It Takes A Lot

"You cry a lot don't you" Followed by a laugh.
"You post a lot of sh*t on Facebook [Instagram etc]" Followed by a laugh.
"All you do is moan about being single and stuff" Followed by a laugh.
"You over-react"
"You take too much to heart".

It's hard to not believe that people don't see that happy side of you, the side you try to portray every day.
Depression takes over a big part of MY life. It is a fight I have daily. I try my best, to the point of exhaustion sometimes, to fight it. To try to not acknowledge it. But it's always there.
Just because it is part of MY life it doesn't mean I want to make it a part of everyone elses lives too.
But, I am open about my depression, my anxiety. I don't want to be defined by it, but when people say the things listed above it almost feels like I have to put a disclaimer up.

"Depression sufferer. Likely to cry over the smallest of things. Approach with caution"

It's not something I advertise but I also don't hide it.
I don't tell people for the attention. I don't tell people for the sympathy. 
I tell them so that they stop judging me. So that maybe, comments about me stop and maybe a little bit of understanding can be used instead.

But that's the problem. People don't understand. 
This is my 16th year with depression. And still I don't understand it.
We are all affected in different ways, we all cope in different ways and we all have different ways of expressing it. 
For me, I'm not afraid to say I have it. I'm not ashamed.
It's not my fault I have it. 

It's easy for people to say "just don't think the things you are thinking" "Just do X,Y or Z" but if it was that easy, then I would be doing it. 
Sometimes the more you try to ignore it, the stronger it comes through.

It is a battle. 
It is a fight. 
And when it is going on inside your own head, and your own body, it's not as easy as walking away or taking a break.

It gets confusing. 
I question why I do this to myself. These things are going on in my head, they are a part of me, so I am doing this to myself. 
I struggle to recognise it as an illness because it feels like it is part of me. Like it is part of my make up. 
It can't be cut out of me. 

Today is one of my bad days. One of those days when I woke up and didn't want to do life at all. 
I posted on Instagram, not for attention. Not because I wanted people to send me virtual hugs. But so that some of the hurt and pain I feel today can be released. 
When I was a housewife I didn't mind so much putting it all out there. The only people who saw my Instagram were online followers and friends who knew about my issues. 
But now, now that I work and I have children in school my circle has grown. 
School mum friends, and work colleagues, all there able to see that I am this person.
And it takes a lot to actually let people who see you, and who know you, talk to you, work with you, know that actually you are a mess. 
You struggle every day and what to them seems like attention seeking, negativity, or "sh*t" is actually something that for you is every day life, and although not a cry for help, is a release.

I don't want sympathy. I don't want attention.
I don't over-react on purpose. I don't want to take things to heart.
I want people to recognise that things aren't always as they seem.
And that sometimes the bravest things people do aren't something we can see. But are those quiet battles we face within ourselves every day. 
I try to be strong. I try to be someone people don't feel it necessary to put down just because they are not afraid to cry. 

I face this every day. On my own. 
It takes a lot to admit to others that inside my head, I am not okay. I am not always this person I show myself to be. 

That girl, boy, man, lady that you roll your eyes at because they've put something else negative or sad on social media...they could be an attention seeker. But they could also be taking a brave step in posting what they do.
They may sit for a while, as I do, hovering their finger over the "post" button, in fear for admitting "I'm not ok" or "Today is not good for me". 
That is what takes a lot, hitting the post button. 
Putting that out there. 

Life with depression and mental health problems is hard enough without worrying about people judging you.
It's hard enough without having fear of letting people know, and being open about it.
And that is why I am not ashamed, and I am not afraid. 

I am a normal person who just has this "thing" that lives inside her head. It took a lot for me to accept that. But I have done, because I know that I have done nothing to create it. 
It is part of me and as much as I hate that, I have to accept it. If not the battle just goes on and gets worse. 
To accept it, makes the battle a tiny, tiny bit easier. 


I saw a post on LinkedIn recently that really hit home to me. It was a lady talking about her two grown up sons, one who lives away from hom...