I am 38. There is nothing particularly unusual or special about me. I have no particular difficulties or worries except for the fact that I have suffered from crippling bouts of depression accompanied by intense fear and anxiety since my early twenties and my major episodes (five to date) have grown in intensity as I have got older, though thankfully reduced in frequency.
I feel driven to write my story to give some hope to those who experience depression (perhaps in silence) and who may not even realise that they may be unwell. However bad your experience, you can seek help and recover from what can be a crippling illness. There are people out there who understand what you are going through.
I don’t know why I experience depression. What is important is that I now recognise it as an illness, rather than seeing myself as a useless failure, and can therefore recover to better health.
When I become depressed it’s as if I am dead inside a body which is still alive. I lose enjoyment from anything and everything, even my own children. I find it difficult to sleep or eat, to carry out simple tasks like getting dressed or making a cup of tea. I feel afraid of everything and have times when I am in an immobile state of stupor. I have seriously contemplated suicide. It’s nothing to do with being in a ‘bad mood’ or ‘having a bad day’: I would give anything to escape from this hell when I’m in it.
Depression is an illness like any other which can be very serious indeed, and as such it should be treated with support, compassion and respect. Without my family’s support I would have been admitted to a psychiatric hospital. I have access to a psychiatrist and take medication to help me through the difficult times, without which I am not sure I would be here now.
There is always someone, somewhere who will understand what you are going through. So however desperate you may feel, remember that depression is an illness. It can be treated and you can recover from it: there is always hope.
This story was submitted to Mind by a website user, and is republished here with her permission. If you would like to share your experience of mental health with us, please tell us your story.