Cleo has dealt with mental illness and wants to support others who have struggled through the same.
What Is Depression?
When you go by the dictionary, depression would be classified as, "A common and serious mental illness that negatively affects how you feel." It makes it seem a lot more simple than it actually is. Depression is common, and it is serious, but it affects everyone who has it in very different ways. The symptoms of depression are:
- A loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed.
- A feeling of deep sadness or hopelessness without cause.
- Changes in appetite, like weight gain or loss without dieting.
- Insomnia or over sleeping.
- Sluggishness, fatigue, loss of energy.
- Feelings of worthlessness or guiltiness.
- Having a hard time concentrating and thinking.
- Increased activities of restlessness, such as, pacing, wringing of the hands. This also includes slowed movements and slowed talking.
- And finally, thoughts of death or suicide.
Now, those who have depression might not show all of this symptoms. For example, someone could have a hard time thinking, feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, thoughts of suicide, and insomnia. With the person having symptoms like those, it might go unnoticed by friends and family members. This is why you should keep an eye out for the symptoms listed above so that you may realize if someone close to you has depression.
Romanticism of Depression
Something that a whole lot of mainstream books, movies, and television shows enjoy doing is romanticising mental illness. They seem to glorify it. As if being depressed leads to you finding your perfect match and suddenly not being depressed anymore because this one specific person talked to you. It is very insulting to those of us who are in the real world that deal with these illnesses. Not only that, it can also be very discouraging. It brings on this question, "Well, where's my everything that's going to sweep me off my feet?" It is something that happens in media and entertainment today that shouldn't even be prevalent because of how insensitive it is. Yet, here we are.
To all of you who might have any sort of mental illness, you should know that it's okay not to be what media presents you as. You don't have to put up with the glorification, and you certainly don't have to follow any sort of trend involving your 'illness'. It's perfectly normal to be you, and nobody else can tell you who you have to be. Don't let society tell you that you're broken, or that you have some sort of defect, because you don't. You're one in many that deals with the darkness known as depression, and you shouldn't feel any sorts of ashamed.
Warning: Sensitive topics that not everyone wants to hear about, read at your own discretion.
My Personal Experience With Mental Illness
For me, my depression started when I was very young. I was 11, maybe 12 years old. I didn't even realize what it was at first, it was like a bad spirit had suddenly perched itself on my shoulders and began to grow heavier and heavier with each passing day. This, in turn, led me to do very bad things to myself because I was very confused and didn't know what to do with the whirlwind of emotions I was feeling. It led me to self harm. I'm not going to go into much detail, but I hurt myself in ways that left scars that stand as grim reminders of the tough time I went through. All I could think was, "My body is a temple that I don't deserve." And all because I got so wound up in the self hate I was feeling. This, in turn, led to much more hurt. I alienated myself from my friends and family, and then my grades began to fail. There were many times where I lashed out at my loved ones because I didn't know how to handle myself anymore. This lasted for a long time until I got the help I needed when I was 15.
They did put me on medication, not to cure my depression, but to cure the chemical imbalance it turns out I had. That ended up putting my depression at bay, as well. But it wasn't the medication that helped me get through it all. It was coming to the realization that I wasn't alone in the world like I had convinced myself I was. It was finally opening up about how I felt and being greeted by open arms and love. It finally got to the point where I felt that I need not take my medication anymore. This doesn't mean that my depression is gone and 'cured', because you don't really get cured from it. You learn to live with it. You learn that it may feel awful some days, but it doesn't have to dictate your life choices or your actions. For those of you with mental illness, I stand by you.
If you know you're having a tough time, or you know someone who's having a hard time, don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help. You don't need to feel ashamed or embarrassed because it'll do good by you and those around you in the long run. This next part is not meant to be used as a threat or a scare factor, but more of a warning.
For those who feel suicidal or know someone feeling suicidal, it's best to get help as soon as possible. You don't want to lose someone you love or lose your own life. Believe it or not, things do get better. I know everyone's probably heard that one many times, but life gets enjoyable again. The light will come back out again and push the darkness away, and you'll be able to love life again. Please, get help, you're cherished and loved, even if you might not feel that way.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2017 Cleo Burch
Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on August 05, 2017:
Depression is a difficult demon to live with! You can't trust it. You never know when it will haunt you and keep you looking over your shoulder to see who else is following you. Often both depression and anxiety come to see me at the same time, then I usually end up physically ill for a time. It takes a realization of what is happening to pull out of it and move on.