It’s been a week now since I opened up and bared my soul to the world. It’s one week later and nothing has changed for me. The ground didn’t open up and swallow me whole nor have I been sent to Coventry. What I have found is sympathy from those who have suffered from the same debilitating illness and empathy from those who have not suffered but have some understanding of what it can do. People have reached out to me either via Facebook or more directly to show support and understanding, much more than I thought.

For me this was about sharing an experience that is very personal but also very isolating. Not because of the nature of the illness but the fear of exposure and the impending judgements the you believe will come from people as a result. The worry that people will think you are some kind of crazy person that needs to be given a wide birth or, worse still, the people that will just say you need to “pull yourself together”….if only it was that simple. These types of behaviour come from a lack of understanding about the condition and the effects that it has on people and to be fair, if you have never suffered or known someone who has then you wouldn’t get it. It really is a tough thing to get your head around. I know of people who have quite literally had everything and want for nothing but still suffered from depression because their life lacked something.

Over the years I see many motivational posters on the Internet relating to depression such as:

“Depression is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of being too strong for too long.”

While this may be motivational to some I don’t believe it’s all that accurate in reality. The truth is that there is no stereotypical person that it affects, it can strike a person you would least expect to suffer while the person that would come as no surprise keeps soldiering on. Being strong for a long period of time will not make you depressed in and of itself, there are far more factors to it than that.

My experience with this has been short, but I have friends that have struggled with this for half a lifetime and continue to struggle. The use of the word “struggle” is deliberate as each day can vary so widely, from not being able to drag your ass out of bed through to almost jumping out of bed. It IS a struggle each day to find the drive and the motivation to keep getting up each day and doing what needs to be done, most days are a success but the odd one isn’t. That doesn’t mean we give up, we just try harder the next day, trying not to beat ourselves up too much about having an off day.

For now I am going to put this short subject on hold for future review as I believe I have said all I need to for now. That said, if you do suffer then do not suffer in silence as this will only make it worse. Seek help from a GP, talk to a friend and explain how you feel. Just don’t stay in silence, reach out and you may surprise who will take your hand.

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