THE BLOG

Depression Does Not Have to Be the Centre of Your Universe

17/05/2015 18:30 BST | Updated 15/05/2016 10:59 BST

I have been there, I have experienced it, I have been overwhelmed by it. When depression's darkness is at its height it is a strange and alluring paradox. It is repulsive yet addictive; it is scary yet familiar; it is unnerving yet calming. Ultimately though, it can absolutely dominate your entire existence to the point where you do not know your identity unless it is associated with being mentally ill and having that heavy, anxious, constant knot in the pit of your gut. Depression becomes the star that you navigate round, day after day, week after week.

As you twist and turn and spiral round depression's star everything else in your life can become a distant noise, a murmur in the background like Charlie Brown's teacher. You are aware of a presence of others but they are minor parts in your play, in your event. To be clear, I don't believe depression is a selfish illness I believe it is a consuming illness; they are very different states of mind. When I was utterly consumed by my illness I was not being selfish, because to be selfish involves choice, I was simply so overwhelmed by the destructive power of the illness that it was near impossible to consider others unless they threw themselves into my life at the time.

The fog descends and swirls round your brain making focus muggy, thoughts confused and mental paralysis regular. The depression star is all you can see and all you are able to gravitate toward. It's when a great set of stars enter your orbit that clarity and healing comes.

Okay, there is an element of choice involved with recovering from depression or anxiety because you reach a point where you consciously decide to fight it and find help to heal, manage, contain the illness. That choice comes though when there is someone or something else able to help you walk in the direction of light and hope. For so long I had an arrogance that I was intelligent enough to counter the effects of my illness like it was a tactical game. I naively believed in my own ability to get myself better. Occasionally I still blindly walk into this trap and think that because I have battled with depression for so many years I can counter punch its effects like a pro. Every time I think this I have to be reminded that depression is not a game and I need to seek the professional help that steered me in the right path to healing before.

I am often supported by my fiancé who has enabled my universe to be dominated not by depression but by love, affection and happiness. I trip, I fall and I gravitate to the depression star at times because it is alluring and it is familiar, but my hand is held tight and pulls me away. My universe has expanded, the fog is more like a gentle mist in my mind and I can see beyond the confines of depression. It is a slow, tentative process to walk, so never feel in a rush, simply walk it and hold someone's hand as you do.