Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Zoe's Guide to: Depression

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to write about things that were personal to me. At first, I couldn't really think of anything. I've already done multiple posts on gaming and friends and basically anything that interests me. Then I thought, what's more important to me than mental health? It's something I feel, isn't taken seriously enough and something, I have addressed but, never really dedicated a whole post to it. 

A couple of things I would like to address before we start is, this is my guide. I'm not speaking for everyone who's ever had depression or is suffering from it now. Also, if you are easily triggered or sensitive to this topic then please stop reading. Just for your own health and safety. 

Ok, so first off, what is depression? According to Google, depression is "feelings of severe despondency and dejection" which basically means feeling in low spirits and just sad. Which is fair enough. In a simple form, that's what it is. In my mind, depression is just feeling really fucking shit. About everything and everyone. No one knows what you're going through. No one cares what you're going through. You don't have energy to do anything that, even getting out of bed is a horrible effort. Some people feel so detached from everything they forget to eat. I'd describe really bad depression as, you're alive physically but not mentally. That's the only way I could describe it. 

Something that a lot of people would associate with depression is self harm. The "interesting" thing about self harm is, not everyone who's depressed self harms and not everyone that self harms is depressed. I have, unfortunately, self harmed in the past. Anything from, cutting, burning, closing doors on my fingers, pulling hair, snap bands, I've done it. But, I think, like a lot of people, the hardest "addiction" I had to beat was, of course, the cutting. I'd do it on mainly the wrists but also sometimes on the legs. But, here we are at the most important thing; How I stopped.

If you're looking for ways to stop harming, (I can only really speak for the cutting because, that's what I indulged in most), I have a couple of things I used. First thing, a lot of people will recommend is the "Don't harm the butterfly" technique, which is where you simply draw a butterfly to whatever part of your body you harm. The idea is to not harm anywhere there's a butterfly, which is where the name comes from. Other people will suggest writing a phrase, so every time you look at it you'll remember not to harm. These, in theory, are good ideas but, if you're trying to keep it on the quiet they can be quite noticeable. So what I did was, I took the idea behind these and just marked my wrist with a tiny X whenever I felt the urge to cut. So basically, every time I'd think about doing it I'd see the X and think "you've gone through the effort of trying to stop, don't let yourself down now". You can also pretend the X's are kisses to yourself if you like. Chewing gum also worked for me, which is kinda weird. I think it just put my focus on something else. It's a good trick for people trying to give up smoking, and for a lot of people, harming is an addiction too.

The next thing, a lot of people associate with depression is, suicide. The only thing I can say, and want to say, is if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please try and speak to someone. I know it's hard, I had to do it but, people can help you. If the first person you tell, doesn't listen, try again. If you have parents who would understand (and I know not everyone does) tell them. In Ireland, there are a lot of free counselling services that can be arranged with your GP and are confidential. There are groups and foundations you can call, to talk to someone (I'll leave Irish numbers at the end). Just speak to someone because honestly, everyone's life means something and everything you're going through is temporary. Take it for someone who knows. It does get better. It may not be perfect but, some day it will get better. I know it's not what you want to hear right now, I've been there, you just have to trust that it will.

To anyone who may not suffer from depression but, is reading to learn more; If someone comes to you and says they're feeling down please, just phone them or visit them. Suicide rates are so high in this country and you really can help someone. The county I live, has the fifth highest suicide rate in the whole country and it's our responsibility as communities of families, friends, neighbours etc to look out for and look after each other. So please do.

I think that's all I have to say on this topic. I feel like I've rambled enough. I hope I've helped some of you and maybe enlightened others. Also, please feel free to message me through Twitter or Facebook if anyone feels they need to. Links can be found on the Blog.

Thank you all for reading this extremely long (for me) post. Stay safe and look after each other.


Websites to find out more;

Numbers to call;
1 Life: 1800 247 100
SoSad: 041 98 48754

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