Right, let’s dispel a myth straight away: having depression or even feeling suicidal, DOES NOT mean you’re one bonkers comment away from sectioning. Nor does it mean you’re a danger to people’s pets or loved ones.
Literally loads of my mates have been impacted by depression, to greater and lesser extents. It has only been since I became so open about my experiences that lo and behold, nearly everyone is as ‘off their rocker’, as I am.
These are only my opinions, but let me first say that I am convinced that depression is in no way a sign of any sort of inability. My experiences actually suggest that those who care, who try to plan, who try to foresee impact of decisions and actions, are the ones who end up finding themselves overcome with anxiety and/or depression.
Since sharing my experiences with friends (which I thought was a big risk), I feel liberated. I feel normal again. We all agree that we have good days and bad days, but knowing someone else ‘gets it’ when you say you’re not doing so well, helps you to snap out of it, to deal with it and not let it take control.
I don’t recommend that you wander up to random punters declaring a level of mental illness; that WILL get you, at very least, some odd looks or choice language. What I do recommend, is that you have faith in those you love. Yeah, that does also mean your mates, regardless of the fact that they usually come across as tossers, I guarantee that you’ll be met with surprise, a little bit of sympathy, loads of banter but most importantly, confessions of feeling the same and thinking they too were the only ones.
The ranges of emotion’s experienced by my pals, include:
A feeling of worthlessness – that they are bad friends, bad parents, shit at their job, generally that everyone probably thinks they are wankers.
A sense of impending doom – that they feel that their world is going to come crashing down. They don’t know what will cause it and they’re pretty sure they haven’t done anything so hideous that a facebook photo could end their world, but still they feel like it’s all going to go as wrong as it can.
Whatever they touch/do will make them lose control – That they’d rather just sit at home, knowing that the telly and Sky+ will cause no harm, so they may as well just stay put. There’s nothing unexpected at home.
You may be surprised to learn that we’re talking about clever, funny, popular people. These are folks who are the life and soul at parties, the ones that others want to be around, that always seem up for the craic.
People just like you and loads of your pals.
Don’t be frightened of yourself. If you’re reading this, then it’s likely that you’ve been battling something that has been eating you from the inside, out and that you’re winning. That means you’re a pretty strong person, doesn’t it?
We don’t get a great deal of help in this world other than sympathetic looks, bit of a back-slapping hug from your mate Dave (we’ve all got one) or a decent meal from your mum. Therefore, all of us have a responsibility to make sure that we tell our stories. It’ll help others realise that this won’t kill them and that they can and will enjoy life again.
Piping up and sharing, is the only way we’re going to start to get a real grip of this horrible illness. Bringing it out of the shadows and leaving ourselves open to a bit of banter and stick about it will remove stigma and if it saves just one of us from having to receive a call that a mate has killed himself, it’s worth it, isn’t it?
Averages alone suggest that one of your mates is hiding a feeling of doom. Help him out. Tell him it’ll get better and that you KNOW it’ll not last forever. I am prepared to bet that you have a good idea which of your mates it is too…