Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Depression isn't black & white

I had such an amazing and heartwarming response to my last post The Joke Wears Thin  and it really gave me the courage to write some more. I had been so nervous to share my blog with people who actually knew me in real life. My anxieties stemmed from being mocked for thinking I was interesting enough to write a blog, or that people would talk about the poor quality of my writing. Although these anxieties are still there, picking at my brain, I realised how much I do enjoy writing and how great it would be to share it with the world. 

Mental health is something that over the past few years I have become more passionate about. It wasn't until I became unwell myself that I truly realised how destructive mental illnesses can be, not only to the victim but those around them. I only have experiences of my struggles, but I am eager to raise awareness about all mental health disorders. 

My primary issue is depression and my eating disorder is just a secondary problem that stemmed from the depression itself. I think depression can be one of the hardest mental disorders to explain; it's more than just being sad. It seems a lot of people get sadness and depression mixed up. It's not uncommon for someone that is feeling sad to say they feel depressed. Of course a part of depression is profound sadness; but this isn't the only symptom. There is a lot more to depression than simply being sad. 

So what is sadness? Well, sadness is an emotion. It's what we feel when we break up with our partner, when we loose a loved one or when don't quite get the grade we wanted in a test. Sadness is a normal human emotion, at some point in our lives we should all feel it. 

Sadness is not an illness. Sadness is not depression. 

Unlike sadness, depression is an illness. Sadness is an emotion and is not constant,  it leaves for periods and you laugh and be happy. Whereas depression is there every moment of the day and like an unwelcome visitor it does not leave and open the door to happiness. Depression is not a normal human emotion, it requires serious medical attention and sadly sometimes it is a murderer. 

Although sadness is a part of depression there is so much more to it such as: low self esteem, trouble sleeping, reduced motivation, lower energy levels and varying emotions throughout the day. 

Considering someone with depression as just being 'sad' is an insult. Not only is it an insult to that person but the thousands of lives it takes each year. As a society we cannot afford to play down the devastating impact this illness has on peoples lives. 

How much longer must we continue to dismiss the seriousness of depression? It is the thief of lives and strips people away of their human identity. If you know someone who is suffering with depression reach out to them, offer them an ear to listen. You could be the only person that does. 


1 comment

  1. Even though the importance of mental health is being more widely acknowledged nowadays, I completely agree that there are still many cases where its seriousness is completely overlooked. I suffer from some MH issues and am trying to drum up the courage to talk about them online. Hopefully one day I will be as brave as you - thank you for sharing this :-)


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