In 2015, I graduated university with a first class degree, went travelling around the East Coast of America with my two best friends and landed a brilliant job in London. Sounds great right? Despite all of this, the last two years have been the hardest of my life so far.
The reason I am writing this is because the other day one of the songs I used to listen to when I felt depressed (Smashing Pumpkins - Today) came on my Spotify and It brought back all these feelings and thoughts that I no longer have. It made me realise that I was suffering a very tough time and at one point I couldn't see the light. To me it now feels strange that I once felt that way and for that reason I am very grateful for anti-depressants.
There is still a huge stigma that surrounds depression and in particular anti-depressants, I have seen many people even with depression comment on the fact that people with depression don't need medication they "just need a pair of running shoes". As an avid gym goer I can assure you that although exercise does help it is by no means a cure for depression and only really has a temporary effect on your mood.
I am not saying if you're suffering with depression then boom you have to go straight to anti-depressants. When I realised what was wrong with me I was very hesitant to start taking medication because of the stigma that is attached, I didn't want to be 'that' person and I didn't want to appear and feel weak, the purpose of this is to explain that you shouldn't feel ashamed if you find yourself turning towards medication.
I actually didn't know I was depressed for a good year, in all honesty I just thought I was pathetic and in some ways selfish in that fact that based on the things I had achieved and done in 2015 I should have been happy but I wasn't and for that I felt continuously guilty for the way I was feeling which made it even harder to understand.
I was walking around with this sinking feeling that I couldn't get rid of, and did nothing about it. A lot had happened in that year, my Granddad passed away suddenly and I had my heart broken, which for a while became the excuse for the way I was feeling. But it got to the point where months later nothing had changed and although both of those things are hard to deal with I just couldn't break out of this mind set.
You'll find that people with depression are extremely gifted at hiding it, I certainly was. I am pretty sure that those who know me and will read this will not have a guessed that I was going through a very difficult battle with myself.
Eventually it got to the point where I had to actually take time off work because I couldn't actually think; I had lost all perspective on everything. I started to over think, over analyse until I drove myself mad. I just felt absent, but completely overwhelmed with emotion at the same time.
I finally gave in and started anti-depressants. I say that anti-depressants 'may' have saved my life because who knows what would have happened if I stayed in the dark and didn't accept that enough was enough, I was suffering with a mental illness. I now have my life back and I have myself back, I am not completely there but I look back now and I don't even understand how I lived my life everyday feeling that way, it's horrible and it's scary and I hope that I never return to that place.
You know, I felt guilty for taking anti-depressants and being off work sick. But then a lot of good people reminded me that would you feel guilty if you were off work with a broken leg? No. Would you feel guilty for taking tablets if you had diabetes? No. So what's the difference? Depression is just like a broken mind, and sometimes you need medication to help start the healing process if the wound is too deep to heal itself.
People will read this and they won't get it and that's fine. I am happy you don't get it but do not stigmatise those who can relate to this. Anti-depressants are not bad and if you think you need help do not feel guilty, you'd be surprised at the amount of people who do understand you. My friends and family have been so supportive, and I have discovered that some of them who I'd have never have guessed, have been through the same.
If I could describe depression, I'd say it feels like you're in a well and there's a rope that you can't quite reach, and when you look up at the other end of that rope, the person holding it is you. If you think you're suffering then hand yourself the rope, anti-depressants and depression are nothing to be ashamed of, just like any other illness you can get better.