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, 14 July 2013

Depression; The Effects on Those Closest To You

Depression doesn't only affect the sufferer, it affects everyone around them.

I should know, I've been there.

The impact that my illness had on those closest to me, still brings me to tears. Even though I am writing openly about it in this blog post, it's something that I struggle physically talking about without my eyes welling up with tears.

I couldn't imagine just how difficult it was for those who love me so much, to see me become a completely different person; a shadow of my former self.

I can't even contemplate how hard it would've been to know what to say to me, and to be worried about saying the wrong or right thing that could have the potential to set me off. I'm sure they struggled with how honest they should be, and whether they should tell me that I needed help, or wasn't coping or that in fact, it was me who had to make the decision to getbetter.

While my memory of the whole experience is quite hazy, I do remember once standing in my kitchen and my sister asking me blantly if I wanted to get better, and if I believed that I could. At the time, I could only cry; getting better felt like an impossible, energy draining task that I already lacked energy for.

How hard would've that been for my sister?

How hard would've it been for my family and friends to know what to do. I was asking to fly home to mum and dads, but obviously my partner didn't want to leave me, and my parents weren't sure if it was the best thing for me. 

The doctors would say one thing, the psychologists another, and the nurses would change their story with each shift. It would've been so difficult to get information about my condition as I am an adult, and therefore the information is confidential, even though I was in no state to process, or even comprehend it.

 Could you imagine seeing someone you love lose the will to live? Or someone you love be in so much inner emotional turmoil and pain?

I honestly can't believe how strong and supportive my friends and family were. Never once did anyone tell me to snap out of it. Never once did anyone question my illness, or doubt me, or hate me. Never once did anyone give up on me, even when I had given up on myself.

My friends sent me flowers, they wrote me letters, they printed photos to stick on my hospital walls. They texted and phoned me, they came to visit and took me on outings, they even dragged me out of bed kicking and screaming abuse to  make me go to events because they knew that that was what was best for me.

My parents and partner took time off of work. They drove me to doctors appointments, held my hand when i cried, brushed my hair when I didn't have the energy or willingness to do so. They listened to me go on and on about how horrible I was feeling. They bought cards to play, books to read, suduko to solve and teddies to cuddle.

Without a doubt my support network were what got me through the most difficult battle of my life.

It wasn't easy. Some of my friends saw counselling. My partners joined Carers. My partner, who stayed strong for everyone else the whole time, still struggles to speak about it now.

Only those closest to me will ever know the intimate details of my depression; I only wished that they didn't have to go through it with me, because it kills me to think how hard it would've been for them. The thing that comforts me is knowing that I would've done the same for them, and knowing that together, we fought the toughest battle and triumphed and our relationships have only strengthened because of it.

The one thing that I have learnt from my depression is that it's so important to stop and ask the carers of the sufferer how they are going. It's so important to give them time out too, and a chance to share their thoughts and emotions. A hug can go a long way.

I am forever grateful for those who stood by me; it would've been easier to bail.

And to my partner, words can not express how incredibly grateful that I am for him. He saw me at my absolute worst, and saw things that people should never see, yet he stood by my side the whole time. 

So today's post is to all of the carers of mental health patients; I take my hat off to you.

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxxx

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