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My depression story

I first remember feeling severely depressed during my GCSE's when I must've been around fourteen. I'm also pretty sure that was around the age I first tried to end my life. 

I was an extremely happy child and I loved life. I was also a very shy child, but that never really bothered me because I had good friends and a great family. When my family fell apart when I was around eight years old, mental illness did begin to creep in with OCD behaviours and severe anxiety. I'd say I was sad and angry during this time, but I was still happy. I wouldn't say I was depressed.

Throughout the years running up to my GCSE's, I had experienced mental illness but I didn't know that's what it was. I thought the behaviours I was expressing were completely normal but I know now that they weren't. GCSE's came around and it became too much. I was being constantly picked on at school and the pressure of being a high achiever, alongside my family falling apart, felt like my whole world was drowning and that's when my depression journey began and almost ended.

In the following years my depression played a huge part in my life, especially through my A-levels when I had my breakdown and my anxiety and poor mental health became severe. I was self-harming and often had suicidal tendencies and thoughts. I wasn't eating, I couldn't get out of bed to go to school and I just wanted to end the nightmare that was in. I won't go into too much more detail about my whole journey now because you can read more about my mental health journey in a different post, here. 

I got to university and I felt like my depression had finally left me. But I did have moments when I felt like I was drowning and losing my mind. I did find myself on the odd occasion falling back into my own habits. I think this was even more so because everyone had the ideology that university was meant to be one the happiest times of your life and yet there I was barely able to get out bed and having no lust for life whatsoever. Going back home during the holidays whilst I was attending university was probably the hardest challenge and the times when I did become quite sick, especially in the Summer months. I just didn't feel that I could handle the environment I was in anymore and just wanted to get back to university, which was like an escape, for various different reasons. But overall university was probably the best time for my mental health.

After graduating from university and having to do a year in a dead end job and being back home, my mental health did take quite the dive. And although I transgressed into my dream career a year later, the first six months of that was what I could only describe as traumatic. This wasn't because of the career itself, but because of all the things that were going on around me.

As you can probably tell, depression is a rollercoaster and just because you have a depressive episode doesn't mean that you're going backwards. You've just got to hold onto the cart and keep going no matter how much you feel like you want to get off. As well as this, please make sure you are reaching out to people and talking because bottling up will always cause more damage than good.

There's no rush

My whole life I have been someone who strives for perfection. I want to be the best, I want be pushing limits of my potential, to be the first out of my group to achieve my goals...but unfortunately that's not quite how life works.

I have put endless pressure on myself over the years to try and be the best and I guess it has allowed me to push myself to get better results, but even with those results and goals that I should be proud of, it was never good enough. There was always someone else out there that I knew that was doing better.

I've written about this before and it used to really get to me - how with all the effort I was putting in, could I not be at the same level as other people? It still can get to me now but not as much as it used to. I guess I've finally come to a realisation that the competition I've put myself in, isn't a fair one. This is because everyone doesn't have the same starting line and to try and work to the bone to reach those who have had a head start is damaging and not even fair to myself.

For a long time I felt that my life needed to be in a rush because of the feeling that we only have so much time on this earth, that life is short and I need to achieve as much as I can in such little time. And whilst this may be true, to not waste your life and achieve what you can when you can, I cannot expect myself to be on the same page as everyone else.

Because what am I rushing myself for? The choices other people have made and what I see as major achievements, may not beneficial to me because it may not be the best thing for me to fast forward and reach all of my goals quickly. It may actually be more detrimental to me, but that doesn't mean that I'm a failure.

In context, I'm twenty-three and saving up for a mortgage and I'd say that's one of my biggest pressures alongside relationships and for some my age, they have a mortgage and are engaged and seem like they have their life together. I often ask myself why isn't that me when I've worked so hard? And then I realised, if we don't all have the same start line, and we're all different, individual, different DNA, different family backgrounds and different goals we want from life, then it's stupid to expect that someone so different is going to reach each milestone at the same time. It's pretty much impossible. Even more so, it may not even be what's right for me at the time, or even what I want. So should I be achieving these things just for the sake of it, if it doesn't even feel right?

What I know is that I can only control my actions and my environment and not others. No one is the same and therefore we can't expect our journeys to be the same. The competition that we are pitching ourselves in, is biased and unfair. The only competition should be within ourselves, to achieve the best out of us and what we want, or else you'd end up living someone else life and that could only lead to unhappiness. Yes, jealousy may still exist but you must do what is right for you and it will happen at your own pace. No one else is in your shoes and people certainly won't stop progressing in their life just for you. It's when you relieve the pressure and realise there is in fact no rush to beat everyone else, but to just focus on getting the best out of yourself that you can find some peace.

Heart break-down

No one ever told me that the heart could be smashed to pieces,
ripped and torn apart,
stopped and shanked,
and yet keep beating without warning.

No one ever told me that it was possible for the heart to be so damaged,
that even the brain couldn't confound whether it was going to go cold,
but still be breathing,
and yet feel like it's dying.

No one ever told me that the brain and the heart weren't best friends,
that it's a trap,
a marriage that ends in divorce,
because that's not what I heard waiver into my dreams from my bedtime stories...

It sends emotions that run through your veins,
leaving you paralysed in your touch,
being left with a shallow shell,
absence of warmth.

It's being sick to your stomach,
wanting your aching heart to come and give you relief,
it's wondering how it has the strength to carry on,
when your eyes close in front of elation.

Now, I hear myself thinking how can I survive without a beating heart?
One that has escaped its cage,
an empty stomach,
and no bright light of life,

But i'm still here and I don't know how,
there is nothing worse than this feeling,
perhaps what its like to be on the edge and cry,
but my heart still beats as I wave goodbye.