How depression has affected me
Depression in secondary school
I first began to notice I was feeling down when I was about 12, after about a year of secondary school. I didn’t have any particular problems – making friends wasn’t a problem even though I’m a naturally shy person, because everyone was in the same position more or less. However I continued to feel alone despite being around so many people.
I started to get periods of time where I felt so low that I couldn’t see a way to get through it, so I turned to self harm. I started to cut myself because I felt that creating physical pain was the only way to get rid of the emotional pain I was feeling. I didn’t understand how I was feeling inside so I had to create something tangible, something I could see and watch healing in order to feel that maybe I was healing inside too.
After about a year of feeling like this and self-harming, I took an overdose. I still don’t really know what I wanted to achieve from doing it. I just wanted to do something to stop feeling the way I was, I wanted to stop being myself so I wouldn’t have to feel, I wanted to destroy the person that I was because I didn’t understand why I felt so awful.
No serious physical consequences
I don’t really remember much in the year or so after the overdose. It wasn’t serious in terms of the physical consequences; I just had to stay in hospital overnight for observation. I actually took the overdose at school, and my friend knew about it and informed the nurse. When my mum got there she just looked so disappointed in me; I felt like a failure – a feeling which has stayed with me ever since.
Counselling didn’t help
I had counselling for about a year after, but I found it didn’t really help. I felt like I was wasting my counsellor’s time, even though I logically knew I wasn’t, it was his job. Again, that feeling persists and I still often feel like I’m wasting people’s time when I talk to them, like I’m not worthy.
Trying to find help through relationships
When I was fourteen I began to get into relationships, moving from one to the next, looking for someone who would understand me, so I wouldn’t have to feel so alone. It didn’t really work though, I still felt isolated. However I did stop self harming for a while, until I started college and started to feel depressed again.
Feelings of nothingness
Again, I couldn’t establish a reason for it, there were just moments when I felt I had nothing, I was nothing and I needed to feel something other than the pain inside. Cutting had become pleasurable for me because it represented something other than the feelings of nothingness inside. Now I know that cutting only makes me feel more worthless, because I feel weak for giving in.
Still have self harm urges
But I still feel the need, the urge, to cut sometimes. When I’m in a situation I feel like I can’t deal with, for example, the idea of cutting appeals because it would give me control over something, control over my body as I cannot control the situation.
I still suffer from periods of depression, I feel like I can’t cope with anything around me. And sometimes I just find myself in tears, hysterically crying for no real reason and I can’t get myself out of it, there’s nothing I can do to stop feeling so bad and that scares me.
Isolation and loneliness as a child
My family circumstances as a child left me feeling increasingly isolated and lonely. My parents divorced when I was very young. I don’t remember much around that time, but my sisters tell me that my parents used to argue all the time – not a particularly pleasant environment to grow up in.
My older siblings also left home when I was quite young, probably to get away from my mother. She was very strict, very difficult to talk to, and living at home has been kind of like treading on egg shells. When my brother and sisters left I felt alone and deserted – they had always been there and I felt like I couldn’t talk to my mother, a feeling which remains today and is shared by my siblings as well.
Stepfather doesn’t stand up for me
Shortly before they all left home my mother remarried. I get along with my stepfather quite well, but sometimes feel like I have to deal with my mother’s moods alone, as he rarely sticks up for me even when he knows she is wrong.
Loneliness and not having someone there for me
So that’s just what I remember feeling before I started secondary school, the loneliness, not having someone there for me, to talk to.
The Prozac I was prescribed didn’t really improve matters; instead of feeling depressed I felt nothing. It was like turning into some kind of zombie! So I stopped and went on St John’s Wort, which has been the most helpful thing to improve my mood naturally. However, I had to come off the St John’s Wort due to other medical prescriptions (the contraceptive pill) and now I am just trying to overcome my depression with the help of friends.
A natural approach
I prefer natural, herbal remedies, including herbal teas, as well as exercise such as yoga or swimming. I find exercise helpful as it gives me a feeling of power over my life, it is something I am in control of, I can do as and when I please, and on the physical side of things it keeps me fit and healthy, which in turn makes me feel more content.
Trying not to self harm
Although I still get the urges to self harm, I no longer cut, because I know it would hurt the one(s) I love, who love me. It’s hard but I know there are other ways of dealing with the pain…or sometimes I just repress it, which I know will only make it harder in the future, but it’s hard to know what to do sometimes.
Focusing on the positive
I do not attend counselling, but I try and focus on the positive things in my life. Talking and spending time with friends is very beneficial, as is taking the time to do things I enjoy, such as swimming, singing, days out visiting castles etc. As long as I still find enjoyment in these things I know I’ll be okay.
What I’ve learnt
Keep on fighting depression
It’s hard but I feel now that I have to keep trying, I have to get through because then I’ll know I’m not weak. If I can get to a stage where I feel ok, where I’m truly happy, then I can get through it again when depression strikes. If I refuse to be beaten by depression then I cannot be worthless, and I cannot be weak.
Sometimes negative feelings overcome me, and one of the overwhelming feelings for me when suffering from depression is feeling alone, so I want to contribute to the blogring in order to help others in the same situation, so they do not feel alone and also so I don’t. I think the most important thing for anyone wanting to overcome depression is to not feel alone. Even just reading a blog like this one I feel would be beneficial in reducing feelings of having to fight depression alone.