Monday, 13 June 2016

Depression Through My Eyes.

I want to inspire people.
I want them to understand.

I took a picture last week of my horribly depressed ugly crying face at 4am because I wanted to record the moment as one where I can look back and say I SURVIVED this day.

This picture was just 7 days before:

I've been built up and knocked back down again lately but one thing is certain, I won't let this beat me. Then I extended my arms out to 2 of my friends that were really suffering, despite how much I myself was hurting. Because God knows, I get it. And it's a vile demon.

On the bad days I draw on everything I knew as my strength, Darren Hayes music. On the good days, hell I still listen to his incredible voice. It makes me smile.

I want to talk about "high functioning depression". To the outside world I don't 'look' depressed. People have said to me that I they always thought I was happy. They had no clue I suffered... The older I get the more vocal I get. I used to be ashamed and refuse to let anyone close to me so they wouldn't know the real me. 

This is my story.
I remember the day the word depression was first used by my high school health official speaker type person that came in and gave us the sex ed talk and then this quiz to see if you were depressed. And I flagged many markers on that scale, yet not one person, a teacher, that speaker woman, picked up on it. I was about 14. I was terrified. I remember the exact place I was sat in that drama class room. And apart from the fact I was a loner that was always bullied, I was high functioning. I won awards for attendance and excellence, I shared the trophy with a class mate for best pupil of the year.. I played tin whistle grade 3, flute grade 5, was in the choir and the hockey team... And I got 4 A's, 4 B's and C at GCSE. What drove me was a desire to prove everyone else wrong. All those bullies that said I would never amount to shit. The demon in my head that agreed with them.. I threw myself into studying as it was all I knew how to be good at. It wasn't until I was 18 and came to uni that I realised that depression was what I suffered from. I thought I was just down and homesick.... And today I still wear the scars of my entire teenage and adult life fighting depression. 

I'm still high functioning.. Always working hard at my job, always away on trips or gigs, always socialising, but hardly anyone understands how hard that is, that anxiety. It terrifies me to get on a train somewhere I haven't been, but my desire to escape and feel euphoria at a gig is stronger that my anxiety to not go. My heart still beats out my chest when I walk into a bar alone to meet friends. Friends I've known years. I struggle to meet people and talk to people I don't know.

My depression still has bad days when it cripples me. But I know the demon now, and I know how to look after me better. How to be a little kinder to Hayley. I just want people to understand that mental illness isn't the person rocking in the corner, or crying all the time, or looking 'sad'. It's so much more than that but I can put up a good fight against the beast.  

I thank my lucky stars for the people in my life who show me compassion, kindness and understanding. Those who lend me an ear to listen, and who spend their time making sure I'm ok. You are worth your weight in gold and I'm forever grateful.