Today is #worldmentalhealthday and for me it’s a day that has a very personal meaning. Normally I have no interest in days like this but because I have suffered from depression for the last ten years I feel like I should at least do a small part to remove the stigma attached to mental health. My journey to changing the quality of my mental health started at the beginning of this month because I knew there was something wrong and it wouldn’t do my weight loss journey any good if I didn’t try to do something about it.
I didn’t tell my Granddad the true reason I’d booked an appointment at the doctors solely because I didn’t want to give him another reason to worry about me. What good would it do if I did tell him and it turned out to be something else entirely?
Turns out I was right, it is the dark cloud of depression that I’ve been trapped under, but the scariest thing about this is that I’ve been trapped in the dark never-ending spiral of depression since I was ten years old. The reason for my massive weight gain, anger, suicidal thoughts, hating myself, and having a lack of emotions finally makes sense.
In telling my Granddad what the doctor had said two things happened. Firstly, the first thing my Granddad said was “Is it your life making you feel that way?” It’s not my life that’s made me hate myself. It’s being a victim of nasty bullying at school because of my weight, it’s feeling like I have no control when it comes to eating because I’m a binge eater, it’s losing my Mum at the age of fourteen and not dealing with it in the right way. Why wouldn’t I feel depressed with all that to deal with in my teenage years?
Secondly, I learnt something very important about the female side of my family. My Mum and Nan, who were both my best and only friends, had never told me and probably because they were both embarrassed. My Mum and Nan both suffered from depression when they were the same age as me. Maybe if they were still alive I could ask them for advice that would help me deal with my low moods a lot better.
I would love to be able to tell people about my depression but the fear of being judged for it and have them see me in a different light because of the stigma attached to people’s opinions of mental health. It puts me off wanting to socialise with the few friends that I do have and all that happens is I isolate myself from the world even more.
I understand why there is a stigma attached to mental health; it’s not an illness that you can see and not have to ask sometimes invasive questions about. My attitude towards mental health has only changed because I’m suffering from depression, but if I didn’t know that I have depression I don’t think I would try to understand it. It’s not a disease like cancer or a physical disability. How can people be expected to understand something when they can’t see the symptoms?
Lots of love,