An Open Letter About Depression
It's Depression Awareness Week! Started on the 18th [my birthday!] and finishes on the 24th.
I should have done this post the day it started but I didn't want to taint my birthday... Not that this is such a taboo topic that I didn't want to 'contaminate' my birthday by talking about it, but because I knew I was going to write an emotional post and I didn't want to end up crying on my birthday!
Depression is such a hard thing to come to grips with. It can take people ages for them to get the help they need either because they don't know enough about depression to know there's something wrong with them, they feel ashamed or embarrassed, or they just want to ignore the situation in the hopes that it will go away. It took me the entire first year of university to go to a doctor and to talk to my family about it. That's why weeks like this week are so important! It can give someone an insight into the illness so they recognise it in themselves, or it can be the push they need to finally talk to someone about the problems they've been having.
Although this post is partly about spreading awareness for Depression Awareness Week, it is also a way for me to open up about my depression story as I've never really done that. Hopefully someone can read it and relate to the way I felt and seek the help they need, or can be proud of the fact that they used to feel like I did but have managed to recover from that period of time in their lives.
When I first started seeing my psychiatrist, the first thing she told me to do was to write a letter to the guy that started off my troubles. It always seems so cliche that my depression was triggered by a guy, but everyone with depression needs some sort of trigger to start the main part of their illness and mine just happened to be a culmination of leaving home for university and boy troubles.
Another part of my problem is that I can't open up. It's not just that I won't open up, I physically can't. Like when I want to talk about my feelings or anything like that, the words physically won't come out of me. I don't know why and I know it's really annoying for other people, especially my family, but that's just the way I am. Although I am better at it now. Because of that, I kept everything bottled up inside of me and the thoughts just kept swirling around in my head, pulling me more and more into myself and just making the negative thoughts pile on top of each other. To try and alleviate that, my psychiatrist told me to write a letter saying how I felt, because I'm fine with expressing myself in writing. Not so that I could send it or anything, just so that I had a vehicle to express how I felt and because it was aimed at this particular person, I could tell him exactly what I wanted to.
The only person who's ever seen this was my psychiatrist. But I thought I'd share it on here to open up about my feelings at that time. Bear in mind that this is from a few years back so the words don't apply anymore. I.e. when I say 'love' I definitely don't feel that way anymore, that's just how I felt at the time.
I hate how you don’t love me. I hate thinking that you probably never did. I hate how much you made me love you. I hate that I wasn’t good enough for you. I hate that you didn’t want to show me off to all of your friends and you never talked to me in front of anyone and I hate that I let you do that because things were so amazing when we were alone together. I hate how I never got a proper goodbye. I hate how you went out the night before you left and said you’d be back early so you could spend time with me but you didn’t come back until 4 in the morning and I had to wait up for you and we didn’t even talk or cuddle when you came back, you just fell straight asleep. And in the morning you gave me a two-minute goodbye with the promise that we would see each other in 4 months and it wasn’t that long and we would be fine. I hate you for how you make me feel. Every time I think about you I feel so shit. I hate how you had the picture of you and your ex on your wall for months and I had to look at it every time I was in your room. I hate how you didn’t make the effort to talk to me over summer even though you knew what I was going through and you saw how miserable I was the last few months of uni. I hate how when I said I needed you because I was in a bad mood you made me feel like I was bothering you and you just stopped replying. I hate how you made me feel ashamed of loving you. I loved you so much and I would have done anything for you. You became my world and I didn’t know how to survive when that was taken away from me. I hate that you made me feel so bad that I thought about dying. I hate how pathetic you made me feel. I hate how any time I asked you to show me some sort of affection outside of your room you said that that wasn’t the kind of guy you were and made it seem like I was clingy or annoying for asking for it. I hated how I cried myself to sleep every night that entire summer because of you. I hated seeing that you were in a relationship after saying for the entire year that we were together that you didn’t want to be in a relationship. I hate that you made me think about everything that was wrong with me and made me rack my brains, trying to find out all the reasons why you didn’t want to be with me because you were immediately with someone else. I hate that you probably made fun about me to her. I hate how bad you made me feel and how inadequate and dispensable I felt around you. Mostly I hate how you made me feel ashamed for loving you and I never understood it because you said you loved me too.
There we have it. I've moved on a lot since then and I've managed to get over a lot of those feelings. Obviously some of them still go through my head occasionally, but I'm generally a lot better. And that's because I talked to a doctor and my family and they helped me get through it by seeking help.
It just goes to show, you can go from feeling like I did to getting help and sorting your brain out. If anyone thinks they might be suffering from depression, talk to someone! There's no need to feel ashamed. As the pictures shows, this is a real illness with real physical effects. Just like any other illness, you need help to get through it - you can't expect to do it alone or that it will go away by itself.