Today at work I was talking to the other person working with me, and she’s mentioned being depressed before and that she’d tried to commit suicide (I said something like, “please don’t smoke, you’ll kill yourself”, and she replied “oh no it’s much harder to kill yourself, I’ve tried” or something). Over the last few weeks of bits of random information here and there, I can tell she has it pretty hard. She’s had depression for 5 years, her parents were addicted to drugs so she lived with foster parents etc.. And now she lives in a cheap flat with a few friends and is retaking sixth form/ college at age 19. She’s had a hard, hard time; so many things that would obviously be extremely hard to cope with and which would trigger depression. Yet here I am, someone with a loving family, a roof over my head, not having to worry about money (even though I sometimes do), with few but wonderful friends. What have I got to be depressed about?
But here’s the thing, asking that question is like asking “I have a great life but I’ve broken my leg, why?!”.. They aren’t (necessarily) linked like that. True, if you have some horrific circumstantial issues then it could very easily lead to depression and/or other mental health issues, but circumstances are only one part of it. One part of a very large, complicated jigsaw. For me, it wasn’t particular circumstances at the time which triggered my eating disorder, depression and so on; more an underlying issue with the way I think and feel. When I was younger I had a tough time with another girl manipulating me and from the age of about 6 l thought I was useless and couldn’t do anything right. So yeah, at the time my illness came around a good 8 years later you could just rule out the possibility that that was a big impact. But the fact is small things can have big effects on people, and for me it was almost a case of me pushing thoughts away and away until they were unbearable.
Anyway, I digress. The point of this post is please, whoever you are and whatever your circumstances, you did not choose to get a mental health issue and it certainly isn’t your fault. Anyone can get a mental health illness, including people who perhaps you would assume are happy and confident. At school I think I probably come across as confident and happy, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Looks are deceiving, as is depression. A smile hides so much.
Someone will always have it worse, but someone will always have it better too. There is no reason why you should be living a life that makes you miserable. There is no reason why you don’t deserve health, help or happiness just because you know that somewhere in the world is someone worse off than you.
You wouldn’t blame someone for breaking their leg, so don’t blame yourself/ others for having a mental health illness. They are a silent killer, and I will not stand by and watch them do their murderous dance.