The Story Behind The Smile
Depression has always been something that has played on my mind and I have always been curious about it.
Depression is mostly described as being unhappy and sad, and something that most people experience at some point in their life for short periods, however, clinical depression is a mood disorder in which the sadness, anger and dark feelings interfere with everyday life for a longer period of time.
The feeling behind depression varies between person to person and everyone has a different story. Last week, I had the opportunity to ask someone who has recovered from depression about their story.
Q. How old were you when you first realised you had depression?
A. I was 14 and had just started my GCSE's at school
Q. When you realised that you had depression, what did you do?
A. I first told maybe three of my closest friends - not the whole story but the majority of it, and then maybe around two weeks later, they encouraged me to tell my boyfriend at that time. However, I refused to tell any adult because I didn't feel comfortable talking to them about it and I didn't want to cause a big fuss or anything.
Q. How did your friends react to the news?
A. Two out of my three closest friends really knew what to say and how to react to it. They really helped my through what I was going through and encouraged me to do the right thing. My other closest friend has been my best friend since I was around three years old and she didn't take the news well. She didn't know how to react to this and basically said to just stop being so stupid. I fully understand why she has reacted the way she did, I mean, she's almost too close to me to fully understand my situation. My boyfriend, on the other hand, didn't say anything at all; he completely ignored the situation. The relationship at that time wasn't the best, but, for him to just stay silent and ignore me until I finally ended it with him about a week later, really hurt me. We are now great friends and since then, he has really helped me to recover.
Q. Would you be comfortable sharing your story?
A. Sure, so for around a year, I started to have days maybe around two to three times per month where I would just feel really down and really uncomfortable in myself, and that feeling just kept getting more and more frequent until it got to the point when it was almost all the time. I classed myself as having atelophobia, which is the fear of imperfection and never being good enough, and also alexithymia, which is the difficulty to talk about how I'm feeling. Why it started, I don't know, but I know that it increased when issues involving my family started and when issues with my boyfriend started. Also, I just started feeling really insecure and bad about the way I looked. This sadly all led to self-harm. I remember bruising myself mostly and sometimes burning myself to mask the sadness with pain. This then all led to cutting. When people started to notice the scars, they encouraged me to seek professional help and, it took a while, but I finally did and I'm starting to actually feel happy again.
Q. Finally, do you regret anything that you have done?
A. Honestly, no. The only thing I regret is not getting that help sooner and feeling better sooner.
So, that is her story. The story that she has finally had the courage to share. There are so many people out there that are able to support* you and help you through things and, even if you're not going through this, someone out there is and the smallest things can honestly make the biggest difference.
*Sub-Ed’s note to readers: If you need any help with or advice on mental health or other problems, please contact Meic online, via their helpline on 080880 23456, or text 84001. All their advice is free and confidential. Also see the links below as starting points.
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Image Credit: Atelophobia.org