Today’s society is all about snapchat filters, edits on Instagram and portraying a ‘happy’ life on social media, I think everyone can be a little guilty of this (me included) because in some ways it’s good to brag online. But if I just showed you the photo of me with the snapchat filter on and posing with a smile would you believe this girl was struggling with depression? I don’t think so, whereas if I showed you the photo of me with no makeup on, hair not done, just been dragged out of bed and crying every few minutes for no apparent reason, would you believe it then?
Hard to believe that the girl in this photo is the same person, On the left was a 'feeling ok day' and the one on the right is the reality of what some days living with depression really feels like.
This is the probably the most honest article I am going to write, I think the photo of me having a rubbish day should prove that on its own, but I am willing to put it out there if it helps others who may be struggling.
I think nowadays it is easier for people to hide behind filters, people almost feel they have to hide behind the tiger ears and smiles because of the negative stigma that comes attached to just being honest and saying ‘Yeah I am struggling with mental health, but I’m still me’. There are going to be good days when the tiger ears and smiles come naturally, and they are days that I don’t take for granted anymore, I cherish them and they keep me going and fighting for more, but along with them are the bad days...they are slightly more manageable nowadays but when they do strike, they hit hard.
For someone who hasn’t suffered depression it can be hard to explain, it completely wipes you out, you feel physically exhausted, the thought of getting out of bed seems an impossible task and people will just think I’m being lazy.
My husband has had to lay beside me many times and held me whilst I have literally sobbed, I am just as clueless as him as to why but I can’t hold back the tears, people will just think I’m being dramatic. The feeling that your life is pointless and you are worthless crosses your mind whilst you lay there, it’s not a thought that you can control, people will just think I am exaggerating. You feel so alone in the world even in a crowded room, people talk yet you feel so disconnected, how is this even possible? People won’t understand.
Not wanting to leave these safe 4 walls that you live inside, you don’t want to talk or see anyone, you don’t want anybody to see you in this state so you withdraw to protect them, people will just think I’m being unsociable. Wanting to hurt yourself, just so you can feel something or punish yourself for all the negative thoughts, people will just think I’m stupid.
All of these things you can’t put a snapchat filter on, you can put on a smile and try to get through the day but inside it feels like your world is falling apart. The fear of judgement from others keeps it hidden, it’s an invisible illness, nobody can see inside your head or the pain behind your eyes.
Speaking up, supporting each other, listening, are all things that can be crucial on the road to recovery. Knowing that it really is ok to not be ok, there are going to be some days where you really can’t get out of bed and that’s OK, there will be some days when you don’t want to go out and socialise and that’s OK, there will be some days when you feel you can achieve anything and that’s OK and there will be some days when you have ups and downs, you laugh, cry, smile, get angry, all of this is OK too.
Finding something to give you the headspace can be helpful, whether it’s reading, writing, walking, listening to music, running, swimming, whatever works for you take the time to do something you enjoy every day, it’s not selfish to take time out for you. Asking for help is a sign of strength not weakness, everybody needs a little help sometimes to get where they need to go and sometimes we need a nudge in the right direction to keep moving forward.
It’s not always as simple to just put a filter on and smile when you are struggling with mental health, it’s tough and that’s when you need peoples support and empathy the most, not their judgement and criticism. I do understand that not everybody is going to understand, there is a lack of education around mental health, my education on it unfortunately has been the hard way of living with it and that has been hard for people around me as well. I can imagine that watching someone you care about fall so hard can be difficult but just remember it’s not personal and they need all the support you can give to come back fighting.
I hope my honesty and opening up will help at least one person or make someone feel less alone with their battle. Remind yourself how far you have come and remember to be gentle with yourself, you are doing the best you can!
Sophie is a regular writer for C.C. Magazine and in her own words: "I don’t take life too seriously, always joking and making people laugh! Family and friends mean the world to me, and my little cat tiggs! Music is my life, I spend most of time with my headphones on listening to anything and everything, I believe ‘When words fail music speaks’! I am more creative than anything I love writing and knowing that hopefully writing my struggles can help other people is just the best feeling ever! I cannot wait for the future so I can train to be a counsellor and hopefully help someone the way my counsellor has helped me!"