Every week we have more and more people who speak out about the 'taboo' subject of depression and the effects it has on people and their lives. I'm not here to explain what depression is or to tell you what to do if you're feeling depressed or how to overcome it exactly, I'm just another one of those people who want to share their story in a hope that it might help even that one person in the smallest of ways to come forward and seek help or to see that you are not alone. It can be a very sensitive subject as we all know but I just want to share my story in the most honest way I feel possible.
Just gone 18 years old, just got the course of my dreams, great friends, a loving family, no health problems and no problems in general worth even mentioning. Life is great. I'm an outgoing, friendly, and generally happy guy. Really enjoying life at the moment. Maybe I over think things sometimes, take things to heart too much and care too much, but they are all good traits right?
Let's fast forward:
A year and a half later, death of close loved ones catching up with me, money problems, my so called dream course is becoming a nightmare, long walks home in the middle of the night from college after finishing my work for the day are torture, lossing touch with friends, horrible thoughts constantly circling my brain about everything and it leads to me questioning of my existence and why exactly am I here? Is this all my fault? What did I do to deserve this? Maybe this over thinking isn't a good thing after all!
All of these problems by themselves are problems that people put up with every day. I may sound like I'm just complaining about everyday little problems, but it just so happened that all of my so called 'problems' have built up over time and I cannot cope any more. The camel's back is broken and the roof has finally fallen in on me. I didn't realise at the time but I would soon learn that I was in trouble.
After a year of feeling horrible, worthless, upset and generally not myself, I can remember the day exactly. It was like a scene from a film: being in my room by myself for about a week, a cold bleak night, horizontal rain outside, my room lit by a faint orange lamp post flickering outside, and there was me with bottles of beer littered around my room and an attack made on a bottle of whiskey, curled up on my bed, t-shirt and pillow soaked in tears and sweat, voices in my head won't stop. Why am I here? What happened to me? Why do I feel ill? Am I sick? Am I dreaming?
Why can't I wake up from this? Why am I alone? And the main question, how do I make this stop? No that's not a question, it's a fact; this has to stop! At that moment I realised I needed help. Sitting on the edge of my bed in the middle of the night. Everyone in the house thinking I went to bed so early because I'm not feeling well. I've been pretending that all is ok for too long. That masking smile that my friends see every day is a lie.
After hours of staring at the ground I finally get the so longed after courage to grab my phone. I call my brother. I just need to hear a comforting voice. He answers, I don't say a word. The only sound he can hear is the attempt of me trying not to cry. 'You ok?' he asks not knowing exactly what's going on and that was the queue for me to let go of all that was held up.
The next morning after an open conversation with my brother, I found myself on the bus home. I stayed with him in his apartment and we talked for hours. It was great to finally have someone to share these problems with.
But what do I do now. I still have these horrible thoughts in my head. Telling my parents was the first step we both agreed on. A trip to the local GP was next. Maybe these anxiety sleeping tablets will help me. I now knew that this was going to be a long road to fight this off. I dropped out of my course and decided to take the year out.
I would work for the year and stay with my friends whenever I had the chance. This was all a healing process but I still was not myself. The day my best friend sat me down to 'talk' was a big reason why I am still here.
A year on I can now say I am in a good place. I still have mini panic attacks in big crowds, I still feel down sometimes and constantly worry about all of life's problems, but now I have learned how to deal with this. I may feel down for a couple of days but I can manage now.
I would love to say I have beaten depression but that would be a lie. We still fight and it does knock me down hard at times but I'm winning at the moment and someday I hope the fight will be over and the demons will be gone.
I'm now back in college, I have even closer friends and family who I cannot express how much they mean to me. I'm finally feeling like me again. The once happy, friendly outgoing guy is back and I really like that guy. I now look at everything with a more open mind, have things to look forward to and I take every day as it comes.
As I said I am just here to share my story as I found reading other stories helped me get through things. If I had just one piece of advice, and you all hear it every day, is… talk to someone. Even if it's just about something small. If I didn't talk it out and open up a just that little bit I could still be in that 'dark room' or worse where no one wants to be.
Talk to a family member, talk to a mate, talk to your doctor, talk to your dog even. Just talk to someone. Even leave a little comment to share how you are feeling, you don't have to say much. I, and everyone around you just wants you to know that you are not alone no matter what is going on. Just talk!