What is depression?


Hey Lovelies and welcome back to my new and improved blog! Upon reviewing my page over the weekend I realised that what I initially deemed to be a stylish purple homepage was in fact incredibly offensive in its sheer lack of subtlety. So in a bid to redeem some of my online cred (get me, how cool I am I) I have opted for a “less is more approach”, let me know what you think!
Aywhoo on to the post.

So as most of you will already be aware, I hope as that will mean you are reading my blog, part of the reason for this new blog is my decision to discuss my own battles with mental health which I hope will then in turn help someone else to open up about their own. I therefore started a series of posts that will help other people understand what mental illness is but also help suffers realise that they are by no means alone. Although I have several other ideas for relevant mental health posts, this will be the last in my “What is” series because I have only ever suffered from anxiety and depression. I therefore don’t feel qualified to discuss an other illness. However I understand that the other illnesses are equally as painful and for anyone that is suffering or just wants to know a little bit more about them, I will post some links down below that might be off use to you.

As I sincerely hope most of you will have noticed (the clue is in the title up there ^) this post is going to be based around one of the most known mental illnesses, which is of course depression.

What exactly is depression?
Depression is without a doubt one of the most famous of the various mental illnesses and it is estimated that around one in three people now suffer from it at some point in their lifetime. Therefore I have found a lot already written about it on the internet and in books. Yet despite it being far more common that one might initially assume, in many ways depression is still misunderstood and is therefore still difficult to talk about. One of the big reasons for this is undoubtedly the many myths that still remain about it (see myth busting section below).

I find depression really difficult to explain still, despite the fact that I have been living with it for four years and I must admit that the first time I had it I didn’t even know I did. The truth is that I didn’t know anything about it. I am aware that it seems a little bit “selfish” to jump straight into my story, but I just feel that is the easiest way for me to explain it to you.

Time to get personal…My very first bout of depression was in the summer between my first and second years of university, and having never suffered from it before it crept up on me slowly and without warning. I was at a property low point in my life and so I do understand the circumstances under which it developed, but I cannot pinpoint and exact cause or point where it began. As explained in my previous post on anxiety which my new relationship had brought out of me, being apart from my partner made my anxiety unbearable and the summer meant we were apart for long periods of time, so at this point in my life my anxiety was probably at its very worst. Around the same time as this was happening, I started my summer job and because I was unable to get a summer job at home, it meant me living in my family’s caravan for the summer, on my own and two hours from home. Initially I was thrilled at my new independence and excited at having a steady flow of income, but I didn’t contemplate how lonely and bored I was soon to become. Only weeks after starting this new job, my life quickly began to follow a really mundane routine that involved me waking up, working my split shift before going back to bed once again. At first I had loved the job, my colleagues and loved my days off but quickly and without me even realising, this all began to change. As I said before I cannot pinpoint an exact occasion that this all changed, but then I’m not even sure there was. This routine with my constant anxiety, slowly drained away all my energy until I was literally left with none. Soon I was sleeping every hour possible, during my dinner hour and up until the last possible minute before work. I stopped eating (I lost nearly two stone) and found getting out of bed for anything an incredibly difficult chore. If I could then I would think of an excuse and phone off sick from work and I avoided seeing my colleagues and friends, something that of course only made it all worse. Perhaps worst of all, it made me hate myself, because unaware that I was ill I thought that I was just being lazy.

Unfortunately I can’t tell you at what point exactly I felt better or why, nor can I tell you how long this all lasted for. Although I can remember how horrible I felt, most of that time just past in a blur, but I can tell you that it does get better. Like any medical illness (mental or physical) it does get better.

Myth busting
• It is not something that you can simply “snap out” of- If it was that easier than trust me, anyone suffering from depression would have done it already.
• People of a “type” get depression- Nope, simply not true, anyone can develop it like any illness. Yes some people might be more likely to develop it (if family have history of it), but it is really difficult to predict who will.
• It’s triggered by some massive crisis- Sometimes this is the case, but very often it can just develop over time.

Thank you for reading this and I hope that it has helped in some way. As always please feel free to contact me if you have any comment or question to make.

Useful Links
Mind A-Z- http://www.mind.org.uk/mental_health_a-z
Thinking Differently- http://www.gofal.org.uk/help-and-advice/
Turn To Me- https://www.turn2me.org/?gclid=CJPt7_jRnbkCFfHKtAodqCkA-Q

Watch out for/ Next week– The next aspect the series is going to be about the various treatments that are out there. Next week I will be looking at a few of the books and online treatments that I have tried and giving some sort of review on them for you.
I will also be doing the first of my “exposure series”. I have been really nervous about them but next week I will have some extra time on my hands and therefore time to prepare myself!

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