This week (18-22 April) is Depression Awareness Week and Blurt are holding a campaign called #WhatYouDontSee, encouraging sufferers of depression to post their experiences on social media.
I must admit I am not brave enough to share my mental illness with social media friends, but I decided to write a #WhatYouDontSee list on this blog.
- You don’t see me taking deep breaths and looking like a crazy lady just before I leave the house
- You don’t see me crying in to my pillow most nights or trying desperately to cry because I feel like I need to, but physically can’t
- You don’t see how my anxiety has slowly turned in to depression over the past six years
- You don’t see me having to go to the doctor once a month for medication reviews
- You don’t see me at the university counselling services, after being on the waiting list for five months
- You don’t see the huge disappointment I have in myself when I’m going through a bad patch
- You don’t see that even when I’m happy, I’m still terrified I will become that poorly again
- You don’t see how exhausted I am after a day at uni
- You don’t see how guilty I feel when I cancel plans
- You don’t see that most of the time, I don’t even feel sad, I just feel nothing
- You don’t see how awful it is when somebody plays down your illness or dismisses it
- You don’t see how degrading it feels when someone tells you things like “pull yourself together”, “just do some exercise” or “drink some chamomile tea”. Yeah mate, that’s some revolutionary stuff there.
- You don’t see how difficult I find it to explain WHY I am like I am
- You don’t see me constantly googling my symptoms
- You don’t see how foolish I feel after leaving a social situation when I get panic attacks in public
- You don’t see my frustration at the potential relationships and friendships that have failed because of this
- You don’t see that behind my seemingly happy face I am trying my hardest to hide the fact that at 17, I was getting suicidal thoughts on Christmas Day
- You don’t see that I’m fighting with my own mind every single day
- You don’t see how much it affects my concentration and my ability to do easy everyday tasks
- You don’t see how much pressure I put myself under to do well and how I punish myself if I don’t
- You don’t see that my confidence and smile is a front and a few minutes later you could find my crying and shaking in a toilet cubicle
- You don’t see how sad it makes me that so many people feel like this, even some friends and members of my family. In a way, it’s comforting but I wish that fewer people suffered with this.
So there it is. Hopefully one day I’ll have to courage to post all this on my social media, but for now it feels good to just type it out.