In society today many people suffer from cases of Depression, I for one have been suffering from depression for roughly 2 and a half years but was only diagnosed August 2017, after begrudgingly revelling to my family what I had been going through. In the last year, I have met many people who either have been through something similar or have witnessed a loved one suffer. But one of the main things I get told by people is “just be happy”. I wish it were that simple. Here’s why.

Depression is an invisible stalker. It follows you silently gathering Intel on its target until it finds the right moment to make your world come crumbling down. Initially growing up I thought I was fine, I mean I was passing and I did have a dysfunctional family; however, some people have it worse. And that was where I went wrong… Comparing yourself to others is something that most people deal with throughout life, but I seemed to compare and despair. I belittled my own achievements, by saying “oh x did better than me” and I then fell into the mentality that regardless of what I do I would never be good enough. This toxic mentality plagues 1 in 5 teenagers they constantly feel low, and when they have blips of happiness even they become ruined, by pessimism and a lingering low mood. Depression feels like a force, pushing down on you, like an anchor dragging along as you attempt to get on with life.

As someone who still is fighting this never-ending abyss of sadness, I believe it is my duty to explain some of the common misconceptions, due to the media’s infatuation with romanticising mental health.

  1. We can’t just be happy. Honestly, we all wish we could, but alas, as you can’t prevent sadness you can’t force yourself to be happy.
  2. Not all depressed people self-harm by cutting. Self-harm presentation is often shown as a person cutting open their skin, however often self-harm takes different forms. For some they starve themselves, others burn themselves. Often this used as a form of a metaphorical release of pain.
  3. Relapses happen. Recovery isn’t a clear cut path; It is a journey. People have their highs, lows, days they don’t want to do anything, days where life feels pointless. This nihilistic philosophy becomes a habit, which is easy to slip back into.
  4. There is no set way to act. Depression isn’t a clear cut set of rules, the symptoms vary from person to person. Some will pretend to be “fine”, others will outwardly say “I’m depressed”. It’s a spectrum
  5. Depression isn’t cute. It’s not “oh I’m so depressed because I’m sad for this one moment” Depression is ugly, it’s a constant feeling of never being enough regardless of what you do. It’s being chained to your own mind. It’s utter darkness

If you know someone who has depression, help them to care for themselves. Don’t infantilise them, but just keep a watch. Breakdowns take time to build up, they never have one single meningeal event, and it’s like a leak. If you are affected by depression, some helplines are Childline (0800 1111) and Samaritans (116 123). Feel free to reach out to me if you would like to know more, @oshod on Instagram, and @oshdev on twitter.