Saturday, June 9, 2018

I have depression and that is OK

Image from www.kcl.ac.uk


When I was fifteen I lost my step dad, in an absolutely horrendous way. We had the best relationship and I adored him, correction I still do. I will go into the loss of him another time.

This is where it all started at school I was "the girl who's dad jumped under a train" or "the sad girl that cries" and "that one that has therapy cos she's nuts". School arranged for me to see a school counsellor to help with my loss, but this just made for bullying instead. 

Over the years I tried to hide my depression and not admit there was anything wrong when in fact there was lots wrong, and I now know that it is OK to have depression I don't need to hide away and pretend everything is fine. 

I eventually got professional help when I was nineteen and this did and didn't help. I had eight weeks of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, CBT. You open up each week and try to see the positives and ways of dealing with the negatives. After eight weeks that's it you're cured and back on your own, I drove out of my last session to work so upset and confused I felt more alone than ever and wanted to drive straight into an oncoming lorry, I didn't thankfully. During my CBT sessions they gave me some great advice and techniques, but I was still alone. It made me open my eyes, I realised I have been suffering depression most of my life. In my first session she asked me to start at the beginning, right OK here we go, my dad died before I was born, I was raised by just my mum, (this is fine by me we have an amazing relationship she is my rock and my best friend, but the other children thought this was strange and again I was different and bullied for it at such a young age), excluded from joining in father day makes (this would be allowed now), made to sit in the back of my step dad's van I was hidden away sitting with the rubbish getting splinters in my legs, yes I have the scars, (completely different step dad we did not have a good relationship), moved area in secondary school year 8 and had to start again which is not as easy as you think, step dad died...and then now further in life my own marriage breakdown and the reality of being a single mum to two young children.

After the birth of my first child I had therapy again due to postnatal depression and many factors from my husband's family, this is when I was put on a number of different medications, as I had previously refused, but knew this time it wasn't just me, I needed to get better for my son. During my second pregnancy I had an amazing perinatal nurse who was an absolute life saver, she was always there and went out of her way all the time even during time off to still check in on me, she arranged meetings and lots of support. I also had an amazing midwife and health visitor, so much more support compared to my first pregnancy, although it did feel like they were waiting for me to crack.

Depression is a hard, sad and lonely time where you think everyone is judging you and without anyone to confide in it can make times seem dark and feel like giving up, my mum is amazing at everything until it comes to something being wrong with me whether I'm poorly, upset or my depression, she gets so frustrated that she doesn't understand or feels she cant fix things, this is why I have hidden my depression from mum and now I have learnt I cant talk to her but I still try to keep most of it away from her. In reality there are hundreds of people suffering with some form of depression and it's not embarrassing you're not mad and you're certainly not alone. I have found there are many people out there willing to help or just listen, which for me is the main thing just someone to listen without judging or having an opinion. Someone who doesn't know me or my life where I can just open up. 

I have people close to me telling me that there is no such thing as depression, I need to get on with it and snap out of it. These people love me and want the best for me, but they do not understand depression. It has been hard for me to hear this and made me feel like turning my back on them, locking myself away from the world, making me feel like I am in the wrong, I shouldn't have these bad feelings and that I am exaggerating my feelings. When really they have no idea, that their words could really do some damage and have done in the past. Now I understand depression more I know that everyone is different and deals with things in a unique way that is right for them. I just wish if people don't understand depression please don't try to help someone by telling them depression is overrated and everyone is jumping on the bandwagon, please just stay quiet and own up that you don't understand and try to just listen. Depression needs to be a more talked about subject and the stigma removed.

I now know that I suffer with depression and I know I have good days and bad days, but that is OK. I stay strong for my children and I now accept that is OK to have bad days and it's OK to cry and feel down, tomorrow is a new day and hopefully it will be a better day. I have learnt to write things down when I feel bad and talk it out with someone. And a smile or laugh everyday is so important, it really is the best medicine!

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