Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig
Depression is a serious mental illness that affects how you feel. If you know someone who suffers from and you don’t understand it, don’t claim that you do.
I have had friends in my life tell me they “understand” what I was going through, when they have no idea. When I was first diagnosed and was in a bad mental state, several friends who “understood”, made me feel so much worse. When I told them, they told me about friends who were depressed and had killed themselves. I had no suicidal ideations but with their bombardment of messages about suicide in that moment it felt like they were tying a noose around my neck. I am generally unfazed by suicide because I’ve dealt with it several times with either family or friends but in a weakened mental state and that bombardment of suicide talk it can make you feel 100 times worse.
People need to stop labelling everything a depressed person does with “depression”. If I’m sad, angry, frustrated etc it does not mean I’m depressed. My emotions are not down to depression. It’s down to being human.
People say they “understand”, when clearly you don’t as you throw the word ‘depression’ around. Asking me am I depressed because of my knee injury? No, I’m angry and frustrated about my knee. If I get upset, I get things like “are you taking your tablets?” or “have you seen the doctor lately?”. People can be upset without being depressed. Things like this clearly show me that the people in my life who claim they “understand” don’t have a clue about depression.
I’m not getting fully into my own depression story because I have done that before. I am currently not depressed, if I feel low, I have the tools to cope with it. I do have some anxiety issues but that’s not important right now.
I have heard 90% of these from people who claim they “understand”. I laugh about it now. I have times where I turn all the notifications off on my phone, log out of social media and read a book for the day. Which is a healthy thing to do. We all need social media breaks. So I have taken several social media breaks and phone breaks over the last year. If you have depression you can’t seem to do that because people will call family members and ring your phone a million times when it’s on Do Not Disturb. Now, I know you guys must think ‘Zara,they’re being caring’ but it’s overbearing when you just want to disconnect from the world for awhile. I will admit, some days I was depressed when I did this which then made it worse because I felt the pressure of people crushing down on me when I was just trying to escape my life and live in the fantasy of a book.
One of the worst feelings is I know if I have a bad day and friends find out, I will be there topic of conversation. It will include “What’s wrong with her, girl?” “Oh girl, I don’t know, she’s mental” etc. Sadly for some, gossip is more important than the mental health of others.
If you are in Ireland and The UK and need to talk: Samaritans