Welcome to the LAST week of Speak Up for Silence. If you want to learn more about this series, please read this. Also, be sure to visit Christine's blog as she's sharing another person's story. Today's post from Courtney is about what it's like to live with depression. I think it goes a great job of conveying how hard it can be to live with depression and I know it will help us be more compassionate to those who struggle with it.
It is absurd to me that there is still a massive stigma about mental illnesses especially depression when so many people are suffering with it. I think people have a hard time accepting these kind of illnesses because they cannot physically see it.
People in today's society need proof in order to believe something is really there. Just because something isn't physically there doesn't mean it isn't real, depression is such a hard and sometimes lonely thing to go through. It can be just as painful and hard as recovering from a physical injury. People suffering with depression find it hard to seek help and open up to people simply because they are scared of the reaction they will receive.
If someone has fallen over and hurt their leg, they automatically seek help for said issue. They aren't scared to go to the doctors if needed, they aren't scared to ring up family to explain said issue. With depression it is different, how can you explain something to someone that isn't really there, you haven't got proof of the injury to show anyone. The only person who can see and comprehend what is going on is you. The amount of times I have been told to ''pull myself together'' or ''just get out of bed, don't be so lazy'' is beyond. I would be a millionaire if I had a pound for every time someone said that to me. If only it was that easy to get out of bed or to feel okay.
You cannot just pull yourself together when suffering with depression, it is a crippling illness that consumes you. It takes every ounce of happiness and motivation out of you. There have been many days when I have had to call in sick to college just because I cannot physically get out of bed, the same as you would do if you had the flu. Just because you cannot see it doesn't mean it is not hard to deal with or I am not struggling.
The best way I can describe depression is like you are alive but drowning at the same time, you can feel yourself gasping for some air, for some relief from what is going on but sometimes you just keep sinking. On the days that I managed to get out of bed I would plaster a fake smile on my face and walk out the door. Do you know how hard it is to pretend you are okay to people, to not burst into tears the moment you talk to someone, do you know how hard it is just to ''pull yourself together'', well it's pretty damn hard let me tell you.
Depression is an invisible illness because like I said no one can see it. If I broke my leg people would make sure I am okay and would do everything they could to make my life that little bit easier, with depression they cannot see that I need someone to talk to or that I need a hug because I am trying to be strong and plaster that fake smile on my face. I know that if I don't tell anyone about what I am going through how can I expect them to help me which is true, but not everyone understands depression, they just brush it off and assume it isn't that bad. Sometimes trying to find someone to talk to about these issues is like finding a needle in a haystack.
I was diagnosed with depression when I was 15 and I had the crap taken out of me in school because of it. I was hardly ever in and when I was I could hear people saying things behind my back like ''oh she has finally turned up then, she definitely isn't getting far in life'' or I would randomly burst into tears sometimes all because it got too much for me to handle and I could hear people laughing behind my back. All I needed and wanted was someone to ask if I was okay or to give me a hug, I didn't need for them to judge me or be mean. But that is high school for you, everyone judges everyone else. I had friends don't get me wrong but I was sort of an outsider, they weren't friends I could open up to and tell anything too. Depression made me feel alone, I was surrounded by all my friends but still felt like I was the loneliest girl in the world. It felt like I was just sitting and observing these people that I wasn't really there.
I did manage to find friends that understood and were there for me in the end and they were a massive help in me feeling better. Don't get me wrong I still suffer with depression today, I always will. But I have an amazing support network that make those days just a little bit easier. I encourage anyone who thinks that they are suffering with a mental illness to seek help and don't be afraid too. Your mental health comes before anything and the earlier you get that help the easier it'll all be to handle. I am super glad I got the help when I got it, I am not in a much more stable place. Yes I take anti depressants to get to that place but if that one little pill can make me feel somewhat normal again then I will take that any day over feeling shit every second of everyday.
This concludes our Speak Up for Silence series. Thank you to everyone who has come back week after week to provide these brave souls with love, encouragement, and hope. An even bigger thank you to those of you who submitted your own posts to this series. You are stronger than mental illness. And you are not your mental illness.
Now, for the announcement! We are so excited to share that we will be hosting a Speak Up for Silence twitter chat on August 9th at 8pm EST! Please help us to spread the word on social media. We hope you can join us!