Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Mental Health Awareness: Admitting Depression

I have wrote a dissertation on the types and causes of depression, and have researched extensively into how depression is portrayed in the media. I think I am ready for some real talk on mental health.

Despite the magnitude of people who suffer from depression (around 2.6 in 100 people), it certainly doesn’t make it any easier to deal with when you are experiencing it. For some reason people seem to think there is comfort in ‘not being the only one’ to feel this way. However much I think about all the people that have been through this, or are currently going through the same feelings as I am, it doesn’t make my own feelings disappear. For four years I have been in some very dark places, yet I am only just ready to admit to having depression.

There is a feeling routed inside, the place where the ‘big black dog’ has set up camp, and the leash is tied tight…

There is an abundance of elaborate metaphors and similes for depression; I think of it as a ‘settler’. Despite how unbalanced and aimless you feel, depression finds a place within you and settles. Regardless of everyday life, there is a feeling routed inside, the place where the ‘big black dog’ has set up camp, and the leash is tied tight. Ironically after researching the causes of depression (there are lots), I found that frequently depression seems to have no cause what so ever. Often people with depression hit a wall, in which the initial causes are no longer the ‘initiators.’ Once the lowness settles it can spiral and become something entirely different. That’s when it becomes so hard to admit, cope with and resolve.

Even if any of the factors that I thought were causing my pain improved, that feeling was still settled inside. However that feeling, that lack of hope that anything will ever get better, is all part of it. Luckily, and I’m still hoping, that the feeling doesn’t last forever, there is an end to it, you just have to find it.

Finding any form of motivation in a day to do something that makes you happy does actually make a difference…

So how do you find it?

Of course, there is a lot of help out there, from counselors, your GP, CBT specialists, friends or family. If you can, take the step and seek help. But if, like me, there is a reluctance to accept this help, you can try some self-help options. Finding any form of motivation in a day to do something that makes you happy does actually make a difference. Admittedly, I have read multiple advice websites that tells me to, ‘Soak in a bubble bath’, ‘read your favorite book’, or ‘learn to play a new instrument.’ As if bubbles could wash away depression. However, despite my pessimistic attitude, there is an element of truth.

Yet travelling brought me to the present, to a new place and life, even if it was painful at times…

For me personally, sitting in the bath was too lengthy and evoked too many thoughts; similarly my head was too muddled for reading and I couldn’t concentrate long enough to play an instrument. Something that really made a change for me was traveling; although not the easiest or most affordable self-help, but an undeniably effective one. Two years ago, I went on an expedition to Costa Rica and Nicaragua. To be truthful, I faced some real low moments which I attempted to disguise as a ‘poorly stomach.’ Travelling caused all the thoughts in my mind to come to the surface. It might sound overwhelming and nauseous, and it was, but it makes you feel things in real time. That might seem like a weird concept, but for me depression felt like my mind became a graveyard. And despite there being so much to feel, nothing was actually being felt. Yet travelling brought me to the present, to a new place and life, even if it was painful at times. It felt good to feel and experience things in real time. I experienced some of my darkest days when half way across the world, but I experienced a lot and it saved me in a way.

I have been aware for a long time I have depression, yet never wanted to admit it to myself. After being told by my GP, counselors and therapists, I think I have finally done that. And soon I will be able to admit it to others I am sure. Despite everything that has been said, the title was all I or anyone really needed. The first step to beating depression is admitting you have it.

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