1 in 4. 25%. That’s the number of people who suffer from a mental health problem in any given year. That’s a high number isn’t it?
I am 1 in 4. I am part of the 25%, and you don’t know how much it scares me to openly admit that fact.
Even though I’ve really not wanted to admit it to myself – let alone everyone else – I’ve struggled with depression on and off for far too long now; probably since dad died back in 1998 if truth be told. I’m sure a lot of people I know have no idea I’m depressed. Should they ask me if there’s something wrong I just say that I’m having a bad day. But I’m not really. I’m having a terrible day.
The problem with depression is, it takes time to manifest itself. You feel a bit down, so you isolate yourself from friends and family. You start to feel indifferent about things you once loved and you notice your confidence drops too. At the same time, you don’t want to be a burden to family or friends so you either force happiness or you shun them away. Sometimes it’s both. It seems unfair on them. I don’t enjoy the idea that I’m putting my difficulties onto the shoulders of others, in spite of the fact that they’re probably willing and able to take some of the weight off of my own.
Socialising seems pointless…in fact everything seems so pointless. You have no focus; you just don’t want to deal with all these dark feelings. Your brain – the very thing designed to keep you alive – force-feeds you this cocktail of misery and you drown in it, floundering.
My depression has come in waves over the years, taking hold and dragging me under. Most of the time I’ve managed to get myself back on my feet but there are times where I’ve seriously struggled to get myself out of the door in the morning.
I’m sure you’re reading this and wondering to yourself why I’ve not gone and spoken to someone about it, gone to the doctors and spoken to them? Truth is, I don’t trust doctors. I’ve not trusted them since I was young having gone to them a number of times about “proper” – i.e. physical – concerns. Their dismissive attitude had a profound effect on me and since then I have done my level best to avoid contact with them. Not a clever thing to do I suppose but that’s the truth of the matter. So I’m sure you can imagine how utterly pointless I’ve thought it to go and talk to them about my “illness”. You see the problem?
So why am I “coming out” now? Why am I putting this out there for all of you to read?
The last year has been a struggle, filled with the stress of trying to buy the house, move, and get on with making the new house our home; no small undertaking considering the work it needed before we bought the place. Life was pretty much put on hold. If it wasn’t related to moving then it pretty much didn’t happen. That is except for our holiday in Scotland with the girls, which was the most amazing time.
On top of the big move I had to deal with starting my new family, trying to figure out how it was all going to work and how I fitted in with Shelli and her girls. How was this going to work with Alice and Elisa? How was I supposed to “be” around all of the girls? Would Alice and Elisa understand? The pressure of balancing it all out, making sure – as best as I could – I didn’t alienate anyone was overwhelming. It still is if I’m completely honest.
Right now though I’ve hit a real low. I’m exhausted. I don’t sleep well. I’m not looking after myself properly. Nothing seems to be exciting me anymore. I struggle to find the beauty in life. I’m still trying to figure out how I fit in in the new blended family I have. Worse still, how I am right now is having a massively bad effect on Shelli and that I cannot have.
I’m scared. I’m scared about being open and honest about this. I’m scared that people will think that I’m weak or pathetic. I’m scared that people will treat me differently. More importantly though, I’m scared of losing everything again, and right now that feels like a very real possibility.
I need to get better.
Hopefully this will be that first brave step…