Depression: the stranger danger I didn’t expect to suffer
I don’t suffer with depression.
Sure, I get miserable at times. But who doesn’t?
And let’s face it, over the last few years, my life has been so crap that anyone would feel depressed. But that’s not the same as being diagnosed with clinical depression, right?
So I got a shock last year, when a debt assessor visited to talk to me about why I couldn’t pay the electricity bill.
(Umm… because I haven’t got enough money. Duh! I could have told you that on the phone!)
And she looked at me and said, “I think you’re suffering from depression.”
There she was, this random stranger, telling me I need medical help. Looking at me and seeing a person who’s not normal. Excuse me?
My first reaction was denial.
No, you’re wrong, I’m fine, I’m just going through a bad time.
And my second reaction (once she’d gone) was anger.
Who the hell does she think she is? She’s not a doctor! Coming here and telling me to my face that she thinks I’ve got mental health problems. She’s got a bloody nerve!
I spent hours doing ‘Are You Depressed?‘ quizzes on the internet, one after the other, carefully adjusting my answers to ‘prove’ I was OK really.
I stuffed my face with chocolate to cheer myself up.
And then I just broke.
I was in floods of tears for weeks. I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t work, couldn’t concentrate – I just couldn’t cope.
Because I knew she was right.
Not admitting there’s a problem worked just as well for my depression as it did for my electricity bill.
It was OK for a short while.
But while I was ignoring the problem, it didn’t go away. Instead, it added up and up… and in the end it was harder to deal with than if I’d faced it in the beginning.