Depression has stolen my smile, and replaced it with an apology.
I’ve been noticing a lot lately how my social media presence has been very very negative. I just had a brief look at my Twitter timeline, and only 3 of my last 18 tweets were positive, and at 18, I just stopped counting, because the impact of Depression was clear.
The sad thing is, I find myself wanting to apologise to my followers for that, for spreading that negativity, and somehow this makes it even worse.
I have no reason to apologise; I have an illness that I have no control over. You don’t apologise for cancer. You don’t apologise for asthma, or chicken pox, or heart disease. So why do I feel like I should apologise for my broken brain?
But there is a reason, there’s always been a reason.
Over the past few years, the conversation in this country surrounding mental health has changed considerably, but that’s only a recent thing. I’m only in my twenties, and yet I grew up in a world where mental illnesses was stigmatised beyond belief. I look back at some of the stuff I watched as a kid, and realise how much ignorance and misinformation there was about it.
Even now, it’s still there. Far too often Hollywood presents the idea that mental illness is treatable through romance. In the real world, whenever news outlets report on murders or terrorist attacks, their default is to imply mental illness caused them to do it.
The stigma is still there, and we may not be chucking people into Bedlam, or trying to cure them with electric-shock therapy, but even in this form, it’s still having an impact, and until it goes away, everyone who struggles with their mental health has another hill to climb on top of the mountain they’ve already been dealt with.
I don’t want to feel guilty every time I post something negative on Twitter. I don’t want to have to ban myself from Facebook, because I struggle to see the bright side anymore. Right now though, I do, everyday, because I’m worried about how people view me as a result of my illness more than I am concerned about fighting the illness itself.
So if you know someone who struggles with their mental health, know that you’ll never be able to fully understand what they’re going through, but that trying to understand will not only make you a better person, but it will help your friend more than you can possibly know.
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