DEPRESSION is like the weather; sometimes you wake up to a beautifully clear day with complete clarity, small clouds drift in and out of sight intermittently slight doubts that soon turn into a seemingly permanent blanket shrouding your thoughts.
Finally they culminate in utterly frightful downpours, where all the wonder in the world turns to grey.
Depression is far from a one mould fits all disease but perhaps through simple analogies, I can shed some light on my three year battle with the weight I can’t quite get off my shoulders.
I enjoyed a relatively sheltered upbringing, good education, plenty of friends, sporting obsessions and a supportive family.
If you told me at 17 there’d be days I couldn’t get out of bed, let alone function in a rational headspace, I would have laughed.
I’ve made mistakes between then and now, but this is still the struggle I can’t comprehend, the sheer scale of my mental transformation in this time is unfathomable to me.
I was in denial when I was first clinically diagnosed shortly after my 21st birthday, I took the drugs and they numbed the pain, but it was simply a band-aid, not a solution.
I couldn’t bring myself to tell a soul, Mum and Dad tried, my brothers and sisters knew what I was going through but I wouldn’t let them help.
I was big brother, I was Mr Laidback, I had to keep my social reputation up, this is what my family and friends continued to see on the outside, it’s all I let them see.
My denial led me to live a bipolar lifestyle, I didn’t wake up and pro-actively tackle my disease, instead by stashing it away I could live weekend to weekend showing my friends the artificial happiness which portrayed the confident, self-assured young man I wanted to be.
This continued for some time.
I’d have epiphany’s every now and again where I would partially deal with one perceived problem in my life, but by this stage I’d dug a hole so deep the embarrassment of coming clean wasn’t an option, perception trumped reality.
Perhaps the most frustrating part of my spiral was the fact I was completely aware of what I was doing to myself, but the rush of partying with mates, meeting new people was just too strong.
It was the lows after these binges that made me realise I needed to restore some sort of parity to my life.
The regret was palpable, I would micro-analyse every decision I had made, mentally beating myself to a pulp about things that the old me wouldn’t have batted an eyelid at.
I’d been talking to a psychologist this whole time and we’d formed quite a rapport.
It helped, for the first time I began to laugh about what had become of myself, he told me I’d make a great actor saying I even made him believe I was on top of the world sometimes.
It was remedial. I began to open up more talking to someone who was taking me for what I was now and not what I used to be.
This is what I was striving for, to wake up one day and have the ability to launch into my day with my full mental capabilities, no freak outs, no ruts where I became inoperable, to be at peace.
This reflection was written by a young Catholic man with depression.