I have depression. It took me about two years to actually admit it to myself. But eventually it got to the point where I couldn’t pretend I was fine anymore. It was taking over my life and making it a non-life.
I would spend days in bed, hating myself. I know how stupid that sounds. I know how pathetic that sounds. But I was ill. It was only when I accepted that I wasn’t myself and realised that my “down times” were starting to become days… weeks… months, that I could finally get help.
Once I’d admitted it to myself, it then took an awful lot of strength that I didn’t have to get help. When you have depression, it’s hard to do anything for yourself. It’s like a vicious cycle of hate and nothingness. I hated myself so I didn’t do anything. I hated myself because I didn’t do anything. And I didn’t deserve to be helped. It was mostly my lovely parents and my boyfriend, Ross, who helped me seek help. My parents especially.
I get really anxious using the phone, so my mum phoned up my doctors in Nottingham while in Birmingham. That first appointment was the most awkward doctors appointment I’ve ever had (apart from the one I had to have my coil fitted, but that’s another story). Having the balls to actually tell someone else that I felt depressed was scary. Terrifying. All at once as I opened my mouth to explain to my doctor that I felt sad all the time, I was smothered by doubts. Was I over-reacting? Was I attention seeking? Did I deserve this help? Was I wasting her time? What’s wrong with me?
But I summoned my courage and told her. Told her everything I’d been feeling. All of the shit that had happened to me in the last couple of years. How I spent every day not doing anything. How my days seemed so quick, and I felt like I was moving so much slower than everyone else. How I couldn’t sleep with stress and how I spent so much time worrying about university work that I didn’t have time to actually do it. How I hated myself. How I didn’t feel like me.
And she smiled at me, nodded, and sympathised. She took me seriously and asked if I’d thought about having therapy or if I wanted to go onto anti-depressants straight away. I declined the drugs and opted to try therapy. But the only thing that had made the appointment initially awkward was me. My fear. In reality, my doctor was so understanding and lovely. And it was so nice to finally just talk to someone about it, without feeling like a burden.
I know that the first step is one of the hardest when you have a mental illness. Because you have to come to terms with your illness first, in order to get help. But I’d encourage anyone who is having problems to just see your doctor. It’s never as scary as you think it’s going to be.