I know a lot of people struggle with mental health. When you’ve got a chronic condition that affects your life, it’s hard not to get down about it. But when do you start to say it’s more than just being down? When do you start to think that it’s actually a problem?
For some people this is never. Some people live their lives thinking not having the motivation to get out of bed or to leave the house is just one of those things and just accept that as a way of life. I was 15 when my depression started becoming more of an issue. A lot of it was triggered by what went on with James. Having a verbally abusive alcoholic stepdad would test most peoples will to live, but for me it became more than that. I started self harming, hated being in my own house and made a reasonable attempt on my life. That summer I went on the big trip with dad and managed to get my head in a better place for a bit. Between 2007 and 2008 my mental health was a lot better. Things were deteriorating at home, but I felt better and swept it under the carpet, concentrating on my asthma which was causing more problems at the time.
Then I left home and moved to England. I think things started to go downhill again when I found out people thought I was lying about my asthma and me and my best friend fell out. The support network I had was falling apart around me and i didn’t know who to turn to. Around that time I moved into my own place, my chest started taking a downward spiral and things were getting out of control. But I went to the doctors. And it was decided given everything that was going on, I was probably depressed and going on anti depressants would be a good idea. This was late 2009. Since then I’ve tried 3 different anti depressants and different dosages, and it was only in Dec 2014 that I finally started to get on top of it. I didn’t realise that me not wanting to get out of bed every day wasn’t a side effect of my asthma and pain. It was a side effect of depression, and it was only when I got the right medication that I realised just how bad things actually were.
I’m lucky. My GP and practice nurse are both amazing and do keep a good eye on me with both physical and mental health stuff, but I’m in a minority. I know a lot of people, and for a long time that included me, who have to scream and shout and kick up shit to even get their healthcare pros to stand up and listen and it’s not right. If it was physical health they’d be bending over backwards to get things sorted. But going to university in September has meant I need to keep a much tighter leash on my depression. But it’s taken me a long time to get to that. I think what I’m trying to get at, is never accept things if you don’t feel right. Don’t let people tell you you’re fine if you honestly believe you’re not. You’re a good person, and no matter what your head tells you, you do deserve to be OK.
A friend of mine wrote an excellent blog post about depression. It really puts all the advice the doctors give into one post, plus advice that she has found works from years of experience.
Things can and will get better. Don’t let anyone ever say it won’t.