My Secret Battle With Depression

02/07/2015 20:19

I was recently told that it takes so much more energy pretending to be ok than it does to admit that you have a problem and agree to fight it. It take so much more energy to keep a secret than it does to just be open, honest and not care what the world thinks of you. Hearing that made sense to me, and so if anyone else struggling stumbles across this post, then know that I'm about to be open and honest just so you can see it can be done. Let go and take back your life. You deserve it. Here goes...

 

I'm depressed. I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety disorder almost a year ago (though it's almost definitely been around a lot longer) and I wear a mask to cover it up. I live in pain and suffer in silence pretending to be ok. It's hard, hard work! It's hard telling people you're ok when you're not. It's hard to smile and play with your children when you hit a bump in the road and find yourself having the lowest of days. It's hard pulling yourself out of bed when you feel as though you didn't deserve to wake up. It's hard when you find yourself wishing death on yourself and then you look around at what you'd leave behind and get swallowed whole by a wave of guilt. But most of all, it's hard lying about it. I lie about it because of the awful stigma attached to mental illness and the various treatments for them. Being ill makes me feel like a failure. I lie about it because it's impossible to explain - I have no idea why I'm depressed. I don't know what my triggers are, and I'm not unhappy with my life. That probably makes very little sense to most of you, but most of you have no idea about mental illness. It's science. It's no different to a physical illness. My brain is effectively missing the connectors between itself and the nerves and in turn that blocks the majority of happy signals and chemicals from reaching where they're aimed at. That means I don't see, hear or feel most good things the same way that you do. Why that is, I don't know and because I can't explain it, I just pretend that it isn't happening to me. I just write occassional poems to vent small segments of my pent up emotion like this, this or this from time to time.

 

Depression QuoteDepression Quote

 

I lie about it because even the friends, family or colleagues I have dropped hints to have made me feel 10 times worse without even knowing they're doing it. 

"But you have nothing to be depressed about. You have it all!"

"Pull yourself together, you'll be ok"

"Why? Whats the matter?"

"You don't need to see a therapist... I'm sure they've got that wrong!"

"Whatever you do, don't go on any tablets. That's the last thing you want"

In fact... the LAST thing I want, is to live out the rest of my life the way I am doing now and feeling the way I'm feeling. The LAST thing I want, is to be half the man, half the husband, half the friend and half the father I could be because I'm so close to exploding every single day. Mental illnesses are real and they should be treated with the respect they deserve, but we're so uneducated that the majority of us can't even begin to relate. If any of my family members fell and broke their leg and wanted to refuse a cast to have it fixed, then I'd be pleading with them to see sense. So why then would anyone go out of their way to tell me not to accept the medication that is being recommended to help fight the illness that's burdening me in every aspect of my life?

Depression Quote

 

Depression. Depression is a bastard! Depression clouds the sun to make sure you live your life in a permanent state of darkness. Depression has me hating myself so much that I hate anyone that thinks any different about me. I actively feel hatred and anger towards people that love me. Depression has me purposefully avoid mirrors because of how ugly I look and how fat that I am. But that same depression has me refusing to eat healthy or exercise because it makes me not actually want to improve or get better. It has me believing that I don't deserve to get better. Depression is why I can sit and not move; feeling weighted down by self hate, unable to see the good in anything in front of me. Depression is why I rarely see my friends, or my family. Noone ever asks me if I'm ok, and although that bothers me, I really don't want them to either. I don't want people to care, because depression has me believing that I don't deserve to be cared about. I don't want to be asked. It only makes me lie again and that leads to guilt, to anger and to hating myself even more. The circles are as vicious as you could ever imagine.  Depression is what lives under the mask that I wear for you every day.

 

Depression Quote

 

But why lie? Is lying about it better than fighting it? When it comes to lying about it, justifying and mastering coping mechanisms; I've realised that they're all for the benefit of other people. All of those things are hard to do and for the wrong reasons. 3 weeks ago I signed an imaginary contract with my therapist because I couldn't convince him with any of my words that I wouldn't kill myself before our next appointment. I came home, I told my wife and we both cried. That was harder than lying, coping of justifying but at least it was for the right reasons! It served a purpose. I'd been counselling for months, but that for me was the first step on the ladder to getting better. That was me openly admitting that I had a problem and I knew it had to be addressed. 

 

6 months ago I published right here in my blog a list of new years resolutions and on that list, I dropped a subtle hint as to what might be going on. I told myself and anyone who was prepared to read that day that I would look to get help, and that I may even write about it. Well here I am. I'm writing about it, I've seeked help and I could not care any less about the stigma attached or the opinion of others. I'm a Husband and a Father, but more importantly I'm a human being. A human being with one shot at life, and I need to make sure I get better, whether I think I deserve to or not (that's a direct quote from my counsellor and not my own words). 

 

The Dad Network

Topic: My Secret Battle With Depression

Date: 10/09/2015

By: carla from RTOATS blog

Subject: Bravery

I would just like to say that I stumbled across this post on twitter having written a very gut wrenching post myself about the darkness and the worst case scenario.
It's hard.
It sucks.
And it's painful. Not only for us but for those all around us. I think if we can all work together and just talk about our problems and how we feel the stigma will die down. One day at a time mate!

Date: 12/07/2015

By: Globalmousetravels

Subject: post

This is such a brave post and I'm really pleased to read that you've taken that step - you do deserve it and I hope it helps.

Date: 12/07/2015

By: Carolynne @ Mummy Endeavours

Subject: Comment

Such a great post for me to read! I often feel down, but don't know why. I do think I need to find out but I'm too scared and embarrassed! What help are you receiving? Are you on antidepressants? Hope things are improving for you, much be so good to write it down and get it out there xx

Date: 10/07/2015

By: Ickle Pickle

Subject: Depression

What a brave and honest post. I actually wonder sometimes if I am Bipolar - but I just cover it all up and carry on. I admire you speaking out. Kaz x

Date: 10/07/2015

By: martyn

Subject: depression

As I said to you the other day on twitter. You are amazing just for writing this post. Men don't talk enough about their mental health struggles so in doing so is fab.
It's good to know that people are around who understand. I, for one, appreciate your listening ear. Bit I also know that if your struggling you can always talk to me too. Depression can easily get you thinking that you have to hide but in truth there are many people around who will understand. Thanks for linking up with us on the #bigfatlinky hope to see you there this week.

Date: 09/07/2015

By: Kirsten Toyne

Subject: Depression

This is such a big step. To speak out and own your feelings is a powerful thing to do. Mental health problems are so drastically misunderstood in our society but the step you have taken is part of your journey to a better life. You can get there and you deserve too. It takes a huge amount of courage and determination to deal with a mental illness and move towards a life you want. Do what you need to do for you. Thank you for sharing and being so honest.

Date: 08/07/2015

By: Lorne Jaffe

Subject: Depression

You are not alone. I've been suffering from clinical depression and general anxiety disorder for 32 years. Each day. Each hour. Each minute is a battle. My blog, www.raisingsienna.com, is all about how I'm trying to raise my daughter while battling depression. It's a way to get my feelings out. I'm proud of you for taking this step and putting yourself out there. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Date: 07/07/2015

By: Alice Hassall

Subject: Oh Bearded one...

I wrote a similar piece a while ago and with it broke my spell. I got help. I got therapy. I got tablets. I got diagnosed with Bipolar. I got a certificate to prove that I'm mental, meaning I can touch your beard and it's not pc for you to stop me! The fact is, all that you have written is now out of your head, there is a teeny bit of room now for at least one real sense of being. See the road to recovery from depression is a bit like a tree. You make that bit of a clearing in your brain for the tiniest of seeds to fall in. That seed of being will grow (just like your beard) and eventually become a big tree. Sometimes the leaves of that tree will wilt and fall but another will always grow in its place. The circle of depression is very similar but once you recognise the wilt you can prepare for the fall. This mental illness is forever, but once your tree is fully grown you can work around it, learn from it and eventually blossom from its being.... (Can you spot the bird who has spent the last few years in therapy and trying to make her brain figure it all out?)

Date: 07/07/2015

By: Ryan Costello

Subject: Re: Oh Bearded one...

Thank you Alice; for being so honest first and foremost and for some really sound advice. I feel confident reading this that at some point in the future, I'll be able to look back on this and see what you're hoping I see.

Date: 06/07/2015

By: Ronnie

Subject: 1st milestone met

This post is not only helpful as a vent for yourself but those you know, near or far too.

This is the 1st day of the rest of your new life as your natural support network of friends and family are now fully aware and are armed to help where they can or are asked.

The company I am a co-owner of has a tag-line of Putting Ability First, your post, whether intended or not, just did that. You're recognising and sharing your issue and by doing this you are opening up to both yourself and those who'd walk over glass for you.

You're right, you wear a mask and wear it well but knowing what I know will not make me react any differently to/with you, I'll just be here if you shout.

Only you will know when things start turning round and I look forward to reading milestone 2.

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