In the spirit of World Mental Health Day, I thought it would share a little bit about my own experience on the subject.
It all started in 2015 when my wife went back to work and my life as a stay-at-home Dad in a very mummy-focused world of parenting began. Which on the face of it sounds like a dream come true.
Depression will make you question everything.
As someone who is suffering from depression and anxiety, I have wanted to write about my experiences for some time, wondering what a difference I can make – how I can contribute to the wider community. How I can write about it that’s less ‘woe is me’ and more about learning how to fight it and educate others?
What is depression? For me, depression is having just about everything and still wanting to throw it all away. It is the lowest of all places, the lowest of the low.
It’s a sense of distance when in a conversation with someone. A feeling of not being in the room. An empty feeling. A Feeling of nothingness. A mind that races. A sense of dread for no apparent reason. It’s physical, too. The feeling of having the weight of the world on your shoulders physically weighing you down. It’s a swift kick to the balls. It’s dread. It’s all of that, all at the same time. Switching back and forth. Depression is hard to keep track of!
It will tell you’re not good enough. It will take everything that makes you think otherwise and make it disappear. It will make you feel like it’s not worth asking for help. That little four letter word that is there only for those who deserve it. Each day it will begin again and you’ll wake up thinking that today is the day that it isn’t going to beat me and I’m stronger than this and If you can learn to do this, it’s the most amazing feeling.
Why are so few of those seeking help men?
Depression is long misunderstood. It’s different from the phrase ‘I’m depressed’ – the feeling you get when there are no more crisps left in the bag or your favourite television show is cancelled. The two feelings just don’t compare! It is all of your emotions hitting you at once while feeling empty at the same time. It can, in some cases take over your life and others it can completely consume you.
So why are so many people afraid to seek help? And why are so few of those seeking help men? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in a world where this wasn’t the case?
I wish that anybody going through mental health issues wouldn’t be afraid of asking for help.
Depression is something that just doesn’t ‘go away’. Rather than let it consume you, you can learn to manage it. Taking the first step to getting some help can be the most frightening thing, but It shouldn’t be. I wish that mental health had the same level of respect as physical health. I wish talking about it wasn’t such a big deal.
The next time you engage in conversation with someone, take an extra moment to be mindful of the words you choose. They too may be weathering a storm too.