It may be obvious from my neglectfulness this year that my mind has been elsewhere. I feel now that I am strong enough to start to share a little of my recent life. I have not yet regained my fluidity with words so please bare with me.
Before I left my work last year I had already started to become unwell, although I had yet to realise. I suppose you could look back even further, although I am not yet in a position to be retrospective at this point. I told many that I was finishing my job to find happiness, and this was a level of honesty I was only scratching the surface of. A series of events early this year helped me to keep the majority of the sickness at bay, but this effort took its toll. By the start of April I was verging on a complete breakdown. In April I was formally diagnosed with Depression and started on a Mental Health Plan.
Those special few close to me could see it coming and were encouraging me to take it easy and not take any big steps or make any rash decisions. They kept telling me to talk about things and open up and just let things unfold. With the support of these special few I was able to approach others I was interacting regularly with and ask for patience, help and support.
My most painful realisation during this time wasn’t that I had this sickness. It wasn’t the difficulty I experienced as I accepted this fact or how I learned to allow myself to become even more vulnerable as I spoke to others about what I was going through. The most painful thing was that some people who claimed importance in my life seemed to disappear around this time. I would ask for patience and extra effort to maintain communications, not to give up. I would ask for support and positive encouragement, understanding that it was difficult for me to ask.
For the most part my people went far and beyond what I had expected and showed me everyday that I wasn’t suffering alone. I have never felt more loved or cared for. It was a blessing for someone like me, as I have always tried to maintain a small but reliable group of good friends.
Sadly, I still experienced a failure on behalf of a small few. Those who didn’t seem all that concerned of the fact that my pleas for help were just that, please for help. I would express how I was feeling, why I was feeling that way, and how I would like them to help and support me.
“I just want to hear from, please just talk to me. Please don’t cut me off. I’m struggling and I don’t feel like I can cope.” Even saying this was hard enough that I would be left in a distressed state for hours.
After a while I realised that it wasn’t my fault. I even found I was sometimes told “It’s because I don’t think positively. If I did I would find that everything would fix itself.” Or, “Sometimes these things aren’t really there, it’s just because you want to be sick that you feel like this.”
I cannot emphasise enough how these comments only made me feel worse about myself and think less of the person saying them.
My point in this post is more to help people see what I struggled with in the beginning, and I will share a bit more about what I went through. So many people experience something like this, or know someone who is experiencing something like this, and I would hate to think that people with Depression do not experience similar feelings of neglect from ones who should be showing care. Depression is a real illness and should be treated that way. If someone is diagnosed with Diabetes they have medication and a diet to adhere to, and Depression is no different.
When someone you know asks for help and support, just talk to them. It needn’t be every day, but it shouldn’t be only when you feel lie it. They won’t always be strong enough to reach out to you, but your effort will be the blessing that brings light to their days.