I suffer from depression but I’ve never, ever felt sad
It’s time the truth about depression came out
I’m Kate. Writer for The Tab, Business Management student, singer, and I suffer from depression. I take Citalopram Hydrobromide tablets (a type of anti-depressant), I’ve had counselling, and up until a year ago, I self-harmed.
There, I said it. Why have I just told a random group of strangers that? Because it shouldn’t be a secret, something I am ashamed of, like it has been for such a long time. In fact, it’s something I’m (now) proud of.
If mental health conditions, such as depression, were kept less hush-hush, and people were less inclined to keep them a secret, there wouldn’t be such a taboo surrounding the subject. So that’s why I’ve revealed that I, a perfectly normal student, suffer from depression.
I’ve never actually felt sad. In fact, if anything I felt absolutely nothing. Because I felt so empty, I hated myself, which came across to other people as anger and sadness. Sadness is just a fleeting emotion, and it’s good – healthy even – to feel this. For me, depression is having all of my emotions crash down on me until I just shut them all away and refused to let myself feel anything at all.
And don’t even get me started on people who say those who suffer from depression should just stop being sad and feel happy. They can just fuck right off.
It took me ages to realise this, but suffering from depression does not mean you can’t mentally handle things – that you’re weak. Suffering from depression and getting through the other side is a sign of strength. Depression is a medical condition, and anyone can suffer from it. Winston Churchill suffered from a Depressive Disorder, and he went on to be the Prime Minister.
Of course, it is sometimes caused by traumatic events, such as the death of someone close, but more often than not it is brought on by chemical imbalances in the brain. People expect those who suffer from depression to have had a major incident in their life to cause the illness. But this assumption needs to be stopped, because it makes sufferers believe they don’t necessarily “deserve” to feel like that, and they don’t deserve to be helped. This was why I took such a long time to seek treatment.
Antidepressants help, but they don’t help everyone. Those drugs are only given to those who suffer depression above a certain degree, and most of the time other treatments such as counselling and psychotherapy help.
I was prescribed Citalopram Hydrobromide because I was self harming. Even then, the maximum dosage of the medication I was ever prescribed was 20mg a day, which is a medium dosage. Counselling, while I hated it because it made me talk about stuff I didn’t want to talk about, helped me to discover what caused my depression to peak, and helped me get better.
With the medication I take, six months after suffering a depressive episode you can start to wean yourself off the medication (under the supervision of a doctor, of course). You don’t have to have it for the rest of your life.
Anyone can suffer depression at any point in their life, and they need to be treated. From what I understand of depression now, I think throughout my lifetime I have suffered from episodes, and I do sometimes wonder if I wouldn’t have been as badly affected by the condition if it had been diagnosed and treated sooner. There is a huge difference between depression and adolescent hormones, and while it might be difficult to spot, it is essential that it is.
It’s time people stopped viewing depression and mental health issues as awkward to deal with, and educated themselves on the facts surrounding them. One in four people will experience some kind of mental health issue over a year, so if it’s so common, why do we keep quiet about it?
As twisted as you might think it is, I’m proud I have beaten depression, because I am a stronger and better person for it.
So stop keeping quiet and believing every little thing you hear about people suffering from mental health issues being…well, mental. Speak out, because that’s the only way the stigma and taboo associated with them will be broken.