So, this one is a little bit off topic for this blog, but I felt like I needed to put this out there. I’m taking some time off the day job because recently I’ve been experiencing some pretty crappy mental health. This is not supposed to be a ‘woe is me’ kind of post; it’s just a few thoughts that have been going around my head recently, and I just wanted to get it off my chest. These are given with the full acceptance that everyone feels differently when they have a mental health condition, so these may not apply to everyone, all the time. So this is not supposed to be a ‘here is how to help someone with depression’ either. This is just some observations.
Without further ado, here are a few myths about having depression, that I hope to be able to help to dispel.
The Inability to Laugh
I can still laugh. I can still make jokes. I can still be silly. It doesn’t mean I’m not depressed. It’s strange because over the past few weeks I’ve almost felt guilty when I’ve laughed or smiled, with my brain telling me well then, you must not be depressed. Just because someone doesn’t look like Eeyore all the time doesn’t mean they’re not struggling. Robin Williams had depression, he was one of the funniest men on the planet. So did Spike Milligan and Frankie Howerd; so do Catherine Tate and Ruby Wax. Just because you have this thing doesn’t mean you can’t seem to be funny, alight, alive, breezy, witty… and all the things you wouldn’t normally associate with depression.
You Can Always Seek Help
The one thing that strikes me about depression is that you have to recognise it for exactly what it is before you can do anything about it.
I was mulling this one over earlier. If someone has a broken leg; every fiber of their being isn’t telling them to try and run on it. That would make it worse. If someone has diabetes, they don’t suddenly have a compulsion to eat all the cake they possibly can. That would make their condition worse. Yet if someone has depression, they want to hide away, fight wars with themselves, convince themselves it’s not real, and do all the things that would prevent them from getting any help. So in a way the battle is two fold – first you have to get to a point where you realise that you are ill, and that that’s okay, and then you have the getting better part after seeking help. Both battles can be equally as challenging to win.
You Can Always See It Coming
Nope, not all the time. Sometimes I feel as if I’m having a little wobble – I’ll feel low, blue, lethargic, closed off for a while, but then I might be able to get out of that funk and get back to normal. Sometimes it hits you round the back of the knees like a baseball bat. Other times it seeps in like poison in a well. Slowly… over weeks, and perhaps even months, so that by the time you feel utterly shite, you can’t necessarily place your finger on where it started or why. Oftentimes there isn’t a why. It just is.
It Always Looks The Same
*Whirring mental health bullshit klaxon*. This time doesn’t look anything like the time I had my last serious episode about two and a half years ago. Last time I lost 15kg in about six weeks, couldn’t stop vomiting (I wasn’t trying to, and I wasn’t bulimic), barely ate, barely drank. This time it’s been more like mono, if I had to akin it to something, just feeling utterly run down, flu like symptoms, occasional sickness, sleeping a lot etc. For some people it doesn’t look like this at all, and can manifest itself in the form of addictions, or in other ways.
It Has No Physical Symptoms
To be honest, see above. Anyone who says depression doesn’t have any physical symptoms is an idiot. It affects people in different ways, some of which can have very serious consequences on your physical health. Just because it’s an illness that affects your brain, and therefore it’s symptoms might not be immediately obvious, doesn’t mean they’re not there.
“Depression is as real as the weather… it’s all about a kind of mental umbrella. ‘Hey-ho, it’s raining inside: it isn’t my fault and there’s nothing I can do about it, but sit it out. But the sun may well come out tomorrow and when it does, I shall take full advantage.'” – Stephen Fry.
Well, now that we’ve been through the depressing (haha) bit; here’s a video of puppies.
Also, if you ever need to talk, to anyone, then you can contact me and I’ll lend an ear. If you don’t want to talk to me; reach out to a friend, a teacher, or even your dog.