It’s April 2008, my 36th birthday and it will be one I will never forget. It was ‘the one’ – when I felt like my life fell apart.
My friends recognised the signs before I did, and even before I’d acknowledged something wasn’t quite right. I had been very emotional, but I put this down to an anniversary of a friend’s death, or the restructure at work, or the boyfriend who’d recently returned from Afghanistan. Or was is because I was closer to the big 4 – 0?
Depression can come and visit us any time in our lives and one of the hardest things is accepting it. Did it really happen to people like me? If you know someone who’s had it or if you have it yourself, you’ll know that acceptance is the turning point. It’s very difficult to say the word because of that label: ‘mental illness’.
Really, it is OK to have depression.
Getting the chemical imbalance sorted out (because that’s all it is!) is a journey, it’s not always easy, but it’s worth it. If we have a vitamin C deficiency we drink orange juice; we don’t cast judgment on that because we can buy it from Tesco’s.
If today is better than yesterday you are heading in the right direction….if today is worse than yesterday but is better than last week, you are heading the right direction. Those feelings of happiness will return and when you’re least expecting it something will make you smile or laugh.
I started by doing something I really enjoyed, growing lilies in my garden. Today they are bigger and more beautiful than ever and it’s a true reflection of my journey. There have been difficult times along the way; it’s not always easy.
Today as I write this, I am the happiest I have been and I am speaking very openly about my depression. I have gained this confidence from starting my own business and being surrounded by positive people who want me to do well. I want to help others to feel that they don’t need to hide away and be ashamed. The first step is sharing with someone you are comfortable with. Ask them to listen, even if they’ve heard it before, and always to give you a hug, because it will be OK…
Then the rest will come in time.