I’m Glad my Depression Happened

I am glad my depression happened — it made me lose a debilitating pride and helped me form and appreciate better relationships. It has changed the way I view the world and has allowed me to accept my imperfections and embrace my limitations.

I have often struggled to say or show I feel and talk about how I am feeling. Depression has taught me that it is ok to cry. It is ok to cry and it is ok to talk about how you feel.

I hate the fact that society has made it easier for me to express how I feel, as I am a woman. I hate this stigma and I hate the fact that men aren’t treated equally in regards to their emotional health.

However, the more we talk about it and the more we open up as people and kill depression as a “dirty family secret” the more steps we can take to relieve our stress — to tell someone that something is wrong and to find not a “solution” but a way of embracing our own and societies mental illnesses.

Society thinks they know what my depression looks like — they expect to be able to identify depressives within itself. But, depression is so much more than a sad feeling. There are so many symptoms and so many different strands of the illness. If someone has a heart condition — do all people have the same heart condition?

I am a high-functioning depressive, I maintain a full time job, I am actively social, I am constantly around people.

What people don’t know and what they didn’t see is that for a long time I lived in a state of not feeling. My depression does not make me cry all the time nor does it mean I can’t face the outside world — it does not make me more emotional, it makes me less. What society doesn’t see is that for a long time I could not be in a room alone-I didn’t want to face my thoughts and I couldn’t bare to look at myself in a mirror. I kept myself busy, so busy that I wouldn’t remember to eat and physically exhausted myself with exercise in the hopes that it would make me sleep.

I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I drank alcohol so I could feel both nothing and something at the same time. I aggressively exercised and maintained at lowest a 2:1 average as I thought that was what society expected me to be. I exhausted my body and it exhausted me.

The trigger of high stress-intensity and a poor choice in lifestyle coincided with my mental breakdown — society needs to realise that my depression wasn’t triggered by severe trauma or grief, it can happen unexpectedly and very differently.

I’m glad my depression happened as I want to see behavioural characteristics and obsessive traits in others that I didn’t see in myself. To let others know that they are not a failure and they haven’t let anyone down by admitting t0 having a mental illness.

When I talk about my own mental illness in real life it will always make me cry- not because of the sadness of the memory but the relief of acceptance.

I am ill, society knows now and you know what — I have nothing to be ashamed of.

The best part of all of this, is that 9/10 times when I talk about my depression someone turns to me and says, “I know exactly how you feel”.