Depression comes in many different disguises.
Firstly it can creep up slowly and envelope you in its mendacious warm embrace. Until one day you realise you have no reason to get out of bed.
Alternatively, it can hit you swiftly like a baseball bat catapulting you from false security to nuclear meltdown over the smallest unwise indiscretion. ‘I’ve just cleaned the toilet! Did you have to go and shit now?’
Inevitably it’s always so much easier to fall into depression than it is to climb out.
The older I get the less self-conscious I am talking about my mental health issues. Partly due to social awareness (thank you #mentalhealth) and partly due to not giving a damn what people think.
I’ve gone through PTSD, postpartum depression (when did it change from postnatal?), anxiety and currently my favourite – circumstantial (aka situational) depression.
For me, this is basically a combination of ongoing disillusionment with my chosen career, frustration, loss of identity, desperation and overriding thoughts of ‘what the hell am I doing with my life?‘ and ‘what do I do now?‘
As a result of talking about it, I’ve come to realise how wide a problem it really is. I freely chat about the dreaded D-word and my current midlife crisis at school drop off, at prosecco playdates, with new acquaintances and random women in Tesco, I mean Waitrose.
Inevitably, putting it out there like a Masonic handshake sparks recognition, instant camaraderie, and shrieks of ‘Me too!‘
And I’m talking about strong women here.
Women who work hard and are successful.
They are amazing mums.
They are dutiful girlfriends or wives.
They are intelligent, funny, interesting people.
You would look at them and think they have it all and therefore have no reason to be depressed or unsatisfied!
Hell, they have no right to be depressed or unsatisfied!
As a result, many stay silent. And soldier on. But behind those smiles, there is so much unhappiness.
Why do we feel this way? Why do you feel this way?
I have some answers that I would love to share with you.
I warn you it ain’t pretty. But I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.