Body

Why we need to start talking about depression

“It will break you. But it’s the best thing for you," says a mum-of-two living with depression.

When I was 17, one of my closest friends committed suicide. I was his best friend and I had no idea how he was feeling. The following year, I lost my pop and another one of my good friends. After losing those three people, I went off the rails.

I ran away multiple times – I treated everyone like I didn’t care about them. It was like I needed to let the pain out; as a teenager, you'd just play with razors and make marks on your arm. But then one day, I couldn’t handle it anymore. I didn’t know I had depression – I didn’t know that’s what it was. It wasn’t until I ended up in hospital that it really became clear…

I told my parents what had happened, why I was in hospital, and then I went and saw my doctor. He did an evaluation on me where I had to tick Yes or No on a questionnaire. Afterwards, he looked at it, looked at me and… he just went really quiet. He said to me, “You have severe depression.” Shortly after, I tried to commit suicide.

A few months later, I found out I was pregnant with my son. My mum actually cried to me because she knew that he saved my life. He is what saved me.

One of the biggest misconceptions with depression is that people automatically think I had a terrible upbringing. As soon as you say the word ‘depression’, some people say, “Oh, what was your upbringing like?” Well, I had the most incredible childhood.

It’s just that now on the bad days, it’s not only about fighting the demon in your head - it’s getting out of bed. You lack any type of motivation to do anything. You don’t want to get out of bed. You don’t want to get dressed. You don’t want to leave the house.

Some people look at my life now and they say, “You’re so lucky”. But it’s a rollercoaster. Every day is a constant battle. I’m 26, I have two kids, I have an amazing relationship with my husband, but it’s still hard. Just because my life seems perfect, depression will be a constant battle for the rest of my life.

I told myself for years I could do it on my own. Then, at the start of this year, my dad called me and asked, “Are you OK?” I said, “No.” If you don’t have anyone like that - someone who you can trust and talk to - find someone. Because the more you tell yourself you can do it alone, the bigger the chance you could end up like my friend did. He didn’t get help. And it’s proof that you can’t keep it in; you need to talk.

I find it very hard to ask for help, but the best thing to do is to ask for it. It will make you cry. It will upset you. It will break you. But it’s the best thing for you.

You can’t help it if one boob is bigger than the other, and you can’t help it if you have chemicals missing from your brain. Being depressed is nothing to be ashamed of. Just get help.

If you, or someone you know, is in trouble, get in touch with Lifeline.

For more information about Mental Health Week, click here.