I have suffered from depression for decades. I’ve had three breakdowns and been hospitalised each time. I have seen three psychiatrists, five psychologists and too many counsellors to mention. You can’t tell can you? You can’t tell by the look in my eyes or the sound of my voice. You’re thinking ‘You're smiling though!’ Yes, I am smiling. I smiled for you. I smiled so I don’t make you feel bad.
I also don’t want you to feel like there is something you can do to make me ‘feel better’. There isn’t anything anyone can do. I have tried almost every depression-related treatment available, even 10 rounds of ECT without success.
I was in my 20s when I made the link between the horror of my existence and the term ‘depression’. Being alive was simply, totally and absolutely unbearable and I just wanted to fall asleep and never wake up.
You can still function with depression. Some days I get up, do my make up, I smile, I leave the house, have a coffee. Always coffee. But there are days when I lie on the bathroom floor crying in desperation for the pain to end.
Some days I can chat to friends online for hours, help them, talk about stuff with no problem. Other times I leave messages unanswered for weeks, months, and think about shutting myself off from everyone before they have a chance to shut off from me.
Some days it feels like I’m drowning. But when you’ve suffered from depression for as long as I have, shuffled from doctor to doctor, trying just about every therapy in the book, you learn to become aware of the symptoms, the triggers, and stay in control.