I have been um-ing and ah-ing about writing this blog since the tragic death of Robin Williams. If it was about any other health issue, I probably wouldn’t hesitate as much. Why? Because mental illness is still a huge taboo. Don’t even mention suicide; that’s swept under the carpet, spoken in whispers and cloaked in shame. It is this reason that has compelled me to write. We need to acknowledge that mental health is a huge deal. We need to speak out and take mental health seriously otherwise the consequences are all too tragic. Like Cancer, depression kills. I can’t even begin to explain to someone what it is like to feel so depressed that you can’t go on any longer.
I’m not talking about feelings of low mood, of sapping energy levels and feelings of frustration because you found mould on your last slice of bread. We all get that. I’m talking about clinical depression; the chemical imbalance in your brain that manifests itself into a psychological and physical illness that takes over your entire existence. Living with depression day to day is like having a bully on your shoulder constantly telling you that you’re not good enough, that you are a burden to your loved ones, that you are a failure and better off dead. Your body starts to listen to this bully; you have no energy, you’re anxious and tearful all the time, persistently low in mood for weeks/months/years on end, you lose interest in everything, you can’t deal with life. Weakness of character has nothing to do with it. And don’t even get me started on the ‘just pull yourself together and deal with it’ because that’s just stupid. You wouldn’t say that to a Cancer victim would you?
It takes a hell of a lot of strength to come through depression. It takes a hell of a lot of strength to fight everyday in hope that there is life on the other side of this terrible, debilitating illness. I can safely say, there is and it is worth fighting for. For those reading this that has struggled/is struggling with depression: keep going. Do whatever it takes to beat the black dog. If you can get through this, you are strong enough to get through anything. Life after depression is beautiful, and it is more beautiful with you in it xx