Friday, 27 April 2012

Depression Awareness Week #4

I hate overhearing people misusing the word 'depression'.

Like Jo said, depression is a serious illness. It is real, it is scary, it is beatable.
And it comes in different degrees.  When switching medication for OCD, I sunk down to a low of emptyness. My meds happen to also be used as antidepressants. So I guess I've been there too, to an extent.

But it isn't annoyance. It isn't PMT. It isn't having an argument with a friend or relative.
It isn't even bereavement or grief.
It is an all-encompassing state of being. Or rather, not-being.

My first tangible encounter with the 'black dog' was through my oldest friend. At a sleepover, she blurted out that she had been diagnosed with clinical depression. I thought we were just growing up. Teenagers have moodswings, friendships change, perople sometimes distance themselves from each other. But they always come back, right? It scared me a lot.

Trying to support and reach her through the bubble of isolation depression created around my friend was one of the hardest and most exhausting things I have ever tried to do. And I've done Duke of Edinburgh and Advanced Higher Maths, so that's saying something.

Since then, I have met and grown close to others affected by depression. Some of my closest friends have black dogs of their own. And I have learnt that all I can do for my loved ones is be there for them. Be their friend. Be their sister. Answer their calls. Chum them to their doctor's appointment. Be there when they need someone to talk to, and still be there when they don't.

This post has no fluent line of argument, it's just bits and pieces all jumbled up. But that's the way it is inside my head. Mental illness doesn't make sense. It's just there. And it doesn't make the people we know and love any more or any less valuable.

Libby x

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