Hi, guys. I want to start off by apologising for this post being a week late. I was on holiday in Venice with my family last week hence why there was no upload. I hope you guys have had a good couple of weeks.
Today I will be talking about my personal experience with depression. I will be spliting this over two posts as I don’t want this to be to long, leaving you bored and unable/unwilling to read all the wa to the end. It can be a hard and emotional topic to discuss, but I want to write about this in the hope that light will be shed on different experiences allowing for the stigma around mental illness will be diminished even just a little.
It’s estimated, that approximately 1 in every four people will suffer from some form of mental health problem at some point in their lifetime, with depression, anxiety or a mix of both being the most common diagnoses.
Although depression doesn’t discriminate between age, gender, race, culture, economic status, disability or physical/mental ability, sexuality or any other outside factor, some groups are more at risk of experiencing a mental health problem.
Those who are older, identify as LGBT or have a pre-existing disability or medical condition to contend with are more likely to face discrimination, homelessness, poor ill health, the potential for isolation, poor or complete inability to participate in meaningfull activities and poorer access to the local and wider community. Inability to acess high quality education, work and lower wages leading to poverty.
As I have mentioned above these are just possible risk groups. It is not to be assumed that anyone and everyone who is elderly or disabled/chronically ill will face mental illness. Nor is it acceptable to presume to someone who seems to have everything is immune from suffering from a mental illness.
There are many many situations that can bring on mental ill health. Anyone suffering must be listened to, treated with respect, given appropriate help for their personal pridicamant and treated as a human being who’s life is valubale.
I myself started experiencing symptoms of depression from the age of 16. I had recently moved away to boarding school during term times. I went to a specialist education school for 11 – 19 year olds with a visual impairments.
I personally loved being away from home and I never really had any issues with the whole aspect of living away from my family as I got to see them on the odd weekend that I went home or during school holidays.
However, up until then I had been in mainstream education and I think the extreame difference between the two different settings made me, subconciously, realise just how differnt and isolated I had felt during my time in mainstream education.
During the school day, at my mainstream setting, I’d had a TA with me in the majority of my lessons. The teachers never understood my sight or what I needed. There was a lack of consistancy in terms of the work that was provided in a format that was accessible to me. I was often told that I had to use tools that I believed made me stand out and made me feel uncomfortable.
I knew and inherintly feelt different from my peers. Couple this with someone who isen’t the brightest social butterfly and you get someone who becomes awkward and socially anxious. I believe that my visual impairment did have a massive impact on the way I interacted with others and I can find it hard at times to read others imply because I find it more difficult to physically see what they are doing so that has lead to some awkward or hesitant reactions on my part sometimes.
I have also noticed that I am someone who is so self depricated it has gotten to the point where compliments have and still do sometimes feel like stabs of pain. They make me feel like the person who is dishing out the compliment is a fake and rather two-faced. It is a rather odd and debilitating state of mind.
Due to this mentality I have shied away from fully participating in activities that I love such as singing and other instrimental solos and so on. I’m so concerned with people’s initial thoughts of me. I also have this irational need to do something perfectly the first time round therefore, I make myself extra nervous and fuck up even more than I would if I was more relaxed and less concerned.
I have a feeling that this way of thinking and the feeling of being different but not wanting to appear visually impaired all became to much, therefore, by the time I was 16 it started taking its toll on my mental health.
I have written a previous post about my coming out story. I also believe that this had a major impact on my life and mental health as I was so confused and scared about the whole issue. I didn’t know if I was into girls or guys or both. I just wanted to know one way or the other and that instability and confusion can be frustrating and taxing on any individual.
At times during the three years that I was at boarding school I started to feel that I wasn’t up to much. I truely started to feel unworthy of being anyone’s friend. I couldn’t see what I could offer. I always felt that there was someone else who could give that same level or even a better quality of friendship to someone. I started to feel jelous of others and frustrated and defeated within myself.
I alway felt like I was missing out on all the cool hang outs and fun and funny moments that the social aspect of the school had to offer. Due to this I started to withdraw myself at times and so I found myself in a catch 22 situation. I desperatly wanted to be around others but somehow couldn’t find out how to fit exactly into any one circle of friends, thus missing out on some of the inside jokes and ways of acting. I also found myself feeling rather awkward at times, un-naturally funny, witty, intelligent I didn’t feel I had anything to offer and would hold back from contributing more fully to conversations.
It was also around this time in my life that I started having the very first niggling thourghts of self harm. I never did anything particularly serious. Approximatly twice I purpously took a few too many anti-epileptic tablets with the result of very minor headaches and feeling slightly lathargic.
At about 17 I finally went to a pediatric phycologist where I had some assessments and counciling. That only lasted a few months though before I turned 18 and I was handed over to the adult services.
That very first assessment of my ‘adult’ life would be the last one within that particular setting. I got told that I was experienceing extreame moods that could be typical within adolecence but was nothing to worr about it. No more action was taken at that time and I carried on as normal, well normal for me.
For now my lovlies I will finish. I shall pick up the story approxiamatly half way through my first year at uni when I was 19. I shall love you and leave you until next time. I hope you all had a good easter weekend :).