Depression Awareness Week | What You Don't See

This week is depression awareness week, and to mark it The Blurt Foundation are asking people to share their experiences of depression that others don't see. I love the idea of this, simply because depression is much more than just a diagnosis of a mental illness; there's huge stigma, physical as well as mental effects, and it can have devastating impacts of people's lives. Here I'm sharing the aspects of depression that weren't seen and still aren't seen, in the hope of raising awareness of huge a horrible illness. 

Having to give myself a pep talk every day just to get up. When my depression was at it's worse, I found it near impossible to just be able to get out of bed. I need reassuring that it was the right thing to do and that going down the stairs of my family home would be perfectly okay.

The struggle of getting on the school bus. I felt so uncomfortable around people in a confined space like the bus, that it got to the point where I had to get driven to and from school or I couldn't physically bring myself to go, (thanks mum for driving me).

The obsession with lists and plans. This was partly an anxiety thing, in that I needed to have a plan in place for every possible situation and I needed a list, for everything. I'd write a list of the things I needed to do that say, picking three that were the most important and it was such a relief if I was able to get them done. 

The constant loneliness. Being lonely is horrible. And despite the fact that I was mostly surrounded by friends and family, depression made me lonely. I lost a lot of friends whilst my depression was at it's worse, and I isolated myself hugely. 

The emptiness inside after counselling sessions. In the end I found that counselling just for me, but I did have sessions weekly for quite a while, and I never got used to feeling so drained, numb and empty after an hour or so of talking to someone. It was like I was telling someone things that should've lifted a weight off my shoulders, but the weight was replaced by such huge emptiness that was far worse than the worry of before. 

Not being able to understand your mind. Although I was a teen when I was diagnosed with depression, it had all been building up for several years, and whilst on the one hand it made me grow up extremely fast, it also meant that I struggled to understand myself. I couldn't put into words what was happening and how I was feeling because I was utterly depressed yet I couldn't feel anything but numbness all at once. 

Depression affects a huge number of people, not only the sufferers themselves but their loved ones see and experience it too. You're not alone, even if you feel like you are. I'm lucky to be able to share my experiences knowing that for me, nothing could be worse than that. Depression is so much more than feeling low or 'looking depressed' and this is exactly why we need to raise more awareness of depression as a whole, and not just a mental illness. 

To read more of people hidden depression experiences, check out #WhatYouDontSee on Twitter

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