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 it 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 am one of these people. The earliest memory I have of being encased in that all too familiar pit of despair was several years ago. 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.
This is just part of the reason as to why I have decided to start writing about my experience. I should make myself clear that I do not expect it to change the world. Nor do I expect it to provide some cathartic change in either the mental suffering of someone with depression or a person’s perspective of the disorder. Rather, I like to think it 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 or general contemplations that I feel are important. Specifically I will analyse my negative thoughts and behaviour in these instances in an effort to understand the reason or reasons behind my depression, and to explore how these situations could have been avoided.