I came across Holly’s post a month or so ago and was so moved by how honest she was about her struggles with anxiety and depression. With her permission I am re-posting her story as it is and hope others will take the time to read it and understand they are not alone. To read more of Holly’s blog visit hollyaprilx.com
A genuine photo from The Great Depression of 1930’s relevant due to the current economic climate and subject of this post.
“Sorry I haven’t posted on here in a while…this would usually be the part where I lie and say I’ve been really busy brainstorming ideas for my blog. The truth is, I have been depressed. Not depressed in the “I didn’t get a pair of Yeezy boost’s depressed” but in the soul destroying and debilitating meaning of the word.
I’m not sure why I am telling you this, but if you think its for narcissistic reasons, then you are misinformed. Let me tell you, the last thing anyone suffering depression wants is to for it to start being noticed. My biggest fear during the past year has been my friends finding out. Waking up in the morning is hard enough, let alone putting on a smile, and leaving the house to be around people. Yet every morning I force myself out of bed, and spend a meticulous amount of time on my appearance. Which is my depression’s invisibility cloak. My mum will always say to me ‘ Holly, why are you sad? You’re fortunate to have opportunities in life’. Of course I know this is true, I have never suffered extreme psychological trauma, my childhood was fractured, but not completely broken. I can’t exactly pinpoint my low moods to any tragic event, one morning I woke up, and a thick fog had consumed my head. Each day I have prayed that the fog would lift and the sun would finally begin to shine. Unfortunately depression isn’t like that. If you don’t recognise that there’s a problem and seek help, it quickly transitions from an internal rainstorm to an outside hurricane, which will tear apart the foundations of your life.
You will begin by pushing those closest to you away, and find reasons to spend increasing amounts of time alone. Which is easy for me because I am a very active person and I can disguise my chosen solitary time as ‘exercise’. Whenever my depression gets really tough, I throw myself into working out hard. I briefly touched on this in my Instagram post. The problem with spending vast amounts of time in your own company is that you get a lot of time to focus on your black tinted thoughts. Disconnecting yourself from friends and family is a biological defense mechanism, which we initiate to prevent us ‘unburdening’ our baggage on loved ones. That’s how I feel 89% of the day, a huge burden. I don’t want to keep talking about how sad I am, and yet sadness is all I have to talk about, so I don’t talk. I let others do the talking, while I nod enthusiastically like a prize idiot.
I have just realised why I am writing this post, hurrah! It is because I don’t want any young person out there to feel you don’t have someone who understands, I understand. I don’t understand why you feel depressed, but I understand what depression feels like. You aren’t alone and you are definitely not crazy. If you have taken the brave steps to be diagnosed with depression, then you are very much in touch with reality. People who are ‘crazy’ have absolutely no idea that they are. Never blame yourself for how you feel, it is uncontrollable, and depression does not discriminate. You can be in the top 1% of the population living a gold plated lifestyle, and still feel worthless. Nobody actively chooses to be depressed, there are many reasons you can be depressed, but choice is not one of them.
How you choose to treat your symptoms is of course your choice, I have been offered mood stabilisers by my GP and refused to take them. I believed if I began to take pills it would officially confirm my depression to the world, and I would be labeled a depressive forever. Of course that was an immature response, but I was frightened. You see for some ridiculous reason Mental Health conditions seem to be taboo within society. It is ok to have a sick day for food poisoning, yet it is not ok to take a day off because you are wrestling suicidal impulses. For the record, I am not, nor have I ever been suicidal. I am lucky to have a support system around me that keeps me grounded in reality. I know my feelings won’t always be this macabre (fingers crossed), however a lot of young adults suffering aren’t so lucky.
This is why we need to open the communication lines, to allow employees the right to discuss their mental health condition without discrimination. A work place that is more tolerable will be a huge benefit to a young person battling ongoing mental health conditions. Just because you can’t see someone is ill, it does not mean they are not. Having depression is the same has having the flu. You feel tired, irritable, sad, angry, afraid, and sometimes you even feel faint. Being able to talk to your employer about your condition will help you to concentrate on your job, and relax anxiety of underperformance. This is important because while depression makes you feel like nothing matters, anxiety makes you feel like everything does. Having them at the same-time is absolute hell.
Anxiety is my biggest exertion at the moment; it’s got to the point of giving me panic attacks. I am trying my best to combat this with a mixture of yoga, therapeutic music, and writing. Finding a creative outlet is excellent for anxiety. Just writing this post and pouring out my feelings has made me feel better. I’ll admit I’m the first to be skeptical if anyone writes a very personal Facebook/Blog post. Maybe that’s part of the problem and why the statistic of depression sufferers rises every year. Because we are all made to feel vulnerable for talking about issues that don’t have smiley face emoiji’s. For me it’s easy to write a post about the latest ‘it’ bag but what is that going to change? Of course I will still write about ‘it’ bags, but I will also write true facts about everyday life. This is my blog, with my name on it, and I want it to forever represent me.
If you have been suffering depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, or bipolar disorder please feel free to drop me a line in the comment sections on my blog hollyaprilx.com . I always reply 🙂
Have a wonderful rest of the week,