Whilst a lot is being done to break the various stigmas attached to mental illness, we are still not ‘there’ yet. There being at a place in which there are no negative connotations attached to having a mental illness, as well as perceiving someone with a mental illness, the way in which we see someone with a physical-illnesses; someone that needs time and care.
We need to talk about depression more than we already are. We need to normalise it so people don’t feel stupid, scared and/or conflicted that this is something that they are dealing with and need to come forward with. Is it your fault that you are suffering with depression? Absolutely not. Is it something that you could have prevented? No. Having depression does not make you weak. It does not mean that you are any lesser of a person than anyone else in the room with you.
Our twenties are typically touted as the best years of our lives and for many of us they will be. However, that is not to say that they will and should be. There will be stresses at various intervals over this period in which there may be unemployment, family loss, personal and professional stresses and general anxiety that will plague us. Sometimes there will be a straw that will break the camel’s back and other times there might not be; you cannot always control your mental state. Whether something has happened for your mental state to turn or whether it has gradually been turning without any external factors contributing makes it neither here nor there. What is key, is to not suffer in silence and recognise that you need to seek attention as soon as possible.
Just as you wouldn’t tell your friend with a broken arm to roll over and sleep it off, you cannot tell your mind that it will be better in the morning. Unfortunately, in cases with mental health, by prolonging medical attention all you will be doing is making you future mornings worse and your recovery time far longer. So, we are here to recognise the signs with you and to really urge you not to suffer in silence.
Let’s strip it back to basics. What is depression?
‘Depression is a common and debilitating mood disorder. More than just sadness in response to life’s struggles and setbacks, depression changes how you think, feel, and function in daily activities. It can interfere with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and enjoy life. The feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness can be intense and unrelenting, with little, if any, relief’.
Note that men and women can act differently whilst suffering, with men commonly feeling both angry and restless, whilst women will tend to act more emotionally.
Here are 10 signs that you may be suffering with depression.
- Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
- Loss of energy
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Sleep changes
- Angry and/or irritable
- Difficulty concentrating
- Reckless behaviour
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Change in appetite and weight
With suicide being the highest it’s been for women in 20 years and being the biggest killer amongst men between the ages of 18-24, it begs the question, why are people still suffering in silence? Why have we not broken stigmas enough that people still feel they have to suffer alone? You do not need to suffer in silence and we strongly urge you not to. Whether you feel the prospect of confiding in family and friends too daunting, know that, there are other options. You don’t need to just hope in vain that things ‘get better’. Reach out to someone, anyone, at best a medical practitioner. Whilst mental health is not something that can be erased from your history, it can be treated. You can and will lead a better life than you feel you are leading if you speak out to someone you trust.
If you are currently suffering in silence, consider a sibling or family member suffering in silence. Would you want them to go it alone, knowing how bad it is, or would you have hoped that they would have reached out to you? You would support them so allow someone to support you.
Twenty Mile Club