Unspoken Conversations are the topics that are often swept under the carpet, whispered amongst the closest of friends and bitched about by many. I want to create awareness about difficult things that people face in life; grief, mental health, money, illnesses, family troubles, relationship difficulties and putting yourself first. I want to tell the truth about things that really matter.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Depression: The Mistakes I Made

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if you struggle to see it some days, it's there, I promise. Via

Everything is well and good in hindsight. When we have a clear mind, some perspective, time and distance, we can look back on things and question why we made certain decisions, how we jumped to conclusions, and what made us perform certain actions.

But in the midst of things, particularly when we are hurting or in pain, we go into survival mode. Often, our eyes turn within as we have little to no energy for anyone or anything else but ourselves, and putting one foot in front of another.


It has been 2 years since I suffered from depression, and while time has helped me to accept, deal with and learn to move on with my life, there are still times when I find my eyes filling with tears as I think back to the mistakes I made, wishing, that in hindsight, I had've listened to what my body was trying to tell me well before I came crashing down.

All in hindsight hey.


When you suffer from depression, you feel so alone. You feel as though you are the only person in the whole entire world who must be feeling so low, helpless, and unworthy.

As you walk through your tunnel of darkness, feeling the edges for support, you never realise that people have walked your path before. You never realise that if you can accept your feelings as an illness, and let yourself truly believe that others have walked in your shoes before, that you could talk to them, and they could help you to find the groves and ditches in the wall, so that you have some extra footing to hold onto.


Well today I'm going to share some of the painful mistakes that I made, in hope of reaching someone out there who is suffering from depression, so that they know that I have walked in their shoes, come across many of the same hazards as they have, and have come out with a better understanding of a more helpful path to take to recovery.

Hazard number 1 - Denial:  For a very long time I denied to myself that I had depression. I knew that something was wrong as I was lacking energy, withdrawing from life, not wanting to hang out with friends and not sleeping or eating, but in my mind, I hoped that it was something other than depression, like cancer, because that seemed more 'socially acceptable'. People could empathise with cancer; the sufferer could see the results of a blood test to confirm that they indeed had the illness; there is known treatment plans that work, and are encouraged, and people could survive cancer.

Sounds selfish and ludicrous doesn't it? Who in their right mind would prefer cancer? Well, I wasn't in my right mind, and that is what my mind managed to convince me at the time.

On the contrary, I couldn't see the depression, I had always been sceptical of the medication because I thought that you could prevent the illness through exercise and eating healthy, I felt as though I was going to be permanently feeling this way with no light in sight, and I didn't want to carry the depression tag because I thought that people would think differently of me.

I thought surely not me. Not depression. Not me.

I honestly believe that my denial stopped me from getting better sooner then if I had of accepted the illness in the first place. If I had of accepted the illness earlier then I could've seeked the help that I needed, and could've focused my thinking to 'OK, how am I going to overcome this' instead of dwelling on how horrible I felt, and thinking of every other illness that it could possibly be.

The lesson? If you have noticed a change in your behaviour, book an appointment with your doctor asap. If they diagnose you with depression, then that's okay. 

The first step to feeling like yourself again is accepting that you aren't okay right now.

People will not think any differently of you, I promise. If anything, people will respect you for being brave and admitting that you need a little extra help. Friends and family will surprise you with how accepting and encouraging they will be; they just want the real you back, and they know that that will take time.

People are far more accepting of depression now; it is not something to be ashamed of.

For some reason, once I learnt more about my illness, and that depression isn't only caused by your mind, but also by a chemical imbalance, it made it easier to accept taking medication. I had gotten to a point where I just couldn't change my thinking or behaviour, even with a psychologist, and the medication was my last resort. 

I learnt to accept that medication was going to help return me to my 'old self'.

Without a doubt, the right medication saved my life.

Hazard number 2 - Hiding the truth: I struggled to tell those closest to me how I was really feeling and it almost cost me my life. Just how do you look your partner in the face and tell them that you are having suicidal thoughts, especially when all you want to do is put on a brave face to stop them from worrying about you?

How do you tell your netball club that you can't come to training because you can't even get out of bed?

I was so overwhelmed with emotion that I couldn't bring myself to bail on friends, so I just wouldn't reply to their texts.

 The catch 22 with depression?

I didn't want to tell those people closest to me how I was feeling because I knew that they'd want to help. I knew that you'd come around and drag me out to so and so event when all I wanted to do was stay in my PJs and curl up in a ball. I had convinced myself that I'd just wake up from this nightmare and everything would go back to normal. 

The lesson? As hard as it may be, you must tell the truth; it could mean the difference between life and death. 

People won't think differently of you; they know that the thoughts are part of the illness.

What's the worst that can happen? Friends and family come around and help? Well, I'm sorry to say, but the illness won't just go away. You have to get up and out of bed. You have to have a shower and put one foot in front of the other. You have to get help.

You won't wake up from suicide feeling better.
Don't let people find out that you weren't okay when it's too late. Via

Hazard number 3 - Saying yes. Before my depression I was a 'yes' go. Yes I will join such and such committee even though it is my only night at home during the week. Yes I will catch up for coffee after work even though I have ulcers in my mouth from stress and bags under my eyes.
Yes, yes, yes.
But at what cost?
Why did I keep saying 'yes'? I guess at the time I had such low self esteem that I thought in order to be respected, and happy, that you had to 'please others' in order to find fulfilment.
I never stopped long enough to think about pleasing myself.
I never stopped long enough to listen to what the bags under my eyes and ulcers were telling me.
I was exhausted. I was run down, out of puff, and became so stressed and overwhelmed that I couldn't turn my ever thinking brain off, which lead to sleepless nights and then, eventually anxiety.
If I had only listened to my body, believed in myself and followed my gut, then I would've realised that I needed to STOP and take time for MYSELF.
This idea of worrying about others before myself, also prolonged my illness. I felt 'selfish' only thinking of myself. Instead, I was thinking about how my illness was affecting others, how it might affect my job, my parents, my partner and how others might think differently of me.
All of this unnecessary stress only meant that I ended up in more of a tizz then when I started!
The lesson? Learn to listen to your body. If you are tired, bail on something and rest on the couch. If your gut tells you to say no to such and such date, SAY NO.
It's okay to get home from work, cook tea, and then collapse on the couch.
It's okay to think about yourself first, and others second; that's not being selfish, it just means that you recognise that in order to help others, you must help yourself first.
It's okay to say no.
A book that I swear by to teach you how and why it's important to say 'hell no'. Via

I've been asked whether I am ever scared of my depression coming back.

The answer is yes, of course I do.

But do I choose to dwell upon my depression? The answer is no; depression is an event that happened in my life, but it does not define my life.

I believe that I have learnt from my past mistakes, so that even if depression did return, it would never get as bad, nor last as long, as it did the first time that I ever experienced the illness.

I hope that you can learn something from my mistakes too, even if it just helps you to feel less alone in the journey to recovery.

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxx

1 comment:

Lib said...

Hey Kirsty, Thanks for posting this. You've got some really good tips.

I was wondering - you've talked about your medication before, do you mind telling us what medication it is that you take and what it does to your brain/body (ie how it works), and if you get any side effects? I'd be really interested and I think it would help shed even more of the taboos and sterotypes.