Posted by: Jim Laurie | December 5, 2010

I Finally Admit It…i’m Depressed

Where to start? I’m new at all this, but I’m so very tired of facing things on my own, so I wanted to share my story with others and hopefully find a bit of support.

I suffer from depression. There, I said it. One of the most difficult things for me has been to admit this in the first place, even to myself, but it’s true. I guess I had to admit the truth when I found myself completely unable to get out of bed in the morning, and (as a ‘grown man’) sobbing uncontrollably in the shower or in my bedroom. Only at this point did I realise I was actually ill, and went to see the doctor.

Over the last 12 months I’ve been out of work, been left by my long-term partner, had to rely on the charity of friends and family for a roof over my head, and finally had to move away from all my friends to find a job. But so what, I thought, other people go through much worse, right?

I started a new job a couple of months ago, in a different country and away from my family and my old friends. I thought once I got settled my anxiety and depression would go away, but it hasn’t happened. Mornings are often terrible. At any time of the day moods can strike without warning – I feel like I’m always on my guard against the next low point. Even when I’m out enjoying myself, that fear is still in the background that depression might strike at any time. I don’t eat properly either, since my appetite is usually non-existent, and the prospect of preparing a proper meal is usually too daunting. I only ever seem to eat properly if I get food while I’m out, since it takes no effort on my part.

So far I am able to hide my low moods from my work colleagues, but it is so exhausting! It always amazes me how appearances can be deceiving. Can they not tell what’s going on inside my head? And who else around me might be suffering invisibly? I live in constant fear that at some point my depression will cost me my job. What on earth will I do? Maybe it will never go away? This Friday I was on the verge of going to my boss and explaining my problem right there and then, but I didn’t go through with it. Even now I’m not sure whether I should have or not.

In fact, that’s one of the worst things – I feel like I can’t talk about it, such is the stigma attached. I feel like my friends and colleagues would never look at me the same if they knew I was ‘mentally ill’. I’ve only been able to tell my closest friends and family so far. But sometimes you really need to talk – the pain is so real!

I’ve not seen a doctor since arriving in my new country, but last week I bit the bullet and made an appointment. I didn’t want to have to take medication, but if that’s what it takes…

Like others I seem to have developed coping mechanisms to get me through, but each day is still a struggle. One of the best things for me is listening to music, which I do as often as possible. If I feel a bad mood coming on, I try and leave my desk and go for a short walk, or take a tea/coffee break, or just go and chat to someone for five minutes to take my mind off things. It’s not always enough, but it helps.

The irony is that to all outside appearances, I am quite successful in my work. My friends frequently congratulate me on my ‘good’ job, and say I must be really having a great time. If only they knew.



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