I have strong opinions on many things, so I guess this is my writing and sorry if you don’t like it… Maybe write your own thing. I don’t even know if people enjoy my writing but hey… we shall find out.
There is something about the word ‘illness’ that scares people off. Perhaps because it is associated with having something wrong with you. But then why are people emphathetic towards people who are ill with the flu but not with a mental illness so much? I often like to nickname things, and people, to suit myself and generally to have a giggle. I don’t really enjoy the term ‘mental illness’ (although perhaps when the term has more positive connotations I will) so I call it ‘depresh’, or ‘depressy’. This way I can accept I have a mental illness, but when it’s depresh I can handle it. I have chronic depresh. I did not suffer any traumatic life event or have a bad upbringing – I have a chemical imbalance in my brain that unfortunately leads me into depresh for months on end. However, I am very aware of this.
I am not sure that everyone can relate to this, but that day when you realise that these negative tendencies are coming back is a bad one. Baddy, bad bad. I’m like “Oohhh, no you don’t, head, we’ve been so happy”. But there’s nothing I can do. I work on things like increasing energy, breathing, positive thoughts and setting goals and hobbies but sometimes days are dark and bed will be the only option. It is very hard to face the day, and I would even go as far as to say I become nocturnal. The night is quiet and everyone is asleep, and I feel safe being the only one awake.
I surrounded myself with great people and smiled all the time. Even if I didn’t feel happy, I would have a great big smile because I thought if I did it enough it would stick and I would be happy.
I have overcome my depresh once before, and that was when I decided to smile – not for the first time or anything, just more regularly. I surrounded myself with great people and smiled all the time. Even if I didn’t feel happy, I would have a great big smile because I thought if I did it enough it would stick and I would be happy. It didn’t go exactly like that, but the effort of just doing that simple task got me into the swing of doing something more and more to overcome the slump. I hung out with friends more, stopped living on UP&GO’s and mini Snickers bars and generally did not feel the need to sleep all the time.
For the next couple of years I assumed it was a one-off thing, due to life changes and so forth. I looked back on it as if I knew all the answers to curing depresh. Now, I don’t think anyone knows all the answers.
It is a weirdly sad feeling that day you realise it’s back. It’s like you finally got rid of this cloud over your head that would make you sad, tired, angry and miserable, only for it to come back, as if to say, “You don’t control me”. The second I thought that I could be suffering from depresh again I darted up the stairs and made a doctor’s appointment. Last time I was depressed, I was reasonably young, and it was very uncommon for anyone to speak up, let alone take medication for it. I was offered it, but I didn’t take it as it was quite strong for a wee lass like myself.
So I tottered off to the doctor and got myself some medicine. I was proud that I was aware enough to make decisions and combat it whilst suffering; however, that darkness was never gone. It felt like a never-ending battle, and I was always losing, but never have I ever not tried to overcome it. I will have days where the comfort of my bed and TV shows are the only things that help me, but I still am constantly looking for new ways to kick it and get that energy back.
No amount of sleep in the world could cure the tiredness I feel. Something simple like walking to the shops and back feels so mentally tiring. I think of depresh as being in a deep hole looking up at a sunny sky, with no way to get out. That is quite melancholy; however, it is sadly true. But I do believe there is a way out and I have found it before. I think these metaphors are important to people who have not experienced this, to understand that feeling of desperation and tiredness.
It is extremely hard to have a balanced life and a good routine when you have depresh, because often the negative thoughts will get the better of you and you won’t do half the things you planned on doing. I often force myself to do things, hating every second of it in my head but doing it to try and see if it will make a change. For me, what helps is laughing. Laughing with friends, at comedy, pictures – laughing at anything.
In the winter I worsened quite a lot. The change of season and weather had a negative effect on my brain so I started taking some different medicines. I am a strong believer that medication works if you have the correct condition for it to take effect. It has absolutely, without a doubt helped me and I would advise anyone to go to a doctor or even ask me for advice on remedies and such. (I am not a drug dealer and I cannot give you medication, only my wisdom). Back and forth I go to my doctor, who I am so lucky to have; someone who listens and really considers all the best options for me. I really feel better on medication, and I’m not ashamed of it. Are people who take medication for the flu ashamed? No. Are people who take medication for chlamydia ashamed? Probably.
It is extremely hard to have a balanced life and a good routine when you have depresh, because often the negative thoughts will get the better of you and you won’t do half the things you planned on doing.
I am probably the last person anyone thought would have depresh. I was even told by a teacher at school to “shut up” because I “did not understand what some people were going through”. It really shows how well people can mask it, and how hard people try to overcome it. That crazy kid cracking jokes and giving advice out to everyone? They could have depresh. You can never stereotype it. Anybody in the world could have it. Except maybe the Dalai Lama, he’s the chillest person I’ve ever seen.
I have a handful of people who know this and support me the best they can, and I appreciate anyone who does anything to make someone’s day or supports someone suffering. Most do not want to burden others, but I think that talking about it is more likely to help than not. I predict that if everyone talked to each other openly about depresh, so many people would feel supported, normal and safe. Check on your friends, even if they seem fine. Some people may just love you to turn up at their house with a Thai Chef green curry and some Mars Pods. The more support someone has, the more resources and determination they have.
I have so much in life to look forward to, and so many great people to share it with. I can’t wait until my dark cloud goes away, and I know it will.
I would particularly like to thank Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Steve Carrell, Will Ferrell, Graham Norton, New Girl, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey and Jeremy Kyle for giving me endless smiles and laughter at the push of a button.
So I continue on my journey of life, setting goals and always determined to get better. I don’t use the word ‘motivated’ because that is one of my hardest battles. I struggle to wake up and I struggle to do anything for more than two hours without having to sleep. I struggle to go out with friends and I struggle to be happy. But I always try to be positive. I honestly think that I am on the right track here, and even writing this might help me as well. I sleep and watch TV shows chronically as a form of escapism. I get well more than my fair share of eight hours’ sleep. I have so much in life to look forward to, and so many great people to share it with. I can’t wait until my dark cloud goes away, and I know it will. But for now I hope people who have their dark cloud are still able to work on things and stay determined.
Also, I am looking for members to make up a book club. Currently reading Yes Please by Amy Poehler. Open to any new book suggestions too.
So thank you if you have read thus far, and I am happy to be another person “stepping forward”. I hope this encourages other people to do so too, or at least know they can talk to someone and have support. I am always happy to share my tips and what I have learned, although I can’t guarantee they work for everyone!
I will say goodbye in the wise words of Usher:
Peace up, A-town down.