Hi my name is Jane*, I live in a house share, a hundred or so miles away from my family. It can get really hard sometimes, especially when you work full time, have all your daily chores to do and are suffering with depression.
Depression doesn’t really care about having to go to work and needing to get up early in the morning. It doesn’t care whether today is the day where I will be having a performance review at work during one of my many 12 hour shifts. It doesn’t care whether I have laundry to do, pots to wash or I have to go and do some grocery shopping. Depression has no warning signs, and there is in no way to stop it. One day I will be feeling totally fine, only to wake up the next morning with the weight of the world on my shoulders. I take daily medication, and regular GP visits but none of that stops the depression.
I find the way it affects my work is the most difficult part to handle.
On a good day I enjoy every aspect of my working day. I enjoy the interactions with colleagues, the jokes we share and the support we give each other. However once depression hits, every aspect of work becomes a chore. All I want to do is sit and feel sorry for myself. I find that the routine helps me stay on track, and if my routine is disrupted it can take me a long time to adjust and that in turn has an impact on my mental health.
At its worst, I don’t sleep, I barely eat, and I loathe work. I have in the past self-harmed and I have suicidal thoughts. Even though I have supportive friends and family it’s during these periods that I feel so alone. To be honest, I don’t actually confide in anyone when I feel this low. Something inside of me feels ashamed of letting my loved ones know how low I feel and the thoughts that I have to battle with.
During past times, when my mental health has got the better of me, I have lost my friends and I have very nearly lost family. But that is now water under the bridge. I am coming through my latest episode, and even though I have suffered with depression for years it seems each new episode brings new clarity about my mental health. Not only to myself but also to my friends and family. I have lots of people who have stuck by my side and I am always so grateful for that. The ones that make sure they come and visit when they know I feel low, or come and sit by my bedside when I am in A&E. I need to be able to tell people how I feel, but sometimes find it so difficult to do so. I don’t want them to think that I am avoiding them, or being a “party pooper” or being boring but I actually feel like my insides are being torn apart.
For a long while I didn’t tell anyone about my illness, not even my boyfriend.
Why would anyone want to love me when I can’t even love myself? It was during one particularly bad episode that he found out the truth. He was so supportive and for once I didn’t feel alone. I guess he is the reason why I have been more comfortable opening up about my mental health not only to him but also to my friends and family. He listened to every word I had to say, at no point did I feel like he was judging me.
I sometimes feel blessed to have my mental illness, in a sense – as it makes me appreciate life and I know first-hand how quickly things can change and can end.
Love yourself, you are doing a great job and if all you did today was get out of the bed then please be proud of it and shout it from the rooftops. And be in your friends’ corners – take it from me, it makes a huge difference to someone going through depression.
*Name has been changed to keep identity confidential.
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