For too long I believed that the way I felt was something that I should be ashamed of. Something that should be hidden away from prying eyes. No-one ever taught me that it was okay to be not okay. No-one ever told me that every single person can feel this way at least one point in their lives. So I locked the feeling of emptiness and sadness away in the back of my mind, and I buried them as deep as I could until I just couldn’t do it any longer. My depression had fed off of the isolation and the loneliness, then grew bigger and more intense with every passing day, until one day the pressure got too much and I erupted with rage.
I had so much anger inside of me when was a child. I lashed out at my family and said some incredibly hurtful and cruel things. I was also hostile towards my class mates and my friends, and I had pushed everyone I cared for away. I would often scream, start arguments, throw objects across rooms and slam doors before I realised that I wasn’t angry at other people, I was really angry at myself. I was angry with the way I was feeling. I hated feeling so alone when I was surrounded by other people, but I also hated actually being alone.
My mind was crammed with so many distressing thoughts that I just wanted them to stop. It got to the point where I couldn’t even sleep because my mind was too loud at night. Then I began overeating and engaging in self destructive behaviour, I no longer cared for my own safety. I blamed myself for every bad thing that happened even if it had nothing to with me. I hated myself. Eventually, these damaging thoughts led to the beginning of my self harm. I would physically punish myself for things that I now know were completely out of my control. It was a way for me to let out the anger and essentially cope with the demands of daily life. Until I became an adult I didn’t realise how wrong I was to punish myself in the way that I did. I didn’t understand any of the thoughts running through my mind, nor did I consider that everything I was going through was an illness.
Depression was never mentioned, it wasn’t something you were taught about in school. Perhaps if it was maybe I could have handled things a lot differently or in a less harmful way. Maybe I would have asked for help sooner if I had understood what depression was.
As an adult I still battle depression every single day, but I know a lot more about it now and I know that it doesn’t make me any less of a person for experiencing it. Now I am in a place where I can manage my depression in a healthy and safe way with the support of family, friends and health care professionals. Mental health should always be treated as an illness and not a personal failure. There is too much stigma surrounding mental illness that some people still don’t get the help they need for fear of being judged. It really is okay to not be okay, as long as you get the support you need and remember to make self care a priority. ❤️