my family again until four months ago when I hit rock bottom again. Like the times before I have had a reason for the depression and anxiety but this time the reasons have been unclear, I have a wonderful family and seemed happy with my life or so I thought.
I have quite a busy life and am always on the go, my work is very physical and with two children life can be demanding. Four months ago I stated to feel very tired and started to feel unable to cope with all life's demands. I shrugged it off and tried to carry on until I had a complete melt down and began crying uncontrollably and I have to say that the past four months I have not gone through a single day without crying. I went to the doctors and was told to increase the dose of the antidepressants which I have been on since the birth of my son. Unfortunately this didn't work and I was getting worse. My mum who I am very close to came to stay with me as my husband works long hours and I was struggling to cope and be alone with my thoughts and anxiety. I returned to the doctors who gave me valium short term to alleviate my extreme anxiety which was crippling me, I was unable to eat, sleep and was suffering from panic attacks regularly which are very frightening. I know these are very addictive as I've had them in the past so I have used them sparingly. He also decided to change my antidepressants which I was happy with until a week later. The new medication left me with suicidal thoughts and I didn't care about life and didn't want to carry on. This was such a scary feeling, I had a wonderful family which need me and I love very much so why was I feeling like this? The doctor told me to stop this medication straight away which I did; I guess not all antidepressants work for some people.
I have been seeing a counsellor weekly to try and get to the bottom of my fears and anxieties which is helping me. It is refreshing to know that certain feelings are normal with anxiety and depression and I am not alone. That one thing with this illness is it makes you feel so alone and isolated. Over the past four months I haven't socialised and have completely shut myself off, I have continued to work until last week as my doctor advised me to rest. My job is very physical and it was advised that I eliminate all stresses in my life as I still continue to struggle. I have just been referred to my NHS mental health team as the treatment I am receiving is not being successful as they would like it to be and I continue to struggle daily. Without the support of my family I am not sure what my future would be as living with the anxiety and depression is a constant struggle which at present I deal with daily. At the same time I do now feel more optimistic and positive that life will get better, if I was asked that two weeks ago the answer would have been very different. What people need to understand is that it is an illness which no one from my experience would want to go through. I always say I would rather someone chop my legs off, if you have a broken arm people can see it and it can be mended with depression you cannot see it and it takes a long g time to mend. Depression is not a quick fix and not something you can simply shrug off or pull yourself together and I am sure many reading this will know.
Who knows why I have been suffering this time around, things are beginning to become clearer in time with help from my counsellor and I am trying to accept this. The only advice I can give to people who are suffering alone is to get help it won't go away by itself, you need support from professionals and loved ones. Depression is more common than you think and people are accepting it more now as an illness and more help is available. Remember you are not alone and it isn't a sign of weakness, this is one thing that I have now realised and accept.
Thank you for reading
What is depression? You'd think that would be an easy question to awnser. For people who don't have, and have never had depression, it more than likely will be. Wiki class depression as being "a state of low mood and aversion to activity." I'd describe depression as being a bug that crawls into your head one day when you've had a bad day. Day by day, whenever you feel sad, this bug grows, and grows, until before long it is all you can think about, it takes over your head only letting you focus on the bad in your life and it's like a tumour that has overtaken your mind. Ofcourse this is metaphorically speaking. There is no bug, there is no tumour that causes these feelings. Depression is not physical, although it does cause physical effects, which can vary from shaking, weight loss and physical numbness (I had this to the point where I thought i'd suffered a stroke), to hair pulling, self mutilation and varios other undesireable things.
Different cirumstances in different people will trigger depression, and it will effect different people in different ways, too. For some people, they will feel slightly less energetic and generally 'down'. For others, such as myself, with severe depression, it will cause normal day to day activities to feel like the olympics. If you suffer from severe depression you will know there is no escaping it.
Of course, like a majority of other mental and physical illnesses, there is medication available. None of this medication claims to cure depression, however it does claim to help ease the feelings of dread/self hate/sadness, or whatever unpleasant thoughts and feelings the person suffering with the mental illness is experiencing. The medication works by simply making the mind more relaxed, and therefor numbing the pain. I was on this medication for three years. Not only did it make me gain weight (which was lost when I developed anorexia due to my depression), but it also made me feel and look pretty much like a zombie. On me personally, it made me feel numb to the point that I didn't feel any emotion at all. No happiness, no sadness, not even the little things you feel throughout the day, such as being that tiny bit happy because you managed to catch the bus on time etc. It also made me extremely sleepy. Even sleeping (and in an almost comatosed state) while dosed up on several grams of medication wouldn't ease the torture of this illness. I'd toss and turn throughout the night, with either graphic flashbacks or horrificly vivid nightmares, usually in which i'd be verbally abused and strangled by my abusive ex boyfriend from my early teenage years, or be back in-patient (sectioned) in the eating disorder unit.
Besides medication, there are also psychiatrists who are trained to diagnose patients with depression, and psychologists who are trained to help talk to people with depression and understand their state of mind and how to help. I'll be honest, the 30 or so psychologiststhat I have seen in the nine years since having depression have been awful. One even made my illness worse after saying on one of my case notes that I was a greedy baby as a child (something that neither me or my mum had ever said) and that because of this I had grown up as a greedy child! This definetly contributed towards my eating disorder. This though, has contributed towards me going to University to study psychology as I want to help people and never want someone to go through what I went through - being passed from one 'professional' to another, all of whom were useless.
There is also a thing called cognitive therapy that alot of phychologists are starting to promote more than ever. This is basically an intense session of talking about in depth problems which in my case triggered things and made things worse rather than making them better. Wiki class the therapy as the following - "CBT aims to solve problems concerning dysfunctional emotions, behaviors and cognitions through a goal-oriented, systematic procedure in the present. The title is used in diverse ways to designate behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, and to refer to therapy based upon a combination of basic behavioral and cognitive research." Another technique used is 'tapping', this is where you touch certain spots on your body or head (usually the temples, chin, nose and cheeks) while talking about a certain thing or thinking of happy memories. This will help defuse stressful situations, as you will learn to accosiate the feeling of your finger tapping on a certain spot of your body as triggering a happy memory. This did somewhat work for me, however it's a very limited therapy as people deep in depression will not respond to this; unfortunetly many people are simply too far in depression to ever be able to get the full advantage of the tapping technique.
Anyway, i've rambled for far too long. I just needed to get some things of my chest, to be honest! Luckily i'm no where near as deep in depression I was - I am able to live a somewhat normal life - I am at University and am expecting my first child, and I am free of any medication. I see a counsellor once a week to keep myself feeling okay, because I know if I keep it all in, it will build up and i'll be back at where I was.
"We are dying from overthinking. We are slowly killing ourselves by thinking about everything.
Think. Think. Think. You can never trust the human mind anyway. It's a death trap."
Depressed? Just snap out of it! Things could always be worse couldn't there? There are starving children in Africa, be grateful for what you have! That's what I used to think when someone mentioned depression to me. Of course that was before I had experienced it for myself.
When I think back, I hadn't felt right for a good few years. My passion for doing the things I loved was slowly dwindling away. I think the start of it came with the break down of my first relationship. We had been together for almost 7 years and things came to a head when I found out about his infidelities which were going on for the last year of our relationship. Before things with him ended, he had already started a new relationship which I knew nothing about. There were rumours which he denied but I ended the relationship when I had solid proof. I'm a very sensitive person and it was a very sad time for me and I found it hard to cope. I never thought I would ever get through such a betrayal. I was shattered and devastated. I remember consoling myself with the idea that one day I would be dead and it would no longer hurt.
Things would have been a lot easier had his new girlfriend left me alone. Instead she basically stalked me for a year and only stopped when she received a warning from the police about a year later. Not long after that relationship ended, I started a new relationship myself. In hindsight, this was a silly thing to do. I should have taken time to heal myself emotionally and mentally before even considering being with someone new. Things were great for a while and I was slowly working through my issues and getting back on track.
After a while, various issues started arising within the relationship. It appeared that he wasn't who I thought he was and he began displaying some very questionable behaviour. We went through two break ups in the space of a year which I took very badly. We reconciled in October 2009 which I thought would be for the last time.
Three years into the relationship my shift pattern had to be changed due to various circumstances which had a huge effect on my. Sleeping became a problem and eating basically went out of the window. I was surviving on ready meals for almost a year as I didn't have time to eat. Finishing work at 12am was very hard, I was also trying to complete a Graphics degree at the time and half of the time I was on autopilot. I began to lose sense of reality. I was physically and mentally exhausted. Throughout all of this, I was in and out of hospital with a Bartholins Cyst which would leave me incapacitated for months at a time.
Things were not right in the relationship either and in June 2010 we split for good. For the first two weeks I was absolutely fine. I kept telling myself that there was no way I was going to let it get me down like it had done in the past. He had shown me his true colours, and although I would have like nothing more than to have worked things out, I knew he just wasn't worth the time and effort and that I deserved a lot better.
I went to work as usual and on that last day I experienced something I never had before. Around two hours into my shift, a terrible pain in my chest appeared which made it hard to breathe. I was on the verge of tears but was determined to carry on with my work. The pain worsened to the point where I could hardly breathe at all and I dropped everything and went to the supervisor. When I found him I could hardly talk and burst into tears. I am not one who ever cries in front of other people but I couldn't hold it in. The supervisor scooped me into his arms whilst I sobbed away and took me home. I didn't have any idea what was going on. I had never felt like this before.
I remember sitting the in garden that evening staring into space. It was a warm sunny evening. I sat there for hours watching the birds without saying a word. My mother sat beside me and insisted on knowing what was wront but I was unable to say anything at all. After a little while I managed to explain a bit of what I was feeling. I didn't want to carry on anymore. Everything became too much, far more than I felt capable of handling. I wanted to disappear, to just be nothing and noboby. I could see no light at the end of the tunnel, only darkness.
Th next morning my mother took me to the doctor. I sat down in his office, and when he asked what was wrong, I burst into tears again, unable to talk. It was a very embarrassing time for me but I was unable to control my emotions. My mother explain what I had told her the previous night and he presented me with a questionnaire. He diagnosed me with severe depression and anxiety and I was prescribed antidepressants and sleeping pills and was advised to visit again in two weeks.
For the next month, I didn't leave the house unless it was to go to the doctors. I spent all of my time in my bedroom away from everyone and said very little. My friends went ignored, I couldn't face anybody and wanted to be left alone. Eating was out of the question. I couldn't manage anything and I lost a stone and half during that month, taking me to 6.5st. There was no improvement and things started to get worse. Eventually my mother threatened to escort me to a counsellor but I refused to go. She was upset too. She couldn't handle seeing me like that. I was wasting away and there was nothing she could do about it. One afternoon I ventured out into the garden where I heard my next door neighbour moaning about the greenfly one her runner beans to my mother. I remember wondering why she even cared enough about the greenfly let alone cared enough to mention it. Such a small thing and she was moaning about it, taking an interest in the state of her vegetables. It was here when I first realised that I had a big problem. It seemed completely infathomable why anyone had an interest in anything, no matter how big or small. Myself, I had lost interest in everything. Nothing mattered to me at all, I just wanted out. I thought about it quite often, one evening I lined up the pills and started at them. I knew deep down I would never do it, not because I couldn't, but because I know it would be something my mother would never get over. If she wasn't here, I wouldn't be here writing this review now.
Gradually I started to improve. I got back in touch with friends again. One friend in particular was a great help to me and came to visit weekly. I started to eat again and sleep a little better and began gaining weight.
I have recently returned to work after 5 months. It was a long road to recovery. I am still not quite there yet but I am starting to feel like myself again. My experience of depression was absolutely horrific and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. It's not something you can just snap out of. When it grips you there is absolutely nothing you can do.
It is nothing to be embarrassed about and I would advise you to seek help from a doctor/counsellor if you think depression may be affecting you. There are also great website that offer advice on dealing with depression.
**Also on Ciao under the same username**
Depression is a very misunderstood illness. Those around you may see you smiling when you are having a "good day" and say that you are not depressed. Others may ask what you are depressed about but they simply don't understand. I feel that no one can really understand unless they have been in your position.
My depression started at 15. Until then I was happy, I had a lovely childhood, had lots of friends and was doing well at school. One night whilst I was staying with my sister, my drunk brother in law tried it on when I was half asleep. I won't go into details as it is still difficult. I felt dirty and only told my best friend. I avoided him like the plague and my sister had no idea. I didn't want to ruin their marriage so I kept my mouth shut. During a heated argument with my sister one day about why I was avoiding her, I told her the truth and my parents. They didn't seem interested and I still feel they believed him over me. I tried to put it to the back of my mind but it occasionally resurfaced.
I met my fiance when I was 15 as well and after various arguments with my parents about him being older, I wasn't to be deterred. I left school 3months before my 17th birthday, got a job and then a house. I lost all my friends as I was preoccupied with my fiance and they didn't want to hang around with him unless he was going to buy them drink.
I threw myself into my work but then started taking time off here and there and only lasted a year and a half before I was forced to hand in my resignation or be sacked. By that point, I had just turned 18 and was £5000 in debt. I took out overdrafts and loans and credit cards to fund my obsession for shopping and gambling.
I found another job but the travelling was too much and I ended up out of work for 3months. The bills were piling up, we had to move 3 times and my fiance had no idea I was using his wages (meant for bills) to gamble. I started part time in another job and 4months later had a breakdown.
The debt collection letters and phone calls became too much. We had also been trying for a baby for nearly 2yrs and I felt a failure. I would sit on my laptop all night talking in chatrooms to make me feel like I had friends. When my fiance got up for work, I would lie down for an hour then get up. I sat eating all day and my weight crept up. I would sit and cry for hours on end scared that I was going to lose my family. Stupid thoughts went through my head and I lost control.
One night when alone at home, I swallowed several packs of paracetamol along with Peach Snapps that my mum had given me the Christmas before. I left a note for my fiance and waited for myself drifting into oblivian. At this point, something inside me snapped and I ran up the street to my fiances dads house where he was and told him what I had done. He phoned my parents who rushed down in a taxi along with my sister. They were hysterical.
We went to the A&E department of my local hospital and waited to be seen. I have never seen my parents so worried. I needed my stomach pumped and was in hospital for 3days. It was there that I confessed my deepest thoughs and feelings to a stranger. I was prescribed anti depressants but they made me feel so much worse that I stopped taking them.
I was signed off work and spent most of my days in the house. The week I felt ready to go back, my employer told me he didn't want me back. Another 4months of being off work meant I had to move back in with my parents. They helped me with debts.
I started a little part time job in a shop and was really enjoying it until I found out I was pregnant. I was over the moon but within a week of telling my manager, I was accused of stealing and made to feel unwanted and awful. They had no proof and no one would come forward to back me up. I walked out until constructive dismissal and tried to take them to a tribunal but they took so long to respond to my letters, I was 38weeks pregnant when I was told I couldn't take them to court. I had to survive on £35 a week from the Job Centre throughout my pregnancy but I was happy as I had my son.
Although now I do get bouts of feeling really low, I realise I do have more to live for. I am still repaying my debts and still get debt letters but with my son, I feel like I can conquer anything. Alot of you will know that I spend alot of time on my laptop. I don't have any real friends. I know that may seem sad but I found that people you start to trust, use you and then reject you. I have met some lovely people on here who I consider friends and they help me everyday. Whenever I see I have a new comment, rating or message, I feel thrilled as someone is listening to what I say and not ignoring me. I feel like I have a purpose.
Depression is a difficult subject and I know alot of people don't feel comfortable reading or writing about it. I was inspired to write this following reading one of my dooyoo friends battle with the demons (you know who you are so thank you).
Thanks for reading and take care :) x
I have been thinking about doing this for some time, but depression is still a taboo subject in many parts of life, and I wasn't sure how it would be accepted if I opened up on here. If you are in a happy mood, then read no further. If you want to try and understand the mind of Stebiz then read on:-
I personally think that I have suffered anxiety since I was very young. Even as a young as 8 or 9. Although I was a normal lad in school, and came from a nice hard working family, I often felt unhappy at times. I would also think continually to myself 'is this what life is all about?'. Not the nicest of thoughts to have at such a young age. Night times were particularly bad for me. I constantly had dreams that my family would die and I would be left alone. I really don't know why. Many a night my Mum or Dad would sit up with me, talking about it. But them being nice and understanding just made things ten times worse. I'd have preferred it if they were horrible. It would have made the nightmares easier to deal with.
As I went through senior school I got bullied quite a lot. Although I tried to be 'one of the lads', a couple of boys in my year had it in for me. I would quite regularly have 'snot' wiped all over me, or spat at, or had chalk all over me. For this reason I quite often started to bunk off school, and although I mentioned to my Mum and Dad why, I never explained just how bad it was. Again they were so nice about it. Told me to knuckle down and get on with my school work. Night times were still bad. Even sleep walking. Waking up frightened of what the next day would bring.
When I was about 14 I took matters into my own hands, and like an episode out of the song 'Coward of the County', I lost the plot altogether. I picked up a chair in the class, and literally slammed it over the bullies head. Then I gave him more and more. Until the guy was literally asking for mercy. The headmaster was summoned and I was suspended from school. The lads never bothered me again. In fact quite the opposite. They wanted me as part of their gang. You may think that this improved things. Sadly not. I still had the same recurring dreams.
When I left school I met my soul mate. She would in a few years be Mrs Stebiz. Although I could confide in her all my working life and ambitions, I couldn't tell her my inner most thoughts. I mean who on earth would want to marry a guy who felt like me. I didn't feel as if I was being unfair in not telling her. I would have died for her. I loved the bones of her. However the thoughts of not just losing my parents and now her, would keep me awake at night. Daft. Stupid. I agree. But this was to start a night time of insomnia. I just didn't want to go to sleep, and be woken up by these terrible thoughts.
So now I was in my twenties. I had my own business. I would make an excuse of working all night. I'd make us loads of money. Holidays weren't once or twice a year, more like three or four times, in really nice places. So I'd be happy wouldn't I? Oh no. I just couldn't close my eyes or stop worrying. I'd often drive off during the day and have a good cry (sorry fellas don't do that). But in no way would I tell my wife. It was like keeping a big secret from her. She was none the wiser. I was like a closet depressive.
Then the kids came along. More for me to worry about. A cough would mean that they had pneumonia. A fever would mean they would never see the morning. Absolute ridiculous stuff. But in my mind it was real. It would really wear me out. I couldn't let them touch certain things, in case they became ill. I'd wash their cups a dozen times to make sure they were clean. I was starting to be affected by OCD. For the first time in my marriage, my secret was starting to come out. I think at first my wife thought I was being stupid. It made her a bit angry at times too.
My business started to hit the buffers, not because of my 'condition' but more to do with the environment. So I decided to close my office and was actually head hunted - yes me - stupid me- by quite a large Blue Chip company. I thought it would be a great start. Great wages again. Another baby on the way.
I worked for this company for about 7 years. Until my late thirties. But my nights were still the same. In fact so bad, that I actually requested to work nights. That way I could grab an hour or two during the day. After a while I took mixed shifts because I was feeling tired. I still had OCD when it came to the kids. I always felt that something bad was going to happen. Be it my Mum or Dad, Wife, Kids. I was on edge all of the time. If the phone would go I'd jump out of my seat thinking the worse straight away. Eventually I had a nervous breakdown.
I woke up one morning to go to work, and my body wouldn't budge. My eyes swelled up, and for the first time in my life I opened up to my wife. I needed her more than ever. She immediately rang the doctor who sedated me, and I spent weeks up in my bedroom. My company were very understanding and allowed time off. To be honest they had little option. Unless they wanted to wheel me in.
I was also put on some strong anti-depressants as well as seeing a counsellor. I talked and talked and told her all what I've said on here. She really couldn't grasp my problem. She couldn't understand why I was beating myself up so badly. I met up on many occasions but to be honest, although I found her a lovely person, she didn't really help that much. I was kept on anti depressants and sleeping tablets, to get me through the day and night. I left my job and started working for myself again.
I have recently stopped taking my medication - about 6 months ago now. Although I haven't told the doctor yet. I also no longer take my sleeping tablets. My sleep patterns are still erratic and it won't be unusual to see me rating at 4am in the morning. I still worry terribly about all the family. Way too much at times. I'm trying to deal with my problems, by keeping myself motivated. I am reading many self help books on how to deal with depression. If only I understood it more I think it would help a lot. If anybody says depression is just a 'sick note' culture, one more time - I'll go mad!!
Thanks for reading. And sorry if it is a bit depressing.
Copyright Stebiz 2010 - also on ciao.co.uk
I am currently being treated for severe depression and anxiety- but I am aware I have suffered with chronic untreated depression for atleast 18 years. My most recent bout, was my most severe and so I will tell you about this.
When I became ill with this current depression, around 8 months ago, I did not realise it. They say "crazy people do not go around wondering if they are crazy" and that is true (not that I class depressed people as crazy but the main facet of most mental illnesses is you cannot see it happening to you). I slowly stopped going out, would only leave the house to go to work, then I stopped getting out of my pyjamas when I was home, stopped getting washed or showering when I was not going to work. Stopped reading books, stopped listening to music. All I was doing was on auto pilot getting up, going to work- focussing only on how to get through the day. Hiding in the toilets at work for up to 10 minutes evey hour to get away from people, spending lunchtime on the phone to my husband to give me moral support to get through the afternoon...
I would go to work feeling as if I was preparing for battle each day. Like a lamb to the slaughter. I would barely talk to anyone at work and cover the phone on my desk with paperwork so I could avoid answring the phone where I could as I was terrified someone would be phoning to shout at me. I have a busy office job and I just tried to do as much work as possible, but I dreaded the smallest team meeting in case I had to speak. I could go days without talking to anyone at work. Then as soon as I got home, I was dreading going in to work the next day, I would get stomach pains around 7pm and never felt as if I could unwind or relax.
This went on for a long long time. I've never had a job I have enjoyed or loved so it was nothing new to me to feel this bad on a daily basis. As I have always battled with depression and just battled through and I knew the feelings of utter despair would pass, I just got on with things. Got through the day. Just battle through...
I knew no other way to live. I avoided answering my mobile phone and opening post for a while. I had seen doctors before- walking in sat down, burst out crying on several occasions for them to say to me "you are stressed [wrong diagnosis!], you cannot go on like this but we are not going to treat you". So, I developed a complex if I did ask my GP for help they would not believe me.
Since Christmas, I seemed to have constant colds, I burst into tears at work and cried for four hours after someone asked me if I was ok and I just thought I was hormonal or something (I'm not a cry-y sort of person). Depression was the last thing on my mind. I was having night sweats for about three months (waking up up to 40 times a night) and began to worry as I had stomach pains, my chest would go tight and I felt as if I could not breathe. I could not talk to someone and breathe at the same time. Even if I was talking to my husband I had to stop and gasp for air. Still, I thought this was normal..... or explained it away as a cold.
Then when I was seeing my GP for a routine visit, I thought I would mention the waking up feeling exhausted and drained, not sleeping very well, repeatedly waking my husband up through night as I thought he had died if I could not hear him snoring, having a tight chest, not being able to talk and breathe at the same time, the palpitations, stomach pains, constant feeling of dread and panic- I became worried I had some terminal disease. My GP immediately diagnosed severe depression and anxiety.
My reaction "I don't feel depressed". I was in the eye of the storm- when you are living it, you do not see it coming. My GP signed me off work for 8 weeks and prescribed beta blockers (they slow your heart rate- the same medication they give to people who have had or are at risk of heart attacks) and antidepressants.
When I switched off my autopilot and was left with just me and how I felt, I understood I was seriously depressed. We tried to go to see a gig for my birthday as we had had tickets for months for a band my husband wanted to see and I ended up running out of the venue after half an hour and being sick in the street as I had a major panic attack, I was then shaking and being sick for 12 hours and could not speak for a few hours. I felt really really ill, physically. Which scared me as when mental problems turn physical then you know you are in trouble.
When you are depressed and you consider getting in the shower, all you see is a never ending list of tasks "get out of bed, walk to bathroom, undress, open shower door, get in shower, turn on shower, check water temperature, wash hair, wash out shampoo, get conditioner, wash out conditioner, use shower gel, wash off shower gel......" it seems endless and exhausting and pointless as you will only have to shower again in 2 days. The simplest of tasks you find overwhelming. Sometimes, I have been almost catatonic just lying on the sofa staring at the floor for 6-8 hours. Unable to move or do anything. It can be crushing and almost paralysing.
At first, I did not have the energy to get up or dress or shower. I was told the antidepressants would not do anything for four weeks so I just had to hang tight. A month later, my GP tripled my dose of the antidepressants and 8 weeks later, I can tell with hindsight they have been subtley doing something as I am more able to talk to people and not as daunted by going to the shop.
I have learned anti depressants do not make you feel smiley and happy. They are supposed to reduce the severity of your mood swings. They level you out (in the words of my GP). So I think there is a misconception that people think anti depressants make you deleriously happy and spaced out. They don't. I am still as depressed and despondent and I still struggle to get out of bed and in the shower or do the simplest of tasks but I am more able to talk about it- so they have lowered my inhibitions. I am waiting for a therapist appointment and my GP has told me I will need "many months, if not years of therapy" so I'm not a tourist as far as depression goes. I don't throw my hands up and wail "I'm so depressed" if I'm having a bad day or my car breaks down.
Also antidepressants have physical side effects- nausea, agitation, insomnia, loss of sex drive, they can cause weight gain. It is different for all the different types of tablets but the main side effects to expect are nausea, tummy problems, tiredness or irritability. I had odd side effects in excessive yawning (literally, I was yawning all the time) and my pupils were very dilated for the first five weeks of taking the tablets so I was conscious I could not leave the house for fear of looking as if I was on illegal drugs.
I have to go back to work tomorrow as I get no more sick pay and if I don't we cannot pay the rent. I am still battling with the depression, but I have to get out of bed and go to work and take one day at a time as I don't have a choice. I'm not a lazy person so I hate the battle I have to will myself to get up and get dressed. I dislike my job, so i'm not sure if it is a good idea to be going back to work so soon, but we have also just had a £526 gas and electric bill we did not account for so now I have bigger problems to overcome than getting out of bed. You do not lose your sense of humour when you are depressed, I have not been sat around the house for 8 weeks crying and rocking. But I have not been able to do anything except lie on the sofa, have lots of rest and sleep and eat cookies. I have had a very short attention span.
I think it is a pro active journey. I can see how there is a debate about whether anti depressants actually do anything - for me I can feel they are doing something but they haven't made me bounce around giggling like Little Miss Sunshine and so I think if people are only mildly depressed and get given antidepressants, they won't work as they don't make you happy. They are more subtle. For severe, debilitating depression they do make a difference- they should help you talk to a cashier in a shop or help you actually describe how you feel to a GP or therapist.
I have read excercise is good for depression. Let me tell you, when you have chronic depression, the idea of leaving the house to jog or go for a walk or even trying to do some sit ups is like being told you have to climb mount Everest. For mild depression- try excercies, try herbal remedies.. for severe crushing depression- see your GP!! Make them listen to you.
I think that, although I wasn't diagnosed with depression (initially post-natal depression) until after my second child was born in 2004, I was always leaning this way, even as a young child.
I can remember feeling quite unhappy that I had been brought into this world through no fault of my own and at times was quite angry with my parents for having me. As much as I raged about being alive, I also had an unhealthy occupation with death (of which I was truely terrified). I used to look at all my toys and think about how they would still be around after I died and wonder what would happen to them - I know, not really what a child should be thinking about!
In my teens, after coming out of a violent relationship, I was feeling very low and a doctor did prescribe me anti-depressants at that time but I did not take them as I did not want to be 'one of those people' who relies on tablets to get themselves out of a funk.
My emotions always used to see-saw one way to the other, hopeless and down or feeling so great I could burst (manic).
About a year after my daughter was born and caring also for a very demanding two year old, I was finding it very difficult to cope and I got to a point where I was frightened about what in particular, my son was witnessing when for example, I rolled up into a ball and cried hysterically or shouted at him. I did not want to scare my children but I just could not control my emotions. On the really bad days, I would call my husband at work and ask him to come home or I would call my mum and ask her why she had had me and how I wished she hadn't (my poor mummy - but she understood before I did that I was ill).
They encouraged me to see a doctor although unbeknownst to me, they thought I had been pretty much going downhill weeks after my daughter's birth whereas I thought I was only just starting to struggle a year on.
Through my doctor, who I must say has been amazing, I was put on (and this time took) anti-depressants. The first lot didn't work so she changed them and thankfully we were able to find ones that worked better and didn't cause me too many side effects.
However, my sex life has suffered though whether through the depression itself or the medication I am not sure, which in turn, has caused stress and my husband to feel rejected. Even though he knows deep down that it is not him, there is always the question, "Does she just not fancy me any more?" Luckily, he is very understanding and supportive and I try to make the effort but having no sex drive makes it very hard as it makes you realise that you are not as you used to be.
I also from time to time suffer from insomnia and agitation in my limbs at night but at least I am alive and living my life in a fairly 'normal' way, thanks to my treatment.
I have since been diagnosed with severe depression and despite one attempt when I was feeling better, to wean myself off anti-depressants (which my doctor monitored), I had to go back on them three months later and am still on them today. I don't mind so much now but I do hope that I do not have to be on them for ever. Don't know why really - I suppose every time you take one, or every time your partner asks "have you taken your tablet today?" reminds you that you are ill in some way.
During my illness, I have not wanted to live. I have struggled to get up every morning but having two young children helped me to carry on and I got great support from my husband, mum and dad when things became too much.
What I regret the most is, at times, scaring my children and on a couple of occasions losing control and smacking harder than was necessary or shouting louder than was warranted because I couldn't cope properly. I will be ashamed of that forever. Thankfully that never happens now and time-outs are all that are ever used these days although I still do shout on occasion but I am only human!!!
This is also quite hard to admit but I did cut my wrists after a terrible row with my husband during which he called me a selfish bitch. This was so out of character for him, I just felt that he and my children would be better off without this depressed, 'crazy' woman living with them. I don't think it really was a serious attempt at suicide looking back, but a sign to those around me that I really needed serious help. My dose was upped at this time and my doctor also sent me for CBT (Cognitive Behavourial Therapy) in order to get me to try to look at things differently and to focus on what was important and how to get through certain situations.
I did find this really useful and it certainly gave me the tools I needed to deal with day-to-day situations without exploding with anger or crumpling into a tearful mess.
These days, my medication helps to take the edge off of the extremes of the illness so that the lows aren't too low to cope with and the highs aren't too manic. You still have good and bad days but you are much more able to get out of bed and get through them like someone not on medication would. They are not essentially 'happy' pills. You will not find that you no longer have a care in the world but you will find that they help you through what can be a very dark and lonely time.
What we need to remember is, that often, severe depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain and a person can't just snap themsevles out of the behaviour this imbalance is causing. It needs, if appropriate, to be dealt with,with the help of medication.
To anyone who thinks a loved one might be suffering from something more than just the blues, get them to think about whether they might benefit from a chat with their doctor.
If you are someone who is struggling to cope with day-to day-life over a consecutive period of time and think you may be depressed see your GP as soon as possible. These days not so much stigma is attached to 'mental illness' as there used to be and most doctors are very understanding. It doesn't mean you are 'crazy' - just that your physiological make-up is slightly out of kilter and there should be no shame in that.
GET HAPPY BACK!
Thanks for reading. x
also on Ciao
I have been a sufferer of depression since the age of 16 however I believe my experiences with this illness were ground within me from an early age, and for me personally I am more than sure that my depression is genetic due to such high family depression rates throughout history.
Since my initial suffering and actual recognition however at the age of 16 I was prescribed a mild beta blocker drug to help me to calm down and lower my stress and anxiety. I continued with these for a while and did very well, completing A levels, onto a degree and then my mother fell ill with a brain tumour and I had to leave university, deal with the everyday whilst this was happening and then nurse her back to health on her return home.
I did all of this and was very numb throughout however when I returned to university in the september of that year my depression hit at a much higher degree, and anxiety with meeting people and social situations was highly apparent. I would go to uni, go home and make sure I wouldnt have to go out or see anyone until uni the next day. This of course caused problems with freinds and the general social life that uni brings with it. I eventually had to leave as I could not face it anymore.
Upon my return home I tried to work and with little success, my depression had set in deeply and I started a course of anti depressants, citalopram. This was a battle within itself to gain these drugs as I went through a line of doctors some of which just put my illness down to stress, some refused to put me on medication but instead told me to join the 6 month waiting list for counselling and then I found a doctor who listened completly. They are out there and they will help and listen its just sourcing out doctors who will.
I started the course of medication and was also put onto the list for pschotherapy, so the 2 combined was in time to work together.
My initial consultation with the psychotherapist was emotional, traumatic and yet I left the room and my whole body weight was lighter and my head much clearer. I continued with this as well as neuro linguistic programming for about a year, and it re established who I was, helped me to achieve goals and it was the best treatment I could have received.
Dont get me wrong its not an easy thing to do, many weeks I couldnt bare to go to counselling and just wanted to curl up in a ball at home, but my partner always forced me and I always felt so much better afterwards. The drugs were along side this and with this combination you can get the best treatment and therapy for depression.
I started to recover well and then a few years later my depression hit when I fell pregnant. I suffered with ante natal depression and then post natal also, which caused my higher depths of depression that I had not experienced before. I was incredibly low to the point of suicide on some levels. I kept going to the doctors and eventually they referred me to a psychiatrist who advised me to go on a stronger anti depressant sertraline which I beleive has saved my life.
I saw various psychologists once again and continue to be on a high dose of sertraline everyday. The difference however now is that I know I am a sufferer of depression, I know the signs the signals and the downfalls, so I try to divert them and manage them. When you are a sufferer this is the key to existance and to live a normal and happy life.
To find experiences you enjoy, to take your medication if you need it, to have counselling and to establish routines and hobbies in your life which fill up your day and you enjoy.
Its the lowest mental illness and people that dont suffer have no idea of its consequences, however there is help out there, and medication is a temporary way for some people, but psychotherapy is the way forward to maintain a level of everyday acheivement and happiness.
I now have blips with my depression, so when I feel it seeping in I immeidately try and reverse it. I go for a walk, have a nice meal, cook, read, see a freind, go to the cinema, exercise and running with my ipod has helped me incredibly. Just do something, anything even if you slightly enjoy it and by managing the illness you maintain it and keep it locked within the brain rather than leaking into each area of your life.
I really appreciate you reading this as it has taken me a very long time to write, however do be warned that this article is long and may sound disjointed in places.
I'm not looking for sympathy, I am writing this for myself and also in the hope that someone else can benefit from my experience.
-Takes a deep breath-
This is something which I have contemplated writing about for some time now but have never had the courage to do so. It is quite a tricky subject and a hard one to understand, and something that some people are not willing to learn about. I think people need to be more aware of depression and the signs, symptoms and causes as the more it is aired the more we can help each other overcome this dreadful illness that affects so many of us through our lives.
Depression is an illness which affects many of us, and many of us suffer in silence. It is an illness which the sufferers are afraid and or are embarrassed to talk about. It is said that roughly at this time 1 in 4 people suffer with depression at some point in their life. So that means people that are around you may be suffering in silence with this illness.
The human mind is a powerful thing - keeping it healthy is vital, anyone can get depression at anytime in their life. Have a healthy balanced happy lifestyle and try to avoid stressful situations. If you think you may have depression or you have more bad days than good days then seek help, as once depression grabs hold of you it is hard and takes a lot of effort to get back on top again.
-------What is depression?-------
Depression is often the word used when people feel down or sad, however clinical depression is an illness which affects ones life, each sufferer will experience depression in a different way to another some may experience it in a mild form, whereas for others it may be more severe. The onset of depression can be caused by many things, and you never know when it will creep up on you.
It is a debilitating illness that takes over making you feel empty and lost, lifeless and worthless. It feels like there is a heavy cloud crushing you, and you see the world through a glazed teary eye. Everyday simple tasks seem near impossible and you feel like the world is against you. Everything feels clouded over, making you feel like a different person. You forget who you are, and how to live and be happy. This depression takes over your life and drains all the energy and life out of you, making you feel lost and scared as the world passes you by without you realizing it.
You lose interest in everything you loved and enjoyed, you find it hard to concentrate and focus on things for long periods of time. Irritable, agitated, restless, and exhausted but not able to sleep or relax.
At least that's how it feels for me.
-------My personal journey through depression-------
I have suffered with depression for about 8 years now, before I was diagnosed as having this disabling illness I knew very little about it. At first when I started getting symptoms I had no idea what was wrong with me. I have always been a sensitive person but a lively bubbly character who was always the life and soul of the party. In my college years I was confident, outspoken, and colourful, always up for a laugh and enjoying life to the full.
All a person ever needs is to be loved; we all crave care and attention from others and to be accepted. In today's hard fast world, it is easy to neglect loved ones and people forget to let others know how special they are to them and how much they mean to them. How you treat others really does have an impact on the way they feel. If someone says something nice to you, compliments or praises you it makes you feel good. Smiling at someone even someone you don't know, it can make their day. How often when you walk out of your front door do people smile or say hello to you as you walk down the street, it is very rare. It is so easy to feel lonely in life even though there are people all around us. It's almost as if people don't care for each other anymore, because life is going so fast.
The little remarks you make to people in a jokingly way you may feel are funny, but these can hurt.
It is hard to say what exactly caused my depression, a combination of events through my life. Parents have the biggest impact on their children. I was the oldest child of three and to be honest I don't have many happy memories from my childhood, I don't think my parents were very happy together and my mother was always a bit hysterical and thinking back she showed some odd behaviours, I don't think she was a happy person. I don't feel like I had a maternal bond with my mother, and my father didn't have much time for us. My brother was a good 8 years younger than me and my sister was about 4 years younger than me, I felt my mother favoured my brother and she even admitted having a favourite and I was said to be a 'hard' baby. My sister and I would fight like cat and dog all the time.
When I was at the tender age of thirteen my mother had an affair, my sister and I knew about this my mum was not ashamed to tell us about it and we even met the man - as my mum would take my sister and I to the social club with him. Some time later my mum decided to end the relationship with my father and she left her children behind, I must have been about fifteen at the time my dad was bitter and angry and I was the one to bare the brunt of his anger, he became so strict with me and I felt suffocated, I remember he would often run up the stairs to come and smack me and my sister so we would put books in our pyjamas to stop it from hurting. I was never allowed to have fun and do things other teenagers were doing and my dad restricted my life and I often got grounded, I became scared of my dad one day when I came home he asked me where I had been I said that I had been at a friends house, he had been checking up on me and knew I had been at a boy's house, he was so angry with me he pushed me so hard across the kitchen I landed by the front door.
I felt miserable and unloved and felt like I could never do anything right, feeling incredibly low I sat at the kitchen table and had several packets of pills I was a blubbering mess and wanted to end my life I was all over the place fortunately the pills were all in plastic bottles where you had to line up the arrows to pop off the lid, I could hardly see in front of me so I couldn't even open the bottles. No one ever found out. My mum's friend who lived in the next street knew I was miserable and I had had enough of living there, so she suggested that I should go live with my mum. Although I wasn't happy with my mum for what she had done, I decided to go visit her; she lived close to my then boyfriend and I had little choice over what to do as my life was hell. I decided that I would be better to live with my mum and when I told my dad this he quickly pushed me out the door telling me he didn't want to see me again and my sister was angry at me as she felt like I was deserting her.
My dad stopped me from seeing his mother, I was very close to my Nan and I adored her she was a lovely sweet lady and when she passed away my dad forbid me to go to the funeral, on the day I stood and watched from afar as they took my Nan into the church.
-------Life with my mother-------
My mum was the opposite to my dad she let me do as I wanted so I had no restrictions on my life, I stayed at my boyfriends house over night and at the age of seventeen I became pregnant. When I told my mum she cried and told me I wouldn't be able to cope. I was surprised by her reaction, soon after my daughter was born my mum seemed jealous and she would tell me at the weekend my daughter was hers. I had been with my then boyfriend for 2 years before my daughter was born, during my pregnancy he became angry quite easily and would often lash out at me and he gave me a nose bleed I was quite upset and sat in the bathroom crying. Once my daughter was born he became more violent and aggressive towards me, the slightest thing would make him go mad and he would hold me up against the wall with his hand around my throat holding a knife to me. I never told anyone about the way he treated me, but I would often have bruises and people would ask me why I always had bruises, I would make out I had no idea. A year later our relationship came to an end.
Not long after my daughter was born my Nan (on my mothers side) only got to hold my daughter once she was so happy and proud to have a granddaughter, not long after she went into hospital where she suffered with lung cancer and spent her last days there. This too caused me a great deal of sadness as like my other Nan I had quite a close bond with her in comparison to the rest of my family.
My mum was going away on holiday and wanted me to go, I didn't want to as I was still upset over the breakup of my relationship, but she insisted. I met someone whilst there and spent a lot of time with him over the week, my mum said I should go live with him and she had me packed up, and took me to his mother's house a week later. After a cup of tea and a brief chat she left me there. I was there for a year and I was feeling isolated and lonely, I was a city girl living in the middle of nowhere. It was making me feel unwell as I wasn't happy there, it started to effect my health so my mum said we could come back and live with her and put our stuff into her house whilst we found somewhere, so we did.
Two weeks after being at my mum's she became erratic and moody, she decided she hated my boyfriend and she acted very jealous. She acted very childish and became moody very easily, one day she had an argument with us and she kicked us out, it was 8pm at night my daughter was 2 years old and we had no where to go. We ended up sleeping on the floor in a flat next to the restaurant where my boyfriend had just got a job. When we had found somewhere to live we had to go back to get our belongings from my mum's house, she had piled all of our things up on the drive and our clothes were in oil and everything was just chucked outside. I was shocked, trying to get our things into the van whilst watching my 2 year old daughter who was rummaging through things that were not safe whilst my mum and sister stood there laughing.
A lot of house moving (not through choice as we were renting) and other stressful events and a couple of years passed without me seeing or hearing from my family. All the while my boyfriend was working long hours while I was home a lot with my daughter.
-------The symptoms start to show-------
One day I started feeling nauseous and the feeling remained with me over a few days, I was feeling worse and worse as this horrible feeling wasn't going away, 2 weeks later I went to see the doctor who seemed puzzled and couldn't find anything physically wrong with me, in fact she didn't even give me much time or take me seriously. So I left feeling worse, as I was feeling bad and still had no idea why. I didn't get better, I was feeling rough and exhausted unable to relax or sleep and I was finding it difficult to finish a meal. I wasn't feeling like myself at all, I was feeling very low in mood and there were no signs of me getting better; after several trips to the doctors where they didn't seem to be interested and seemingly have the prescription printed off for tablets to stop me from feeling nauseous already. I have never been a great believer in the use of medication to treat any illness so I was very reluctant to actually take the tablets I was prescribed, however the feeling of nausea eventually forced me into starting to take them.
After several months of taking these tablets I started to become dependant if not addicted to them. It was becoming to the point where I would be taking them prior to me feeling ill as a precautionary measure, almost like setting a bear trap outside your front door just in case a bear came along. Despite my taking the tablets physically I did not see any alteration in the way that I actually felt, and they seemed to be nothing more than a placebo. I then returned to my local GP and insisted upon seeing a different doctor, he seemed more helpful than the others that I had seen previously although he wasn't sure what was the cause of my illness he suggested that a low fat diet in conjunction with me eating little and often may be the solution to my problem. By this time I was feeling desperate to try anything to alleviate this illness that I seemed to be suffering from. So I immediately made my way to the supermarket with renewed hope and scoured the shelves for low fat labelled food. For the first few weeks of me changing over to this new diet I did find there to be a slight upturn in my general well being however the lack of fat in my diet did lead to my overall body mass becoming less and less to the point of me weighing as little as 6 stone.
I spent most of my days lying around with little energy and I struggled with every day normal activities, I felt completely lost and empty. I was a complete mess I would break down in tears and have no idea why. I became agitated and restless but I was unable to relax, my sleep pattern was all over the place. I couldn't get to sleep my brain would go into auto pilot and worrying thoughts would go through my mind. I found myself waking several times in the night feeling panicked finding it impossible to relax to get back to sleep. I was unable to focus and find enjoyment in anything which I would normally enjoy doing, nothing was fun anymore. I was lifeless and felt hopeless, I would walk around in a daze and everything seemed dull almost like all the colour was sucked out of the world. I needed reassurance all the time; I didn't trust my own judgments anymore. My thoughts were irrational and obtrusive, and I would have disturbing images of nasty things happening to me or people that I cared for, vivid images that were horrific. I felt like my life was no longer worth living and I wished I was never born, I felt so insecure. I started getting fears of eating certain foods as I believed they would make me be sick, and I had formed a phobia of being sick. I would read the labels on packets of foods before I would eat anything to make sure they were 'safe' for me to eat.
Feeling worse than I had ever felt I went back to see my doctor, I was dehydrated and lethargic. I went in the room sat down and lent my self on the desk holding my head in my hand hardly able to sit up, before I was able to speak tears were running down my face. I didn't need to speak she said straight away that I needed to go to hospital. I had the look of dread on my face and refused, as I was scared. She said go home and if you changed your mind phone me and you can go straight to hospital. It wasn't long after that I was on my way to hospital; I was dangerously underweight and completely dehydrated and lucky to be alive. I was put on a drip to rehydrate me. They prodded and poked me and done a few routine tests but they didn't find anything physically wrong with me.
My daughters Nan came to visit me in the hospital, she looked worried and she said to me "I think you should see your mum" I was weak and vulnerable; she contacted my mother who came to visit me in hospital. She stood by my bedside and looked at me in disgust and told me how pathetic I was, she ripped me apart and left. I lay there feeling empty the tears rolled down my face and the elderly lady next to me said "Take no notice of her" I said," That was my mother" she gasped and looked appalled!
I was booked in for some tests and was sent home, feeling worse as nothing was done and still no answers as to why I was feeling so dreadful. I just wanted an answer - a cure, I had been feeling bad for so long and I was at my peak of my illness. My mother started visiting again she picked my daughter up from school on the way and would sit and play with her. I felt like she was only ever interested in my daughter. She never showed any love or affection towards me, and I never felt like she cared.
Over the next couple of months I was back and forth to the hospital having every test you can think of, some of which were very unpleasant. I was fragile and delicate but not treated that way, as I sat in the corridor after having a rather horrible test feeling empty and numb with tears in my eyes a lovely nurse came over to me, she comforted me in a soft voice and was very caring and she listened to me, she made me feel like a person. She went and got me a couple of chocolate biscuits and offered them to me, I felt incredibly unwell and was eating very little I was still on a diet of low fat plain food anything was a struggle, she said to just nibble on one. She told me to eat whatever I wanted when I got home whenever I wanted, even chocolate if that's what I liked. She was very comforting and reassuring. It just goes to show that being nice to even person a day can really help. I will always remember her and be forever thankful to her but she will never know that she made a difference to my life.
-------Finally the doctors get it right-------
After having every test possible with all the results coming back clear there was nothing physically wrong with me, I was eventually diagnosed with clinical depression. This was hard to come to terms with, I was hoping to feel relieved once I had an answer to what was wrong with me but instead I was distraught as I knew there was no cure - no quick fix, and I felt ashamed and stupid. Since it took the doctors and health professionals so long to take me seriously and even longer to diagnose me, by this time I was a complete mess.
I was then prescribed anti depressants, which I didn't have any faith in and was very sceptical about; I thought how can a pill make me happy? I didn't start taking them straight away but eventually caved in as I was at my lowest point. After some time of taking them (they usually take about a month to take affect) I didn't feel any different or better, so returned to see my doctor where I was prescribed a different anti depressant and was told that different anti depressants react differently for different people. The side effects made me feel worse and even persevering with them it didn't get any better. I felt like a 'lunatic' and taking two different kinds of medication 'happy pills' and tablets to ease the feeling of nausea was making me feel spaced out and strange. Other than making me feel crazy the medication did nothing to improve my well being, I was also referred to see a councillor at my doctors surgery, after two meetings she really didn't seem to have any answers or know what to say so I was then referred to see a psychiatrist - "great, "I'm a complete mental case" was the thoughts that were going through my head. I thought there was something terribly wrong with me to need to see a psychiatrist.
I wasn't sure what to expect on my first meeting with a psychiatrist, I sat in the room feeling very uncomfortable. I was just asked questions, after leaving I thought was that it, little advice or comfort was gained from my first visit. I went back a month later and had a meeting with a different psychiatrist he asked me questions which made me feel belittled, while he sat there with a grin on his face, it was almost as if he wanted to laugh. He stared at me inanely whilst nodding his head and spoke to me in a slow voice as if I was stupid; At least that was how I felt at the time.
My mental state was no better, I was an anxious mess so far nothing had helped me I went back to see my GP who suggested I tried_ St Johns Wart_ which is a natural anti depressant that can be bought from a chemist. I was quite surprised that they were £16 for a box which would last me a month, after coming to the end of my month's supply I didn't feel like they were doing anything for me other than making me feel spaced out and strange, so I decided to come off them. A couple of days later I was in town with my daughter and I experienced a full blown panic attack for the first time in my life. I was quite close to Boots so made my way down to the pharmacy and asked for help - they just asked if there was anyone they could contact to come and get me, as my partner was at work the only other person was my mother, I sat there waiting for 45 minutes I felt scared and upset from what I had just experienced. I can vividly remember my mother coming down the escalator she stood in front of me, looked at me and said "come on then!" as she walked off, I walked behind her with tears in my eyes as I felt so uncared for.
I made another appointment to see my GP who told me that I had had a panic attack, could I feel any worse? I was diagnosed with having clinical depression, anxiety, panic attacks, health anxiety, and OCD - all of these mental health problems are linked, they all suck the life out of me and drain my energy, constantly exhausted and looking incredibly unwell as I was pale, washed out and scarily underweight. My eyes were only ever half open and everything seemed blurred. I was a complete mess, I was incredibly tense and on edge all the time, crying all the time. I would lie on the sofa lifeless but would feel very agitated and irritable unable to relax, but my mind would be wired constantly ruminating and worrying, almost like I'm having a conversation in my own head, and I would have unpleasant thoughts. Looking in the mirror I didn't know who I was anymore.
I was referred to see another psychiatrist for my OCD, he asked me to shake his hand and after told me that he had had his hand in the public toilet bowl and that he hadn't washed his hands since he left his house that morning. He also remarked upon how he had eaten his lunch without washing his hands first - I felt repulsed. I left feeling quite disgusted and thought that he was more crazy than me as he sat there quite proudly telling me he had his hand in the toilet. Needless to say I didn't go back.
I started to attend S.H.A.R.E (Self help relaxation exercise) course which my doctor had arranged for me, this is a course that helps people that suffer with anxiety and panic attacks. I had a volunteer driver from the course come and collect me, I felt incredibly anxious on the way over, he was very nice and made conversation as he knew how I felt as he had felt the same way when he first attended.
As I walked into the building to get my name badge, I took a seat (near the back) and sat there feeling incredibly tense. I looked around the room which was full, with people of all different ages - they all looked so normal I thought to myself. I sat listening intently, as the man started talking he told us that he knows how we were all feeling as he too along with his assistant had all suffered with panic attacks and mental health problems.
As the weeks went on I started to feel ever so slightly relaxed and felt more confident, as a group we learnt relaxation techniques and how to cope and manage panic attacks. I also gained knowledge on anxiety and panic attacks and this helped greatly! After a few weeks at the end of each session there was hot and cold drinks available so we could socialise with others in the group, this did take some courage as we were all timid and nervous, over the course we all started to get to know each other and could share our feelings with one another, this was very comforting to be able to talk to people who looked genuinely interested and listened! It was nice to know I wasn't the only person and others could understand me and what I was going through. By the end of the 12 week course I had learnt so much and I left feeling positive and had gained some confidence. There was the option of returning to repeat the course at any time if needed which was also nice to know.
If you suffer with anxiety or panic attacks then ask your doctor about the course, as for me it was really helpful. It was more relaxed as you are in a group so you don't feel isolated and the volunteers understand and can relate to how you feel.
-------On the road to recovery------
I didn't bother going back to see any health professional as I felt they made a mockery of me and no one took me seriously, I didn't feel like they really understood me or even cared to help.
I was free of medication, and decided not to go back to see any health specialists. I was however more knowledgeable about my illness and had a greater understanding of my mind, I had hit rock bottom - I knew that I had to get better myself, I didn't want to be in this place anymore.
This was the turning point for me, understanding depression and learning how to regain my confidence and realising that I wasn't a 'lunatic' I wasn't a weak person for having this illness. It is said that people with mental health problems are intelligent beings who are more attuned to life.
-------My self made treatment-------
I visited a Chinese herbal medicine clinic, where I explained how I was feeling and that I was feeling nauseas and unable to sleep. They recommend that I had a course of acupuncture and they also made me some herbal tea which looked strange and tasted vile! After the first session of acupuncture I walked out feeling relaxed and dreamy, that night I had a sound sleep. The course of acupuncture really did help me to get my sleep pattern back on track which was vital as sleep makes everything seem a lot brighter and it gave me the energy to live!
I started to practice yoga at home; yoga not only gives you a good work out improving posture and body shape, but it is also great for relaxation making the mind and spirit healthier. Yoga also benefits by boosting self esteem and improves concentration.
Retraining my thoughts and changing my behaviour; change is hard, very hard! I had to think more positively and believe in myself. Having some understanding of my illness, I knew that when I was/am feeling bad I would usually think something was physically wrong with me and I would worry, this would mean I wouldn't eat well which would make me feel worse and then I would panic even more. Now I know it is all in my mind - I tell myself that I am okay and find things to do to keep my mind active and busy so I'm not thinking about my health. A great way of doing this is through Escapism for example I would watch movies that don't have a dark tone to them, anything that is easy to follow as you can lose yourself in a movie and forget about anything else that is going on in the world.
Eating little and often helped me to build my body weight back up and improved my appetite, I started to introduce food that I had cut out of my diet back in.
Focusing on the positives in my life - it is easy to forget just how much good there is in life when you are in the 'black hole'
Filling my time, having things to do and keeping busy but having balance in life is important.
I went to my daughter's school and asked the head teacher who knew my mother, if there was any work that I could do I was honest and open about my mental health and she was very understanding as she had had bouts of depression, she offered me some part time paid work assisting in the classroom, and I also became a lunchtime supervisor as a position became available she offered it to me. She also said that I could come into school anytime and they would find tasks for me to do, I loved working with the children as they are a breath of fresh air and they can make you laugh and smile without even trying, they are so innocent and I loved working there. I took up the offer to do extra work, I was helping out in the office with paper work and other duties and I worked alongside teachers, and I was making my own activities which I carried out with small groups of children. This gave me a great confidence boost and gave me something to focus my energy on. My daughter always looked proud when she was to see me around the school, and I was able to keep up with what she was doing at school.
Along with other self help strategies, my health was starting to improve although I was still a long way off being stable, still in the midst of depression and still quite anxious and on edge but I was going in the right direction.
My dad began visiting me once a week, but had started to make excuses about why he couldn't make it and then he eventually stopped coming round altogether.
My mother had tried to get my sister to make an effort but she really wasn't all that interested, we were always having cat fights when we were kids as siblings do and it felt strange seeing her now that we were adults we never got to know each other.
My mum started interfering a bit too much once again and was showing strange behaviours, she would pick and pull me apart at every opportunity, and she really knew how to bring me down. She wanted to control my life and she seemed very jealous when I was happy. She had got angry with me and we had a fall out over something, she came banging on my door, and was screaming through the glass - of course I didn't open the door when she was frightening my daughter and making me feel uncomfortable, she threatened to call social services on me - not long after social services were on my door step, the lady was very kind and said that I would be better off cutting my mother out altogether because her behaviour wasn't healthy and she was only cause me pain and problems. I have not seen my mother since, although she would curb crawl outside my house and daughters school, and sometime later I had a second visit from social services and the reason for them coming out made me believe my mother had contacted them again, as no one else had reason too.
My brother had become withdrawn and shy and was scared to do what he wanted to as he was stuck in the middle of our parents who would use him against each other. Needless to say I have no contact with him either, which I feel was more the fault of my parents as opposed to him.
The fact that my family have nothing to do with me and over the years that they have been in and out of my life causing me pain and grief. It still saddens me to not have my family around me, and it will always be something that plagues me.
-------How am I doing today?-------
While my mental health may not be brilliant, I have a better outlook on life and I am fighting my depression, it will always hover over me and be in the background.
Now I just need to work on my other mental health problems, which seem far more difficult for me to know where to start.
I must be a nightmare to live with, I am very lucky that my partner has stuck with me for the last 12 years, although he doesn't fully understand what I am going through he has been a rock and has given me light and happiness in my life. I am the proud mother of 2 beautiful children who are my world. I now have my own family who bring me happiness and love.
8 years on and I am still living with depression, but I do not fear it anymore, instead I am aware of it and understand it. So I am able to fight it once I notice it dragging me back in.
Take care of the ones you love, and make sure you remind them how special they are to you.
Thanks to all my regular readers who have given me confidence, and helped me grow. As this site along with some of the other review sites which I participate in have given me something new and exciting to focus on and I have met some great people along the way.
This is my personal account of my depression, these are my thoughts and feelings - I am aware that each sufferer has a different perspective and what can help one person may be of no help to another. Do what helps you to get on the road to recovery.
Although this is long this is only a snippet of my experience of depression, and factors and causes.
-------Signs and Symptoms-------
Here are just SOME of the signs and symptoms
* Losing interest in the things you would normally enjoy.
* Feeling tired all of the time and having no energy.
* Difficulty in sleeping and waking early or through the night.
* Having a poor appetite, no interest in food and losing weight/ Comfort eating.
* Finding it difficult to concentrate and think straight.
* Feeling restless, tense and anxious.
* Losing self-confidence.
* Avoiding other people.
* Finding it harder than usual to make decisions.
* Feeling useless and inadequate
* Thinking about suicide. If you feel this way, talk to somebody about it - get help!
-------Places to find extra help-------
If you or anyone close to you is suffering or you suspect is suffering from clinical depression, then these are a couple of useful websites and organisations that can offer help:
Depression Alliance Tel: 0845 123 23 20; http://www.depressionalliance.org/; email:
Information, support and understanding for people who suffer with depression, and for relatives who want to help. Self-help groups, information, and raising awareness for depression.
http://www.depressionuk.org/; Email: email@example.com
A national mutual support group for people suffering from depression.
Samaritans: Helpline: 08457 90 90 90; (Ireland): 1850 60 90 90; http://www.samaritans.org/; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
National organisation offering support to those in distress who feel suicidal or despairing and need someone to talk to. The telephone number of your local branch can be found in the telephone directory.
SaneLine: Tel. 0845 767 8000; http://www.sane.org.uk/SANEline
A national out-of-hours telephone helpline offering emotional support and information for people affected by mental health problems. Open from 6pm to 11pm every day of the year.
All comments and questions are welcome.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, it means a lot to me.
The dictionary definition of Depression that I can relate to the most is this: "a depressed or sunken place or part; an area lower than the surrounding surface."
That's how it feels when I'm having a down day. Lower than everyone and everything else. And sometimes that will make me angry, sometimes that will make me numb but generally it will make me feel quite self destructive.
I've only ever really been able to describe how my depression feels to people I know who also have depression. I find that although my friends try to understand, I almost resent them for trying. But I'd hate them if they didn't.
Depression is a much under talked about and simplified subject. Someone who is depressed does not have to be crying all the time, they do not need to have anything obviously wrong with them and they can quite often be in a good mood.
Me personally, I've gotten to the stage where I have more good days than bad. More often than not I can continue as normal, I've almost learnt to control the overwhelming negative thoughts that sweep into my mind at a moments notice, I've learnt to control my panic attacks and I'm just becoming able to talk myself out of a black mood when one strikes.
However this being said I still sink into an abyss every few months or so, sometimes more often, sometimes less. It's not something I can predict or plan in my diary. Even if everything in my life on paper is working perfectly I can still for some reason feel the inescapable need to escape, run away, hide and be completly alone.
That's what my depression is simplified. A desperate craving to be alone. A intense want to be somebody else, somebody different, someone who isn't ruined. Logically I know that I am a good person, I am very lucky and the unfortunate events I have been involved in were just that - unfortunate and unpredictable. But it's almost like my brain is wired wrong, as if there are two switches and dependent on which is active creates the mood and my outlook on life. When it's on normal mode I can think logically, I can be optimistic. When it's on depressed mode, nothing makes sense and nobody can turn it around.
I guess everybodys experience with depression is different, for we all have it for our own reasons (Whether we are aware of them or not) and I think part of the reason I'm doing much better now than 3 or 4 years ago is that I've addressed what originally triggered mine as best I can, and it's allowed me; most of the time; to see through the twisted biased cloud that my depression can cause.
I sank into a horible atate around two years ago when my dad passed away and my mum was quiet ill. It felt like i had lost everything and i was only 18 years old. I had just started uni and everything was going wrong.
I felt shocked at first then angry at the doctors and then at my self. However i only remember crying three times mainly because i was incapableof crying. It felt like i needed to cry but i couldnt. Slowly depression set in. I stoped going out, talking to friends and going to work. I cut off every one who was close to me one way or another to minimise the hurt and pain.
I wouldnt get out of bed, always feel agitated and down and always worryied about what people thought of me. I wne tto the Doctor and told him i was feeling like ending it all and he put me on anti depressants (cytalapram) I must say they didnt help this hopeless feeling and i didnt take no more afterthe third month of nothing. Some people say it makes them feel better othere say it dosent touch them and some have bad lows with them.
Slowly however the days went by and i found new things to ocupy my mind such as work and friendS and uni again and the year past buy. Christmas and farthers day still hurts but the best advice is it doesnt get easyier in time it just sinks in a little more. And the depression slowly faded for me. Just try to think positive.
Since I was about nine I have suffered(oh how I hate that word) on and off with depression. However, until I had a major "case" I'd never really understood what it was. I had always been a fairly reserved and in some cases pessimistic person so it seemed as though I was just a little more reserved and withdrawn than usual. To be honest I always thought depression was a something and nothing illness, until it happened to me.
I had just turned 16 when I was diagnosed with depression. In three weeks I'd lost a stone and a half in weight, become very withdrawn, barely spoke and according to one of my teachers at school "had a dead look" in my eyes. It lasted around 9 months in total and was the worst experience of my,relatively short, life so far. Many people thought I was just a bit down, that it's the same for all teenagers and I was overreacting but I guess I know better. I am perfectly sure it wasn't just teen angst.
In my case the cause was a variety of things. Firstly, it is present in my family. My nanan had a breakdown in her thirties and my grandad suffered with depression during his forties. However, until I was diagnosed with "clinical depression" I had no idea about this. Depression is rarely spoken about and still seems to be something we should be ashamed about and hide away as with many mental illnesses.
Secondly, I was under a lot of stress at school and in my personal life. I was a straight A* student and seemed to spend my life taking extra classes and the like. Up till then I'd coped well with the pressure and it felt like it was worth it to get the best grades. I can now safely say it wasn't.
My doctor also believed it could have be caused in part by Microgynon(I can't remember the exact spelling) the contraceptive pill I'd been taking. I can't say for sure if this is true as I came off the pill but it made no difference.
I have never known a feeling like being depressed and hope I'll never have to deal with it again. It felt like being completely alone no matter how many people were surrounding you. It felt like I was a burden to my friends an family and the guilt was unbearable. It felt like things would never improve, there was not even a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel. It felt like I would never smile or laugh again. Mostly it felt like the tears would never stop falling.
I was suicidal but any attempts I made were more a cry for help than anything else. I grew apart from my friends and boyfriend at that time and stopped trusting anyone. As in many cases I barely left the house and had little contact with other people. I had panic attacks at the thought of going outside or people I speaking to me.
I saw psychologists and psychiatrists but in my case these were of no use at all. This is a reflection on me rather than them as I don't give up personal information very easily and NEVER talk about my feelings or emotions(part of the problem I know.) In the end it gradually went away with the simple but painful process that is time. One thing that did help was getting a dog. Firstly, it gave me something to do and something to care for. Also, I had to go outside in order to walk him and so was forced to overcome the panic I felt at this.
Today I'm still affected by depression but not in the way I was 18 months ago. However, I'm doing all I can to make myself into the person I know I should be. I still have feelings of panic when talking to people I don't know very well and even that someone with speak to me as I walk down the street. Due to trust issues I also find it extremely difficult to form relationships with people. To try and sort these problems out I moved to France as an au pair where I knew no-one. Extreme, yes. Did it work, yes a little. I still have to force myself to speak and make eye contact with people but get better day by day.
Secondly, as my doctor recommended I stopped school as it would only make things worse I dropped out 3 months before my GCSE's. Thanks to some very kind teachers and understanding exam boards I still got grades in several subjects but know I'll never return to education. It just doesn't seem worth the risk in my eyes.
I also find it very difficult to think about the future without becoming anxious and upset. Until an event comes around I have very little idea it is going to happen. It is almost like I've lost my concept of the future(?)
I never talk about depression in general and am not yet in a place where I can make lighthearted jokes about it. Honestly, my greatest fear is that it will come back and I don't know if I would be strong enough to deal with it a second time. Strangely I do feel strong for overcoming depression even though I understand others don't see it that way.
Writing this has been a positive experience as I've never explained any of it before. Putting it all on paper(or computer rather) gets it out of my mind and has helped me to think about it more clearly. Depression does scare me but theres a little voice inside of me that says I won't let it hold me back and refuse to let it rule my life.
Oh boy - this is going to be controversial....
I've read a few of the reviews on here detailing some personal experiences with depression, some of which have been movingly honest and well written.
I want to add my own thoughts, but I'm aware that what I am going to say is controversial, so please be aware this review is placed squarely in the 'Opinion' corner....
It's also quite long, so those with ADD should click away now.
Depression and Me
I had depression - I think. I was 'diagnosed' with it, given anti-depressants, etc etc. I was unhappy, overweight, lacking direction, and miserable. I'd quit University, and thought that I'd probably never make much of my life. I ate too much chocolate, drank far too much, and generally wallowed in my own despair.
Why do I say 'I think'? Well, I think 'depression' is a catch-all diagnosis given out too freely these days. I think, far from being stigmatised as several reviewers have suggested, it's becoming increasingly socially acceptable, even common to claim 'depression'. A lot of people are unhappy - just look around you - does that make them depressed? No. It makes them unhappy, there's a significant difference. No-one ever suggested to me that perhaps, just perhaps, I was unhappy, not depressed. I wish they had - depression is a condition, unhappiness is a state of mind, and therein lies the essential point - agency. You can change your state of mind. You can't change a 'condition'. It's been imposed on you.
Why was I unhappy? Well, for one thing, I was 19, and still growing up. I was selfish to the point of monomania (as most teenagers are), I found my own life the most endlessly fascinating experience a person has ever gone through (cue some dreadful short stories and poems... oh the existential angst of BEING ME....), and this aimless navel-gazing and over-analysis of everything led me to believe that I had cause to be unhappy.
I wasn't terminally ill, I had a home, I had (some!) money, I had clothes to wear, food to eat, a job to do, friends to talk to, a family. Was I really the unluckiest person on earth? No, of course I wasn't.
So, having tried anti-depressants, and 'counselling' (offered through the CPN - the most unhelpful 'help' I've ever received...), how did I 'get better'? I stopped. I stopped thinking of myself as the helpless victim of circumstance, ill-fate, a illness inflicted on me by a vengeful deity, however you want to characterise it.
I decided that I was not going to believe in 'being depressed', I was going to believe in being happy, as opposed to unhappy, and that my motto would be: 'so, life sucks sometimes. What else is new?'
And do you know what? It worked. I'm not claiming to be Pollyanna (god, she was annoying), but I generally take life on the chin and smile at the end of each day.
Happiness is cool. Despite the fact that happy films don't win Oscars, happy television and radio is usually dismissed as facile, cheerful music is often treated as second rate ("so, you're 'depressed', and I see that you list your favourite band as Portishead, and your favourite song as 'Why does it always rain on me'? by Travis...."), trust me, happiness is cool. Try it. You might like it.
Depression in my family
My sister has 'suffered from depression' for some time now. Says her doctor. She's 26. She's intelligent and beautiful, talented, witty and very blessed. She doesn't feel it. She feels worthless. She self-harms and has attempted suicide.
Why? I wish I knew. I have all sorts of theories, but in the end, I don't actually believe it matters why. What matters is what you do about it. You have responsibility for your own life. If you don't put any effort it, you will get nothing out. Basic physics.
I know this may make a lot of people angry, but I honestly believe, with no malice or hurt intended, that if 'depression' is a condition of the mind, then the mind can overcome it. If you were diagnosed with high cholesterol, would you opt to continue eating a diet high in saturated fat, and taking no exercise, and say 'it's a condition, I can't help it'? I hope not.
I'm not (really, I'm not!) trying to say 'cheer up, misery, it's all in your head'. I'm saying that you have the cure within you. You have to try and find it. If you lie down and accept that a 'condition' has beaten you, that you 'can't help it', you're lying to yourself. You can try.
The power of the human mind is extraordinary - it can help people to beat apparently incurable illnesses, it can conjure up the most beautiful images in words, images, and sounds, it can grapple with the furthest reaches of the universe and the inner workings of human cells, it can cause you to reach out to a stranger in need, to run a marathon for a charity, to smile at a stranger. Doesn't that make you happy?