It’s Depression Awareness Week and the hashtag #WhatYouDontSee is being used to highlight the hidden side of depression. It’s giving some idea of what goes on in people’s heads and lives when coping with depression. You can’t see mental illnesses, they are easy to ignore because of this. But 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem in their life and it should not be ignored. Pretending that it is not happening might be easy for you but it does not reduce the suffering.
What You Don’t See:
The internal struggle against the part of me that wants to end my life because it’s not that I am not afraid of dying but, I should never have existed in the first place.
The crying so much that I become exhausted.
The friends who have walked away from me because they didn’t know how to help.
The amount of medication I have taken over the past few years just to keep me going.
The nights lying awake listening to the battleground in my head.
The constant stream of self hatred: nobody likes you, you’re worthless, a failure, useless, disgusting, you deserve nothing, the world would be a better place if you were dead.
The bloody tissues from those days when it gets too much and cutting myself is the only relief.
The headaches and back pain that come from being in a constant state of stress, worry and sadness.
The list of things I have missed out on because I couldn’t face existing.
The days of being completely unable to get myself out of bed.
The A&E trip after an overdose because I was convinced that I deserved to die. The vomiting, blood tests, shaking, crying, longing for death.
The meetings with mental health professionals who do not even listen.
The struggle to find words that convey how you are feeling. There are no words that can make people truly understand.
The attempts at making myself feel better in a healthy way that leave me tired and defeated: exercise, going for a walk, talking to a friend.
The numb feeling when nothing seems to help and nobody is listening.
The guilt I feel every day about bringing down the people around me, the worry that I bought this all on myself.
The courage it takes to be completely open and honest about mental health knowing that there will be judgement.
You might not see any of this but it is happening to people all around you. Open your eyes to it. Work hard to try and understand it. More than anything, be there for people and let them know you care. Honestly, hearing from people that they care about you can make a bad day so much better with depression.
Depression is not visible but it is the reality for a lot of people. This post is all very sad but it is also important to say that you can overcome depression. There is help out there, there is hope, it is a journey to get better. There are ups and downs but you can come out of the other side. What you don’t see is the courage and strength it takes to push through depression.