What it is like to have depression
Posted by
15th Oct 2014

In light of the sad passing of Robin Williams, triber Katy Franklin (@katyfrank18) wrote the following blog which explains how depression affected her time at university, and questions why this illness is still so misunderstood.

No one knows what someone else is going through, it seems as though he was suffering from severe depression. How many more people to take their own life will it take before people realise what depression does to someone. 

Only people who have truly suffered with it, will know.

It’s been a year or so since I first started this blog, although I didn’t post it online for a long time. Why? Because I was ashamed/embarrassed/ scared of what people would think of me. I thought people would concentrate on the fact that I didn’t work, or I left uni during my third year, or that I was a social recluse. All those were true, but for one thing only, my mental health.

Depression came into my life a lot earlier than I first thought, during my second year of university. I went from absolutely loving the first year, not wanting to come home, feeling positive about my future and loving my life, to questioning all of my life decisions, feelings of insecurity, loneliness, homesickness and vulnerability. I look back now and I have no idea how I didn’t see the signs, maybe I just didn’t want to believe them.

The problem was, on paper, my life was going great, doing well at uni, two part-time jobs, an amazing boyfriend, great family, friends who would do anything for me, but all the doesn’t matter when you are at the depths of depression. I wonder now how I lived with depression, how did I keep my jobs and carry on with my course. The thing is, I didn’t live, I existed.

I cannot express to you how hard it is, all I wanted to do was run. My life changed completely after my first panic attack. How could some one who studied mental health, be suffering from it herself? I hated that. I have never really openingly spoke about suicidal thoughts, it is such a taboo subject, but there were moments during my struggle where I wanted it all to end. That time in my life all seems a bit of a blur now, I've done exactly the same thing everyday. I couldn’t go out and I had lost every single part of me that I liked. I have read so many comments on the internet about Robin Williams reasons for having depression. “what has he got to be depressed about?”. Depression simply doesn’t work like that. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, famous or a nobody. What reasons did I have to be depressed? None. But I was and I didn’t know how to stop it.

There are a few moments that really stick in my mind, whilst I was still at university, I was trying to overcome the overwhelming feelings of anxiety and depression. It was the end of October and all I wanted to do was feel okay about going outside. I sat on my bed, coat, gloves, boots, the lot. I sat there for hours trying to gain the courage to walk out of my front door. I mean, hours. I didn’t do it. At that moment all I wanted was it to end, did I want to die? No. I wanted the pain and turmoil to stop. I wanted to be me and I wanted my life back.

Sick of being sick.

I came home thinking all my problems would go away, but mental health doesn’t work like that. University didn’t give me depression, I could’ve been anywhere. I had hoped with every part of my being that I would come home and magically be okay again.

One of the biggest and most terrifying moments for me was when I failed to go on holiday with the family.We were due to leave at half 4 in the morning, and for months I had dreaded that very moment. Now it was here, I couldn’t do it. Not only did I miss a family holiday, I missed my aunt’s wedding, something I will always feel guilty about. They all left and I was left behind, my boyfriend was there with me but I have never felt so alone in all my life. I sat there with every single packet of pills I had, and looked at them for an hour or so, knowing that I could end this feeling. I have never told anyone that before.

I feel lucky that I have gotten through the worst and darkest moments, and I am proud. Proud of asking for help and proud of trying my hardest to overcome all that I have been through. It’s not over yet, but I now know how strong I am. It shouldn’t take an actor’s death for us to start talking about this, but if anything good comes out of this is that it will raise awareness and understanding of such a misunderstood illness.

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