World Mental Health Day raises public awareness about mental health issues. The day promotes open discussion of mental health and illness, and investments in prevention, promotion and treatment services. This year the theme for the day is “Depression: A Global Crisis”.
Depression affects more than 350 million people of all ages, in all communities, and is a significant contributor to the global burden of disease. Although there are known effective treatments for depression, access to treatment is a problem in most countries and in some countries fewer than 10% of those who need it receive such treatment.
Please, if you feel safe doing so, reblog this link and share an account of your personal experience of depression (it may have affected you personally, a friend, or a family member).
If you’re currently struggling: speak out!
If you were able to find help: provide hope!
Listen to each other, look out for each other, look after each other, xo
[Trigger Warning: Self harm; suicide attempt]
I guess I’ll get the ball rolling…
After what I recognize in hindsight to have been ‘prodromal’ episodes of depression in my teen years, I finally ‘snapped’ in 2008, not long after my 20th birthday. I think my GP twigged that there was a big problem when he asked me about what I imagined about my future and replied flatly “I don’t see a future for me”. I didn’t: I couldn’t imagine tomorrow, let alone planning a life for myself.
I was put on a 60mg dose of Citalopram and sent home from university for a couple of terms where, on the first day, my mother had to wrestle a bottle of painkillers from me, and I later tried to end my life several times by more violent means.
Eventually, the antidepressants started to kick in. After several catatonic weeks of not washing, dressing, or leaving my bed I started small: a walk round the block, popping to the shop down the road for a loaf of bread. I got a job at a nearby hotel as a cleaner just to get out of the house and keep my mind busy.
After another few months, I liaised with my doctor about tapering down my medication because I wanted to see if I could live a stable life without them before I returned back to university.
… And return I did. I was very lucky that I was studying Psychology, and my personal tutor was so excellent not only in her compassionate nature, but in her expertise on mental illness. On top of overseeing my thesis, she met me once a week just to see how I was doing.
Since then, I graduated from my triple honours degree, went on to study a postgrad in Mental Health Studies and now work full time. I’ve also brought myself through at least a dozen major depressive episodes, losing days and sometimes weeks to them, but I’m still going.
I’m now living without medication, and haven’t had what I would class as a major episode in over a year. I’ve gradually learned what my mind and body need to keep me balanced, and I’ve become very good at noticing my personal ‘warning signs’ for potential depressive lapses.
I can honestly say I am now the happiest I have ever been. I do live every day however with the fear in the back of my mind that it could all change. I’d take this life over no life at all though: I am so grateful to everyone who helped me through the dark days.