aralli: (procrastinate)
Young people keep hiding this as though it is something to be ashamed of. Would you be ashamed of catching the flu or having a respiratory or stomach problem? No. So none of us should be ashamed of having something up with our brain chemistry and needing a little help - counselling, medication, exercise and lifestyle, all of these things are treatments - to get it balanced again.

I am not going to hide this. Close friends and family already know of course; some people on my flist will have seen some locked posts about this. But I'm making a public post because it's important to me, and important for my attitude in tackling this, to not be at all ashamed or shy or embarrassed about the illness I have. Apologies to those who've heard all this stuff already - I'm sure you'll understand why making this post is important to me.

For the past few months, I have been very down and low, and not coping with the many stresses in my life at all as well as usual. I have been physically affected by this. I have also been ill with nasty viruses and extremely fatigued.

Over the past two weeks I've had something of a crash and at times it has felt as though my whole world has been falling apart. It's been a really tough time.

This week I was diagnosed with depression.

These words don't worry me. These words are a relief. We can treat what is wrong, and this sort of thing is far more common, even amongst young people, than most of us realise. Many of us lead stressful lives and it is normal and natural to feel down, particularly when under pressure or in the winter. But if this is interfering with your life, you're not coping as well as usual, or you're worried, go speak to a doctor. Whether it's just feeling low, or clinical depression, they will be able to advise you as to how you can help make yourself feel better. Don't think you have to suck this up without any help.

I have a sympathetic doctor and we are working on treating this. My treatment will involve medication, some lifestyle changes and exercise to help balance my mood, and counselling. My parents have been the greatest help through all of this (including helping me realise something was wrong) and I cannot describe all the things they have done for me over the past two weeks - they are heroes. My best friends and housemates have all been incredibly supportive. I have a great network of people to keep me going and help me through the low times - and to celebrate the good spells with too!

One of the most important things you can do, whether it's depression or a passing low mood, is to talk to someone. Even if it's just to yourself, writing down how you truly feel, even all the little things you'd ordinarily dismiss or hide. Talking helps us understand how we're feeling, it helps us treat how we're feeling, it stops us from feeling so lost and lonely and it allows other people to understand how we feel more and so be able to help us better.

So there it is - I'm twenty years old and have depression. The way it makes you feel really sucks, but I am going to get better, and I have already started this process.

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aralli

November 2014

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