The trouble with depression is….It’s an illness, not a fleeting adjective.
As part of Depression Awareness Week, people have been sharing what living with depression is really like, using the hashtag #Whatyoudontsee (click link to see more tweets). For me, depression is the feeling of being heavy, weighing the world down, taking up too much space and being a burden. What you don’t see are the creeping feelings of lethargy and passive anxiety spreading behind the smile. Depression isn’t a facial expression, so not everybody who has it ‘looks depressed’. It’s an illness, not a fleeting adjective. This is part of a series of posts about mental health, so stay tuned for more.
The whole #WhatYouDon’tSee hashtag is really relatable, scarily so, and that’s not surprising seeing as some statistics reveal around 10% of the population is affected by depression. Unfortunately, despite this, I believe it is one of the most misunderstood mental illnesses, because the word ‘depressed’ is so interchangeable with ‘sad’. Sadness is a single emotion, and one of the symptoms of the condition, not an illness in itself. Depression isn’t just laying in bed crying all day (although obviously it may present that way sometimes), in fact everyone may deal with it in their own way. Personally, and I’m certain for many others too, may seem utterly fine to the majority of people, by getting on with life and managing day to day activities perfectly, perhaps ‘hiding behind a smile’ or ‘putting on an act’ as the sayings go, but using other, often very mentally or physically destructive coping mechanisms when others aren’t around.
Depression also isn’t ‘cured’ by antidepressants, and although the medication is regularly given a negative reputation, it helps millions of sufferers to make steps towards recovery, myself included. Blogger Emily Campbell (who also inspired me to write this post, so thank you!) wrote an excellent, informative post about anti-depressants; you can read it here. Also, Claire Stewart of Bee Waits for No One blogged about getting over the perceived shame of taking anti-depressants here. For further information, resources, and support, check out http://www.mind.org.uk
Ruth @ Urbanity xxx