My dark companion
Posted Wednesday 7 March 2012
When I began fundraising last year one of my aims was to not only raise funds for Mind but to help break the stigma that still surrounds mental health and to be able to encourage people to talk about it openly by doing the same myself.
However I have held off writing about my experiences on my blog as although my depression is part of my life I do not want it to define who I am.
I was worried that once people knew about it that would be all they would see. Whenever I did try to write about my experiences it felt as though I just felt sorry for myself, I couldn’t put into words what I wanted to say.
And that’s the problem with depression, how do you describe it to someone who has never experienced it? How do you explain to the people who tell you to: "Snap out of it", or "Just look on the bright side", that it is not that simple?
I have heard people describe what living with depression is like in many different ways in the last decade since I first began suffering from it.
Two descriptions always stick in my mind, first being that it’s like going through life with an extra 20lb sack to heave around with you, it makes everything harder and leaves you constantly exhausted. The second is that it’s like having a dark companion always by your side.
I feel like my dark companion is constantly trying to drag me down into a negative way of thinking. Sometimes, thanks to a combination of great friends, supportive family and a shed load of therapy, I am able to turn my back on my dark companion and step out from its shadow for a while. Other times all the support in the world isn’t enough and my dark companion drags me under.
The power of the mind is an amazing yet scary thing and the way it can make me hate and turn against myself for no reason is something I wonder if I will ever escape from. It frightens me to think that I could try all the medications and therapy I am offered yet still suffer from chronic bouts of depression for the rest of my life.
My dark companion may always be with me but I refuse to let it define who I am. I hope that now other people know about it they will not define me by it either and will just see me and accept me as the person I am, with all my ups and downs.
Beccy will be running from Lands End to John O’Groats and you can sponsor this mammoth effort online.
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