'The Worst Part Is Not Knowing Why You're Crying' - One Reader's Journey With Depression
As part of our #TimeToTalk series, we will be sharing stories from our readers about their experiences with anxiety, depression and many other conditions in an attempt to open a conversation and battle the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
In this instalment, Gillian opens up about making the first step to seek help for depression and her struggle to tell her family and friends about what she is going through.
I've very recently been diagnosed with clinical depression.
It even feels crazy writing that. I couldn't even close the door in the doctor’s office before having a complete meltdown - very embarrassing as my doc is quite hot!
I've known for a few years that something wasn't right, but anytime I'd plucked up the courage to do something about it or tell someone, I'd convince myself that I was ok.
The thought of openly telling someone would physically fill me with dread. Sometimes when I'd temporarily accepted I might be depressed, I would feel so ashamed and mental that it'd be enough to bring on a fit of crying in itself. To which the end result was always, 'get a f***n grip and get it together, I'm fine'.
I'd have good spells of course, weeks or even months of feeling great. But when it hit, it hit really hard. I'd cry so hard sometimes I'd feel sick, but the worst part is not knowing why you're crying!
I actually convinced myself depression wasn't a real thing; something which still crosses my mind on a daily basis. So I've just told one friend. My parents don't know and I hope they never will.
I know it shouldn't be but it is embarrassing. I know I'm apparently not, but I do feel like a basket case. I know people say they understand and don't judge; but they will.
At the minute, the only way I can describe how I feel is as if someone has invaded my privacy. It feels as though someone else is trying to take residence in my mind; and that's not a metaphor.
When I come back around to logical thinking, it feels as though I've been having an out of body experience. Then there's the anxiety which comes along with it.
My whole body becomes tense and I can barely breathe. Writing this now, in a completely calm frame of mind, it seems as though this morning (when I was frozen, stuck in a silent panic for no reason) was days ago. But that's how sudden it can come and go and I'm slowly starting to accept that I have zero control over it.
The past few months have been horrific. I've been spontaneously, hysterically crying over minor issues, if any reason at all. In professional situations, at social events and obviously, when I'm alone.
I'm quite good at hiding it but recently, people have noticed changes in me. This has made me even more anxious and now I've developed a serious case of paranoia.
It's such a taboo that I don't want to explain to people why I'm feeling the way I am or acting the way I am because I know they'll look at me and treat me differently. But I'm not stupid either, I know this only adds to the problem as people don't understand and so, relationships fray.
Long story short, I'm getting help. I'm now on anti-depressants and arranging counselling. If people became more informed about mental illness, and not just the fact that it exists, it would help so much.
If they educated themselves with what can cause it and what it entails, I believe the stigma would lessen. And if people knew what to look out for, a lot more lives would be saved.
If you are struggling with mental health issues and need something to talk to, there are a range of confidential and anonymous options available. You can find a full list of available options here. To share your story as part of Her.ie's #TimeToTalk campaign, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.