So I thought I’d start my first post with a topic very personal to me. A few months ago, I was diagnosed with depression and I swear I thought my life was well and truly over. I’d hit an all time low which effected every aspect of my life. I lost every part of my identity to the point I barely even recognised myself. I became so withdrawn, I would literally hide from people and avoid every social event possible because the thought of having to be around people and having to pretend I was okay took my anxiety levels off the scale. I’d lost all my motivation for any and everything – simple tasks like getting up in the morning and getting in the shower became hour long battles with myself because there just didn’t seem to be a reason to get up anymore.
I found myself walking away and giving up on so many things that were once so important to me. I didn’t care about my relationships or my friends and I was hanging on to my place in university by a thread. Everything was falling a part and there was nothing I could do. I practically disappeared from all social scenes without any explanation, but I just felt uncomfortable being around anybody and even the mere thought of being in large groups gave me serious anxiety. I didn’t understand my own thoughts anymore, my mind was constantly running and I found it so hard to concentrate on anything else but my thoughts. My grades started slipping drastically and I just didn’t feel I could explain why. I just kept saying to myself “why can’t I do this?”. I am a third year student and the pressure of my dissertation research was seriously piling up on me but my depression made no exceptions. For weeks I had booked appointments with my supervisor, planned to tell her everything that was happening with me and that I was really struggling but for weeks, I would book these appointments.. and cancel – or just not show up altogether.
I decided that I needed help, urgently! If I wanted any chance of actually holding onto and saving the things I currently have in my life I needed help. I finally had the courage to go to my GP where he confirmed I was dealing with depression. I began counselling and anti-depressants a week later which at first, I was quite pessimistic about but I’m so glad I stuck with it. The next step was to go and see my university supervisor and after about 10 attempts I made it! The conversation we had was something I knew was a possibility for me and probably the best thing but hearing her say she’s suspending my dissertation and that I should come back and continue next year (she actually said it in a much nicer way) was a harsh reality. When I decided I was going to go to university I was so sure I was going to be in-and-out, the thought of re-sitting a year or failing anything was not in my mind but surprisingly, this was such a relief to hear. I was already drowning and trying to keep up appearances as well as trying to get through university was way too much so that was one weight off my shoulders!
Fast forwards a few months and I’m so much better than where I was! I feel so much more involved in the world and less withdrawn. I’m socialising with people and going out again. I’m able to write down goals and plan how to achieve them. I can think more clearly and logically. I don’t sit around crying all day about nothing. My anti-depressants really helped to balance out my emotions and thoughts and sort of brought me back to reality and counselling has helped me express myself and everything I feel. I have my bad days of course and sometimes just a few bad moments, I’m not ‘cured’ but I am getting better! I look forward to the good days and run with them. Depression is something that most of us will/have experienced and some more extremely than others. To anyone reading and relating to this post I encourage you to speak up and get help! As lonely as you may feel you’re not alone, I promise! It took me quite a while before I confided in anyone about it mainly because I felt that depression is a word people chuck around so loosely and I didn’t think anyone would take me seriously but regardless, it is an illness. Your mental health is just as important.