This is the first in a series of blogs, which aim to show you what it’s like to suffer from these mental illnesses, raw and unfiltered, straight from guest bloggers who suffer from these issues.

To kick off, I thought I’d start with my experiences of depression, and tell you my story.

My first diagnosed experience was during my time at university. My energy just seemed to zap away, and I started feeling very anxious that everyone was judging me, and that I wasn’t actually doing well enough to be where I was. My sleep pattern went absolutely to pot, and it really wasn’t long before I was almost nocturnal. In my final year, it became particularly tough – I struggled to make it to lectures, stopped seeing friends, and all but hid away in my awful little studio flat – essentially becoming my self-made jail cell.

I decided that maybe it’d be a good idea to go see the doctor… A massive turning point for me, this became the beginning of my fight back. Around the January of my final year, my doctor started prescribing me Fluoxetine (more commonly known as Prozac) to try and help. Unfortunately, my experience with this particular drug was… less than positive, and it actually made everything worse. I wasn’t sleeping properly (even less so than before!), my self-confidence was through the floor, and literally, nothing brought me joy. Thankfully, after two months of this, my doctor agreed that it wasn’t doing any good, and we tried citalopram instead – which finally, I felt an improvement on. I could suddenly see a light at the end of the tunnel!

I had almost five entire years where I was “fine” – no meds, and was just… me. But then, that monster started to rear it’s head again, telling me that it wasn’t done with me. This time, however, it had brought friends.

It’s crushing. It’s like a giant weight dragging me down, and keeping me rooted exactly where I am. Particularly on those days where I don’t actually feel that I can get out of bed, it keeps me stuck in the same place, trying to hide away from everyone and everything.

It’s confusing. I find that writing about my condition can really help me at times, yet my depression leaves me in a state where I can’t actually create the words. I can’t concentrate enough to sit and write, I can’t think of words, it makes me feel stupid because I literally forget everything! I forget appointments, what I need to do, anything. This, in turn, makes me feel like a bad person, and that maybe the nasty things in my head are actually right.

It’s self-fulfilling. Depression tells you things. Maybe they’re not actually true, but it certainly feels like that. It tells you that you’re not good enough, that you’re fat, that you’re ugly, that you’ve only been invited to be there out of pity, that you’re not really their friend, they just feel sorry for you. And, end of the day, because it’s your head telling you these things, you believe that it’s true.

It’s really tough. But you just have to keep going, every day. You find what allows you to keep functioning, be that allowing yourself time to have 10 minutes, or even by having a routine and sticking to it hell or high water (which is what I do). I come to my favourite coffee shop on a weekend, and do what I need to do for Spark, or even just sit and let things pass over me.

Yes, depression is hell. Especially if you have it paired with BPD, anxiety, or anything else.

But one day, you and I, we will be okay. We’ll be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

For now, we’re right behind you. Come join our Peer support group if you want a fantastic group of people to talk to, and know you’re never alone.

Peace, love and sparks,

Gareth

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