Mental Health (Trigger warning)
When deciding what to write about for our mental health topic over the coming two weeks I recalled several occasions where someone suffering depression was asked “how can you be unhappy?” and “can’t you just get over it”.
Mental Health has always had a taboo aura surrounding it in the general public. People don’t like to talk about it and over time a lot of stigma has attached itself to mental health conditions such as depression where people don’t know how to act when they meet someone with depression or a loved one is diagnosed with it and end up saying the completely wrong thing.
Therefore, today I hope to write a post that helps bring more awareness of depression and hopefully helps to inspire others to end discrimination of mental health and get rid of the ‘taboo’ label that society gives to depression. (See Me a Scottish charity looks towards ending this discrimination)
If you were on Twitter last week you might have seen the #TheWorstPartsofDepressionIs hashtag where people with depression took to the 140 characters to talk about how it really is to experience depression. If you have time why not check it out afterwards.
For now we here at TheFeministas would like to thank two people who experience depression and are willing to share their experience with us.
I suffer from anxiety and depression which although present doesn’t tend to affect my day to day life in a way that is outwardly noticeable- I can still go out with friends to eat and I can still go to work 3 times a week but I can definitely feel it still inside. I used to suffer from panic attacks and agoraphobia which prevented me from leaving my house for many months. Currently I’m okay and I can control my depression with tablets and my anxiety by seeing a councillor. I saw a psychologist for 9 months back in 2013/ 2014. Coping wise, the turning point was accepting that I’d had a bad experience thrown at me and that I just had to move on. For a long time I mourned the loss of my happiness and I couldn’t move past feeling angry, but once I had, I could work on feeling better. – Jasmine
Jasmine is a blogger who is very open about her experience with depression and you can find more about it on her blog under the mental health tab. JazzyFizzle
I was diagnosed at the start of 2011 while a second- year student at university, but I started feeling it mid-2010. My first serious consideration of suicide was in September 2010, when I planned it out. Since then, I haven’t been scared of dying. I don’t take medication. It was a personal decision. I trained in Occupational Therapy, so I’ve learned strategies for others that I used for myself. In 2010, I actually worked at a mental health hospital on placement with teenage girls locked in with severe depression and more. It was during that stint that I decided to go to a doctor, but I never told my university for fear it would affect my studies. If anything, I think it helped me relate to the girls in the ward, as I could understand their experiences more and think of strategies that helped me, so in turn helped them. I picked up so much there as well that I’ve been able to help myself with, e.g. sensory stimulation. In turns of self-harm, I’ve cut myself a few times, but I only have one visible scar. When I go through the ‘waves’ of despair, I tend to scratch myself instead. It doesn’t leave lasting marks, but when I’m lost in the emotions, I need the sharp pain of my nails scratching to anchor me and make me feel something real. It’s like all this overwhelming, breath- stealing fear and isolation and hopelessness and it’s all in your head and you need to pull yourself out of it. At least try to. Sometimes I wish it would leave marks so I could see that I made it through the other side. Sometimes it’s hard to believe there’s something on the other side of the mental agony. But I’ve learned through experience that the waves come to an end, so once they come on, I just tell myself not to fight it, just to wait. And I have a variety of activities to keep on hand when the waves come, as I can never be sure what will seem even remotely appealing. Knitting, reading, music, colouring in (this is good)… anything to keep me busy and try to tempt me out of the hole. -D
Friends and Families
One general thing that kept coming up when researching for this post was what advice to give to friends and families on how to help. Here are some do’s and don’ts on what to say and how to act but you can find more advice on Mind’s website.
- give support ~ sometimes words aren’t needed or wanted. Silent support can mean a lot whether it’s a squeeze on the shoulder or leaving a note if someone with depression wants to be alone. Just a little something to let them know you are there.
- ask general questions that can add pressure ~ such as “How are you?” “Are you okay?”
- Never tell them to stop taking their medication.
If you want to read more about mental health Theresa Borchard is a Mental Health writer and activist.
Helplines | Contacts
Mind – go to the Mind website for more information about depression, for people with depression and information for friends and family of someone suffering depression. As well as contact information for further help.
Youngminds – is the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. Driven by their experiences we campaign, research and influence policy and practice.
If you haven’t found somewhere you can contact have a look at the helplines tag on Tumble there are a lot of posts there to help you with links to contact numbers. Anonymous and otherwise.