LET'S HAVE A CHAT ABOUT DEPRESSION

February 12, 2017


When I first started blogging back in 2012 it was a world of mascara and lipstick and that was about as deep as it got. Coming back to writing a few years later the whole blogging landscape has changed. People are being more open with their experiences and their lives.

Mental health isn't something I openly talk about with anyone outside my close circle of friends and family but it's something I think about every day. When I was 7 my parents separated. At the time my mum was the villain, splitting up our family like that. Now I know she was desperately trying to protect us from my alcoholic father. Whenever I look back on the memories of my dad it's surrounded by a hazy blur and the most upsetting parts are almost entirely blanked from my mind. When my father eventually passed away in 1999 after almost a lifetime of battling his demons there was a small sense of relief. I would never have to see my mum’s worried face as she left us with him for a few hours after he promised not to drink. I wouldn't have to get a train stopped while visiting family in Scotland because my dad was so drunk he couldn't get up out his seat. I would never have holidays promised to us but my dad get too ill to be able to take us anywhere and I would never have to see him in hospital, with a tracheostomy and unable to talk to us.

Experiencing these things would be a lot for my 28 year old self to handle let alone all this happening before I turned 10. For a lot of my teenage years I bottled up the emotions surrounding my dad’s passing and refused to let anyone in. As I got older and went to university the freedom of living away from home allowed my own demons to take a hold. By 3rd year of Uni I was barely holding it together. I rarely went to lectures, was drinking too much and had almost given up. I wanted to block the noise out and the constant fear of becoming like my dad had actually turned me into him. I let friendships slide and I didn't care about anyone but myself. Depression can take over everything and the fog can be suffocating. I'm not entirely sure how I made it through that year but I did and every time I see the picture of me on graduation day it fills me with hope that anything is possible.

It took my Grandpa passing away in 2012 for me to really see what I was doing to myself was so destructive. I realised I had never fully grieved for my Dad and all that raw emotion I had locked away came back to the surface. I had to accept that I had been depressed and in denial for quite some time. I finally gave in to my Mums pleas for me to talk to someone and got referred for CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).

Turns out just talking saved my life. The simple act of letting go and saying how you really feel to someone who will never judge and is simply there to listen is the most freeing thing I have ever done. CBT also made me realise a lot of other things I had been suffering with in silence were linked, disordered eating, anxiety and issues with alcohol. Part of me went into CBT expecting to walk out a new person and free of all the problems I had before, but of course it doesn't work like that. What it does do is make that dark cloud seem a little lighter, like a few sun beams are breaking through. I could finally see there was light at the end of the tunnel. I look back on this part of my life with great sadness but it also gives me courage that if I made it through that I'm not as weak as I let myself believe. 

It has taken a lot of talking over the years to get to where I am today. I often confide in my closest friends if I am feeling down, to share the burden and normalise the situation again. I am still battling with depression and anxiety and I think I will for my whole life but it's not such a scary thing anymore. I know the signs and I know ways to make myself feel a bit better and able to cope with the day. I am not saying I'm perfect, in fact far from it, but I know my downfalls now. I know when I'm slipping and I'm able to pull myself back. I think belief in myself has come with age, I know I certainly don't give a shit what people think of me anymore and I know my friends and family love me despite being a bit off the radar sometimes.

By sharing a bit of my journey I hope it can shine a light on this affliction that so many people suffer with and never talk about. There shouldn’t still be a stigma attached to mental health in 2017 and yet there is. I feel like this post has turned into a bit of a ramble but I wanted to just get this out there. I hope that if just one person reads this and decides to talk about how they're really feeling it's worth baring my soul in this way. I always say writing is a bit like therapy, and having a blog is basically just a diary anyone can read. 

An old friend of mine Jo recently wrote a fantastic piece for Metro on how just talking about having depression makes it an easier to cope with. I've linked it below and her fantastic blog - go and check her out!


There is so much help out there if you need it and your GP is the best place to start. Be honest about how you feel and push for the treatment you want and think you need. Be persistent and be strong, you can get through anything you put your mind to.

I've also written a post about ways I deal with my depression, it will be live next week. 



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1 comments

  1. Completely agree... if you've had a bout of it before, you get to know the signs and can pull yourself back in before it gets too out of control. Well done for being so open xx

    Megan
    Denton & Lou 

    ReplyDelete

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