Y’know, it takes a certain kind of person to sit down and talk about their illness for other people and that’s exactly what Annabel Giles has done. Titled ‘Depression, a view from the inside’ Annabel talks about her dealings with her ongoing depression and anxiety. Her blog post is raw, completely open and honest.
Depression is probably one of the most misunderstood conditions in the mental health category. Suffering from depression is completely different from just feeling ‘depressed’. Telling someone who suffers from depression to cheer up is like telling a blind person to ‘look at the beautiful view’. A depression sufferer can’t just cheer up and nor can they tell you ‘what’s wrong’ because they have no idea why they feel like they do. The anxiety part can be equally as painful and terrifying. A simple chore like going to the shop can escalate into feeling like I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone into a bull ring. Both are often connected and one can lead to another.
It’s a funny little illness. Because you feel like you’ve been through the spin cycle of a washing machine, yet people tell you you’re totally fine. ‘You’re fine, just a bit down’ your family says. ‘You’re fine, stop being mardy’ your friends say. You’re healthy, your family is healthy, and everything is perfectly fine in your life.
If you’re supposedly so fine, then why don’t you feel fine?
Why, instead, do you feel like every moment spent awake is an assault on your mind and body. As though you’re just functioning as a separate, mindless entity, numbly hovering over your former self in the hope that someday you can return and feel, dare I say, normal again?
I’ve suffered periods of severe depression and anxiety probably for the whole of my teenage life. Not that I knew that, until the age of 15, when my friend forced me into the doctors room and made me tell him everything – in which he came to the conclusion that I’d probably been suffering to this extent for many years and because I was scared of speaking out I’d lived through what seemed like hell since.
Bullying is a massive cause of depression and anxiety in many people, especially teenagers, and I was no exception. I was 4 when I was first bullied, honestly. And then, up until the age of 16 I was bullied intermittently.
When I was half way through senior school the verbal bullying turned into aggressive verbal bullying which metastasized into being physical. The funny thing about all this was that no matter what age I was it was nearly always my best friends/closest friends who would start off the bullying, encouraging everybody and anybody that would to join in. During year 9 I had almost the whole year group bullying me in some way – not that the self harm helped, but that was brought on by the bullying; a vicious cycle – all at once that’s around 130 people. And it spread throughout other year groups as well. Teachers would even accuse me of self inflicting the bruises that came from one certain girl.
Now I’ve been discharged from my therapist for 2 years almost and I still believe to this day it was the wrong choice to leave but I put on such a mask that my therapist genuinely thought I’d improved well enough to go on without her. To quote Annabel “I wake up very early every morning with a split second of OKness, followed immediately by a sledge hammer blow of despair to the solar plexus.”
It’s such an overwhelming feeling – feeling like this every day and not having anybody who really understands and nobody being actually able to help. So much of Annabel’s post is relatable and it does just reiterate that it was probably the wrong choice to pretend and leave.
The thing that gets to me the most is probably feeling like it’s unfair to people around me. I don’t always feel down, but more often than not I struggle to get myself motivated. One half of me wants to get up and get things done and the other one just overpowers it and stops me. I hide myself away in my room a lot of the time because I can’t face my family – they don’t really understand everything and just think I’m being mardy and unreasonable. But how do I tell them? I can’t.
I barely leave the house because of my anxiety and I’m constantly seeking approval from people all the time due to my lack of self-esteem. I act comedic and outgoing not only to hide what I feel on the inside but to enable me to force myself to go to work and to actually leave the house when I have to.
I think being able to relate to a lot of what Annabel says makes me feel more awe and love for this woman because when I was at my lowest I’d have never been able to do as she has – I tried once, a few months ago I posted my whole ordeal with bullying leading to the depression and anxiety issues I still suffer from (etc.) and a few hours later, despite all the positive comments from everyone telling me I was ‘so brave’, ‘an inspiration’ and that they were ‘sorry’ I deleted it. Not just off this blog, but off my laptop. I just had to get rid of it; I felt like I’d done something wrong. So when I say it takes a lot of guts to share something like that with the internet, I mean it, it really does and I couldn’t be more proud of Annabel for doing it.
This post isn’t for me to wallow in self-pity whilst you all throw sentences of comfort at me. It’s a shortened version of my story – as much as I dare to share – inspired by Annabel (along with a thank you to her) who I think was incredibly inspiring to post her blog post. It’s also hopefully a tiny insight into depression and a reminder of how difficult it can be so just because we don’t seem to appreciate you; it’s not that; we do.
Further information on depression can be found at:
And of course, please do go read Annabel’s blog post because it’s much better than mine because I’m honestly not sure what I’m writing; it’s just a rambling mess: Depression, a view from the inside.