Depression can be a bit of a taboo subject. It seems to be a word that some people callously throw about. But those who actually suffer from depression don’t see it as that. They see it as an illness that they aren’t able to shift. It can go to the back for a little and you can feel fine, but then it can swamp you suddenly and there’s not a lot you can do about it.
Since Robin Williams passed away and it became apparent that he had suffered from depression, lots of people have ‘come out’, shall we say, and said they have depression. Lots of people are talking about it and it’s become less of an awkward subject. But it’s not just Robin Williams who is putting depression out there for us.
One of my friends from school suffered from depression for a long time and it could get incredibly bad to the point that she couldn’t even get out of bed in the morning. The catalyst seemed to be school, where quite a lot of us were bullied mercilessly just because we chose to be different. This came as a big surprise to me because she always seemed confident and funny, wore bright clothes and appeared to be friends with everyone. So to hear that she had been suffering badly from depression for such a long time knocked me sideways. She was lucky to have a strong support system in her family and a few close friends. Her nan even calls her depression ‘sparks’ and says silly things to get rid of it, and it appears to work. She is my friend’s rock and that certainly helped her.
Back in February, my friend put a Youtube video up and talked about her depression in the hopes that it would raise awareness of the mental health illness and show that it’s not a taboo subject. It was definitely an eye-opener. Certainly it got her friends talking and congratulating her on her bravery to do it but what surprised me was when she said I was brave for admitting that I had depression. I didn’t see it as that since I had told people before, having suffered from depression since 2010 and I also had post-natal depression after I had my daughter last year. I’d said things about it before but I never realised that it was a brave thing to say that I suffered from it. And to hear it from my friend did make me feel good that I’m strong enough to let others know about it.
It is still a struggle. There can be several days when I’m fine, I’m happy and carrying on as normal. But then there are days when I’m so low I can’t even get motivation to write. So I use another way to boost myself up and that’s exercise. As a field hockey player, that raises my endorphins and makes me feel energised. I come home and I feel good. And that feeling would last a couple of days.
However even counteracting the depression with just a simple smile or a few kind words work just as well. Whenever my daughter smiles and comes over to me, that makes me feel better, as does a cuddle from her. Just having a small thing that can boost yourself around works wonders and I would highly recommend it.
Because of similar things that happened to us that resulted in how we feel has made us closer than we were at school. I hope it can do that for others.