On my blog, I have talked a lot about my OCD and what it’s like to live with. However, if you’ve been an avid reader, you may have noticed that I also mention my previous diagnosis of depression. But I realised this week, I’ve never actually explored this in any more depth on my blog than the odd comment here or there. So, this post is dedicated entirely to my experience with depression and the effect this has had on me, even to this very day.
I was in my second year of university when I sensed that something wasn’t quite right, that there was some sort of shift occurring. At this point, my OCD played a very small part in my life; I had it well under control. I would go as far as saying that my existing OCD and newly diagnosed depression were actually not related at all.
In fact, I can’t pinpoint what could’ve caused this change in me. I was having a good time at university, I was in a relationship that I was happy in and I was living by the seaside down in Plymouth. I didn’t get on with my housemates very well which caused a bit of stress and I remember being anxious over general things in life but to me, this didn’t seem like something that could’ve then gone on to cause depression to develop. But maybe a lot of little things can make more of a difference than I thought, especially when combined with the mother ship.
I had a terrible summer break between my second and third year of university. My boyfriend and I didn’t really see each other and we argued constantly. This really took its toll on me and I became increasingly miserable and withdrawn. I felt angry and anxious a lot of the time and I think I could sense that the relationship was coming to an end.
When I arrived back to university after the summer, my boyfriend broke up with me almost immediately. And, although I had felt some sort of change in me prior to that moment, I do feel that this event is what unleashed the depression.
Heartbreak is bad enough to have to go through but when you’re coping with this in a city far away from your family and friends, it makes it 10x worse. I felt completely alone. This loneliness made me feel so anxious and panicky that things continued to spiral.
I didn’t sleep well during this time; I would wake up with a start every morning feeling immediately sick as I remembered what had happened and where I was. I didn’t really eat because of the nausea (I survived on vegetable soup and salmon with noodles, nutritious!) and I became a shell of my former self. I couldn’t find the happiness in anything and was generally low and tearful. I wanted to get better badly but it seemed so far off in the distance.
However, after making many trips to the GP, taking my medication as prescribed, going to counselling sessions and getting involved in voluntary work, I came out the other end. Managing to stay at university during such a difficult year and recover from this mental health illness is one of my biggest achievements to date.
It’s strange that I say that because the truth is, I felt weak (and still do) that this happened to me. I feel weak that things got so bad and that I got so low after a breakup. I feel weak that I couldn’t manage to cope with this situation and it’s made me worried what else I can’t deal with in life. Will this happen to me again if another shit life event happens?
Questioning whether or not this could happen again is terrifying and I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking this. Going through our darkest days is something that we do not want to ever happen again because it was such a rough time for us. I think that this fear of my own mind (particularly of depression) can cause my OCD to become aggravated. When I feel like I am slipping, the compulsions become worse as I desperately try to fight off any loss of control.
When I talk about my depression, I talk about it in past tense. I don’t consider myself to be someone who lives with depression, I see myself as someone who lived with depression. And to be honest, I don’t know if that’s true or not.
Being depressed in my last year of university has changed me as a person and that is something that I find quite hard to admit. Although I can find happiness in things again now and I do generally enjoy my life, it’s not quite to the same level as I could before this happened. I have down days like every human being does but when I am feeling low, I can find myself feeling very low indeed.
So there we have it, there is the truth about my depression. The reason I decided to write this post was because I have been having a tough week this week. I have felt low, for no particular reason I will add, and it’s been difficult. But even though there is a part of me that’s scared of depression taking hold again at some point, I am learning to accept every day, every week even, that I don’t have that kind of control. Who knows what will happen? Who knows how I will respond?
I need to remind myself that I am strong, even when it feels like I’m not. I can deal with so much more than I think I can. And maybe that’s a lesson I never would have learnt about myself if I hadn’t gone through depression.
Cheers for that babes xoxo