‘Do I look like the kind of person to be depressed?’

Here we go again - oversharing. It's something which I've been debating posting for a while and believe me I've written and rewritten this post a million times - but here we go. Above you see a GIF of me uber happy right? Naaaaah....

It’s a taboo subject which needs to be drawn out – whether we like it or not. I certainly don’t like talking about it – but sometimes you’ve have to push those boundaries. Make yourself feel uncomfortable for a brighter long run. I recently found myself mutter, “do I look like the kind of person to suffer with depression?”, whilst laughing – yet the fact remains I do. I really do struggle with depression, and I have done for three years. I, unknowingly, underlined one of the biggest problems with mental illness. 

It’s not visible – it’s easy to hide. It's not as if I have a broken leg or a visible illness - it's completely on the inside.

With any illness you have to treat it – and if you ignore it then it gets worse. The problem evolves and eventually will end up controlling a huge chunk of your life. I know this because it happened to me – and it still does. Guilty of ignoring it for far longer than I should have – and letting it paralyse me in many aspects of my life.

At first I had no idea what was wrong with me – I really didn’t know what was going on.

I went from feeling fine, content and confident to being a complete mess. I used to love socialising and being out, but suddenly the thought of being around people terrified me. I am talking I would spend 3-4 days at a time in my room, not getting up and not eating. If I did eat in all honesty I wouldn’t keep it down. I mean my world was picked up, shaken around a little and just thumped down. I had no idea why I felt the way I did - why I just couldn't feel happy.

I was confused by what was going on – I had no prior knowledge of depression – and just thought I was weird and alone. At the time I was 17, a little clueless and figured my biggest concern should be uni. I figured that I’d get over it. It wasn’t until I started to fail my alevels, alienate my friends and family that I realised I wasn’t going to get over it just like that. Maybe, just maybe, this wasn't my fault...

There is a huge taboo when it comes to depression – that people should ‘get over it’ – but like with any illness sometimes you need medical help. Just ‘getting over it’ won’t suffice and you need some guidance. You wouldn't go up to someone with a broken leg and tell them that they should just walk - because it's the same thing. Someone cannot just snap out of being depressed. 

And as for those people who say ‘just cheer up’ – can you fuck off? Believe me I wish I could just cheer up.

It took me a while to figure this out – I mean a while – and in this time I got progressively worse. I won’t go into details but there were hospital stays, experiences I don’t want to repeat and it was hell. I mean I was in the lowest point of my life I have ever been. I genuinely didn’t care whether I was around or not - and it killed those around me who cared. I was physically present - but nothing was going on behind my eyes. I felt numb to anything other than sadness - and my optimism disappeared completely. 

It took me a while to realise I needed medication to help me – not because I am crazy (come on, using that word means shit) but because at that time my body couldn’t regulate it’s emotions as it should. And you know what? That isn't my fault.  

From that point I tried a variation of medications; some highs, many lows. I mean believe me there were times I would call up those closest to me at 3am in the morning, saying all sorts of crap because I couldn't sleep, my mind was racing. The lows were bad, the highs were good until you realise they have to come down at some point.

Another thing I had to do was ween myself off of the negatives in my life and distract myself from it all – this meant getting out and doing things again. I hated every second of it - getting up seemed like a huge challenge let alone socialising with people.

It was hard realising that whilst everyone around me was having a crazy time out drinking, having fun – I was struggling to get out of bed and do simple things like shower. 

It took time – it took counselling – and it took me understanding what was going on with my body to be able to help myself. The one important thing I cannot stress enough is do not get into a relationship when you feel like this - you will cling to that person not because you love them, but because they make you feel safe and stable. 

The people who made it better for me were the ones who didn’t care and didn’t tiptoe around me. The people who believed I was strong enough that words wouldn't break me - but you get those who you know are treading on eggshells because they don't want to upset you.

The funny thing is that I had someone say to be a couple of weeks back, “you just don’t get it – you wouldn’t”. It’s funny because appearances can be deceiving and I’m not alone when people say it. Just because someone is laughing and joking doesn’t mean they’re okay. It's weird how much appearances hide what's really going on - they can, as always, be deceiving and tell a completely different story.

I find people are genuinely shocked when I tell them that like the switch of a light I can switch - but that's life. The way someone looks is 

There’s a snippet into my story – and one day I’ll be able to share the full extent of it. 

If you’re feeling similar you need to know you’re not alone – and believe me you will feel it – but talk to those closest. Even talk to a stranger (always on email kbjones@live.co.uk if you need a natter).

What's your opinion?

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