A couple of weeks ago, I spoke about my experience with depression and anxiety. After the blog post was uploaded, I have received a lot of support and the blog post received a lot of attention, which was my main aim. Depression needed awareness and I wanted to be as open as I possibly can in order to prove that depression is nothing to be ashamed of. In the past two weeks, I believe I have been successful.
Depression (and mental illness in general) has always had a bit of a reputation. A reputation of being a stigma. Considering how depression has been portrayed or how some people view it, it is, unfortunately, not a surprise. Take Paul Gascoigne for example. He had struggles with alcoholism for years, which has sent him into a downward spiral. Recently, The Sun posted pictures of him exposing himself in public when he was evidently in a detrimental state. Mental illness should not be exploited. It's things like this that make people not want to talk about their suffering. Mental illness being exploited and not taken seriously will make sufferers more afraid of expressing themselves and confiding in someone when they truly need it.
Another example is people saying those who suffer from depression and/or commit suicide are "selfish". How is a mental illness selfish? The sufferers can't help it. I wanted to make myself thankful for what I have, but my head always overrides it with negativity and it was out of my control. Millions of people have this burden. Which is why I wanted to declare my depression - to get rid of the burden and think positively for a change, and help others in the same situation. People saying that suffering from depression is selfish won't benefit anything at all. Being unashamed of your depression and talking about it will benefit a lot.
Ever since I first talked about my depression, I feel more comfortable talking about it as time goes on because I have my family and friends who are willing to support me and help me. Not just talking about whenever I felt low, but mainly talking about it casually. My family and friends sometimes check how I am and I'm happy that they do because it shows that they care. When I talk to my friends about my depression, they are listening and they will always be there for me. I didn't want to talk about it to them no my family at all because I wanted just someone who went through the same situation to talk to. I wanted empathy and I wanted to feel like it is OK to talk about depression instead of holding it back. Talking to someone who has been in the same boat would also have helped me a lot, but I didn't have anyone who wanted to talk about their experience. Once I talked to my friends, I felt more comfortable talking about it when I hang around with them, and I could feel the burden and the stigma diminishing. The burden and the stigma that should not have been there in the first place. When I'm with my family and friends, I feel normal. I feel I can enjoy myself without my depression trying to force me not to. I always felt that I couldn't enjoy myself, no matter how hard I tried. But once the burden was gone, I had, and still have, renewed faith in myself and my confidence began to gradually grow. And it's all because I had the support that I needed. If all this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.
I am proud that I can talk about my depression because it gives me the accomplishment of completely removing the burden that has been plaguing me for months. I feel I can breathe again. I'm not saying that it's easy to talk to people about your depression, particularly if you, like myself, have kept it hidden for so long. Because it is the one of the most extremely difficult things to do. But the moment you open up will be one of the greatest decisions you will ever make. As long as you have your family and your friends by your side, depression will be conquerable and the stigma will disappear.