Depression's Hidden Side

Depression's Hidden Side

Feeling Strong Campaigns Lead, Stephanie Carney, talks about depression behind closed doors, and how it can affect people in different ways.


CW: Suicide

People have heard about Depression, it is spoken about more than any other mental health problem but some people don’t realise the more “uncommon” symptoms that people face in everyday life that can be felt as 'embarrassing'. As we know, Depression is a common mental health problem and it can affect people in different ways. It can range from feelings of unhappiness and loneliness to losing interest in the things we enjoy and feeling very hopeless. Studies have shown that 4% of children aged 5 to 16 in the UK are anxious or depressed, which isn’t okay, and that number greatly rises in later adolescence.

I’ve been diagnosed with Depression for nearly 6 years; I know it’s been there longer. The experience itself has been a roller coaster as I also deal with anxiety. To put it into perspective, my brain is like a fight scene in Game of Thrones where two sides collide really quickly and there’s too much going on, you can’t focus. My Anxiety and Depression have conflicting thoughts… For example, my Anxiety might think a situation isn’t okay and would alert me that I need to leave, however my Depression would be apathetic and they will argue against each other.

Mental health problems are hard and as much as I’d like to raise awareness about Depression, it’s important to also talk about the side of depression no one speaks about. Some people don’t realise the behaviours that they might consider ‘lazy’ or ‘flaky’ in someone with depression are exhibited because sometimes we can’t even get out of bed. So, here’s a list of a few symptoms that people who deal with depression may not share; not showering, not cleaning, lack of dental hygiene, oversleeping, body aches, not being able to work full-time, napping, diarrhea/digestive issues, matted hair, bed sores and not being able to leave the house. All of these symptoms are things people can or have experienced. I’ve certainly experienced a few and being in that low of a state isn’t easy and it’s extremely tough to break out of that mindset.

Last year I watched something that had Kevin Hines in it - he's a guy who almost died by suicide at the Golden Gate bridge. He spoke about his depression and noted depression as a liar. Since then I’ve realised how much it IS a liar. It’s easier now to break out of negative mindsets and catch myself before I fall too deep. My brain telling me that I’m lonely is a LIE; my brain telling me I’m bad at things is a LIE. The best thing to do is remind yourself of the truth, which is easier said than done. You may not be able to shower or rely on a can of dry shampoo/wet wipes, you may sleep all day so you don’t have to deal with the day, you may not be able to leave the house, even when it’s sunny, because you simply can’t face the world and you know what? That’s okay.

The most important thing to remember is that even though you may deal with depression and it feels like it consumes your entire being, it doesn’t define you.