The word ‘depression’ is one that has different undertones for different people. For some it is the feeling of utter despondency in the face of an unpromising world. For others it is synonymous with ungovernable sensations of anger and self loathing at their inability to be the person they desire to be. For many people it is these things and more.
The irrefutable fact of this illness is that it is a drain on someone’s mental resources and drastically impairs their potential to function in day to day life. It effects people regardless of their age, sex, race, social position or gender. Depression freely traverses across our fickle notions of boundaries and difference and yet, rather than this being a foundation for an open dialogue and change, it is more often than not a catalyst for dividing and isolating people from their loved ones and preventing them from living a fulfilled life.
It is said that a staggering one in four people will suffer with some form of mental illness within their lifetime. This is clearly an ethical issue that has long been, and continues to be, overlooked and misunderstood by the general population. Perhaps the most disturbing facet of this is how such an illness can pass by unnoticed by family and friends who would otherwise do their utmost to help their loved ones.
Having depression, as any sufferer would tell you, is far from the easiest thing to relate to someone who has not experienced its crippling impact. For some it is a painful if brief period of time that is triggered by a traumatic incident; for others it has and continues to encompass every moment of their waking lives.
I believe that I personally fit into the latter category; the earliest memory I have of being encased in that all too familiar pit of despair was several years ago and the defining characteristic of my depression has and continues to be an intense feeling of isolation in the context of social situations. This is rooted in my social anxiety, an occurrence that is not abnormal for someone who has the depression; the two often go hand in hand. While words can only do so much to describe the upheaval that it has had on my life so far, I find that attempting to translate my emotional state into words a therapeutic exercise in itself.
I should make myself clear that I do not expect by cataloguing my own experience of mental illness and all of its variants to somehow change the world. Nor do I expect it to provide some cathartic change in either the mental suffering of someone with depression or even a person’s perspective of the disorder itself.
Rather, I like to think that this blog will be, at the very least, an account of interest to those who happen to stumble upon my microscopically small corner of the internet. At most, I hope it is a way in which sufferers can find some solace in the fact that are not alone in their ordeal. With this in mind, I intend to produce regular entries where I will focus on either specific memories, general thoughts, research-based articles and TV/film – based reviews on specific aspects of mental illness that I feel are important to highlight and dissect for the betterment of my own and others mental well-being.
As an end-note to this brief introduction all I will say is that I hope that you enjoy the content I produce as much as I enjoy writing it. As it stands mental illness in all of its shapes and sizes is an unfortunate yet prescribed mark on modern society and learning how to manage it is something that I believe is worth fighting for.
Are you with me?
Emotional support helplines:
Samaritans :116 123
Rethink Mental Illness advice line 0300 5000 927 (Monday to Friday 09:30-16:00; local rate)
Sane Line:0845 767 8000
Mind also has a useful guide of support and services, which can be found by clicking the link right here