10 September 2015

Happiness


You may remember a post I wrote a while ago about a book I read which changed my outlook on life and helped me out of quite a dark place. A place that I have never really talked about on this blog before. Probably because I want to fill it with uplifting, happy, fluffy things, but what I went through was life and a very common struggle for a lot of us. I am pleased to say that my new positive outlook hasn't faltered and I am currently in a very content happy place. A stark contrast to what I was feeling back then and I just can't believe how far I have come.

I am going to talk about 'that time' but I am not going to fill this post with everything that happened to cause me to feel the way I did and I am not going to go into every little detailed symptom I felt. I want to talk about what helped pull me through, one thing person in particular. This is a story of happiness, not sadness after all.

When I think back to how I used to feel at my worst, I shudder. I was being sucked in to this downward spiral of negativity and not even the closest people to me could help bring me out. Unfortunately depression is something only the sufferer can fix and only at the point when they realize what it is and admit defeat. All it takes is that tiny piece of willingness to do something about it, to pick up the phone and ask for help.

I also look back at that time with fresh new eyes.  I still see myself scrunched up in a ball on the sofa not wanting to move for anything, or to utter a single word. But as I look back now, I also see that man in the background.  The man who never got frustrated at my silence, who never got tired of my despondence, who never stopped trying to lift me up even when there was no hope. 

Living with me must have felt like living alone. I was an empty shell who wasn't communicating in any way. He probably dreaded coming home, and I don't blame him, but he never let it show. He was so strong and although it probably didn't seem like it then I am so thankful for that. I am so thankful for everything he did for me because without him I don't think I would have been able to pick myself up and get myself some help. He simply understood. And that is exactly what I needed.

I also feel a huge amount of guilt that I put him through such misery. It can't have been easy for him to see me so unhappy and feel completely helpless. He is the sort of person who would help anyone who needed it, and to feel like he couldn't do anything to help me must have been difficult.

I want him to know that he did help me. Just by being there and by showing me that he understood helped me immensely. He also took control of all the housework and cooking, something I couldn't possibly think of doing. Then when I started to get a little better, and came round to the idea of leaving the house he took me to the places he knew I loved. He motivated me to get out, sometimes just for a little walk for some fresh air. He escalated my recovery by being his silly self and making me laugh when I had a little dip and simply offering to cook if I had a bad day.

People suffering with a mental illness such as depression will often hear things like 'just pull yourself together' or 'stop feeling sorry for yourself'. A lot of people just don't understand what depression is. They think that if they cannot see any physical symptoms then there nothing is wrong . They will say 'Oh yeah I felt depressed before', when really they were just sad or a bit blue. Depressed is a word that gets thrown around way too often.  If you haven't experienced it, you will never truly know how it feels.  

If you are struggling with a mental illness, however severe, it is so important to have someone in your life that just understands. You don't need them to do anything, you just need to know someone can relate to what you are going through, someone who can totally comprehend that it is an illness, a disease and not something you can just switch off.

I have never had a problem with talking about my experience with depression. It is something that I am actually quite thankful for. Without going through it all, without feeling as bad as I did I wouldn't appreciate the way I feel today. I have learnt to find happiness in the smallest of things, just being able to wake up in the morning and get out of bed is one of them! I have been brought to a place where two years ago I never thought I would be. Not just content but extremely happy. I am also so much more aware of my thoughts and feelings.  I can recognize those dangerously negative ones a mile off and I can now stop them dead in their tracks. I don't think I ever felt this way even before my depression so I am thankful that what I went through helped me in more ways I could ever imagine.

I was lucky enough to have someone in my life that gave me his full support and stuck by me through the really rough days, someone to give me that little push I needed to finally admit defeat, stand up and do something about it, myself. Unfortunately, not everyone is as lucky as I am and the whole stigma surrounding mental illness needs to end. This may be something I delve into a little deeper in a separate post but simply put, it is not okay.

I wasn't intending this post to be so long but it seems as though I have more to say on the subject than I first thought!  


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