I Have Depression but it’s OK – Ditch the Stigma!

I have talked about my depression previously with you but I feel it is a good time to chat about it a bit more and with a bit of a different take on it as such. So many people have depression whether that be post natal depression, clinical depression or any other named type of depression. They are all the same though aren’t they really, depression is depression but it doesn’t have to have a stigma and we don’t have to see it as a bad thing.

I have had depression for many years now but it is ok, depression does not mean I have failed and it does not mean I’m any less of a person, it just means that I have s bit of a chemical mix up in my brain that people without depression don’t have.

Depression isn’t just sadness, it is that overwhelming feeling of uselessness. The feeling that you are worthless and that you deserve nothing good to ever happen to you. The feeling of failure and that everyone hates you.

It is ok to think these things though because that is the depression, I have come to realise this now more than ever, it is ok that some days I feel worthless and sit and cry. It is ok that I need medication to just keep me on a slightly more even keel. There is no reason that me taking these tablets means I have failed, it just means I need medication to be the healthiest I can be.

I need medication for my asthma (not that it is doing a particularly great job at the moment!) and I never feel like I have failed because my lungs don’t work too well sometimes. I have never spoken to someone with diabetes who feels like they have failed because they need to inject insulin. So why do we think we have failed because we need medication for depression, it is just those chemicals telling us that!

Depression is ok, its ok to admit you have depression, there should be no shame in that, I am not ashamed that I have depression in the same way that I am not ashamed that I have asthma. I think sometimes the labelling of depression into different categories does not help. The reason I say this is that if you are diagnosed as having post natal depression there is surely an expectation of others and one that you put on yourself that you will “get better” as it is “just” post natal depression. What if you don’t get better? How do you feel then when you are still struggling and baby is a year old? I think the label post natal depression then means you already feel like more of a failure because you still have it and it hasn’t disappeared.

Having depression is nothing to be ashamed of and ever since starting my blog I have aimed to help break this stigma by sharing my experiences and showing it is ok to be open about it. I can openly tell you that I have taken medication for depression on and off for the last 19 years. I have had counselling and seen psychiatrists. I can tell you that there have been times I have been suicidal and that there have been occasions I have attempted to end my life.

Its ok to have depression though an I am not ashamed it is just a condition that I have and I know I will always suffer from it. I am still Jen though, I am still a good mum despite my head sometimes telling me otherwise. I am a great girlfriend, my head often tells me I am not, Stuart never says this though so I know it is just in my head.

The issues from my past that trouble me will always be there and I have learnt to accept that and accept the fact they will never go away but that is ok, its ok to have issues and its ok that these affect me. What is not ok is to be judged by these issues and that includes judging myself. I am learning to not judge myself for having depression.

Do you have depression? It is ok to admit you have depression and it is ok to not be ok. The main thing I think is having that support network to help you when you are not ok whether that be friends, family, or just knowing that there is always someone there when you ring the Samaritans. The important thing is never to feel alone and to always have someone to turn to.

I have depression but it’s ok.

I spoke to some fellow bloggers about depression and asked them to finish the sentence “I have depression but it’s ok because”. I hope that my thoughts and those of these others help you see if you have depression that you are not alone and its ok to have depression.

Stacey says “I have depression but it’s ok because it’s not my fault.”

Lucie says “I’ve beat it before and I’ll do it again … I got this!!”

Kerry says “It doesn’t define who I am”

Elizabeth says “I have depression and it’s ok because the goal isn’t happiness, and it has never been. The goal is to experience life in its fullest sense, with all of its ups and downs. There is no shame, no weakness, in owning that I am not okay.”

Nicki says “It’s ok not to be ok. Something that has been repeated at CBT. Learning that sometimes you don’t have to be happy or even just ‘ok’”

Charlie says “I have depression but depression doesn’t have me.”

Lisa says “I have depression and its ok because I’m still ‘me’ underneath it all. Still a mama, wife, friend, colleague and so much more.”

Sophie says “It doesn’t define who I am.”

Aby says “I have depression and that’s ok because I succeed in spite of it.”

Julie says “It’s an illness not who I am and it will get better in time.”

Katie says “I have depression but that’s okay because I still get up every day.”

Lyndsay says “I will not be beaten. I will find the strength to get past it.”

Angela says “But that does not make me a bad mum. It does not define me and I will live my life and parent against the odds and succeed!”

Rachael says “I have depression but that’s okay because I know that it doesn’t define who I am. People still love and care for me, my kiddo still thinks I’m the most important person in his life. It’s okay to feel what you feel.”

Kira says “I have depression and I am here to tell the tale”

Laura says “I have depression and that’s okay because it made me the person I am today – stronger, kinder and braver.”

Ronnie says “I have depression but it’s okay because I’m strong and can manage it day to day…”

What would you add if you have depression? Share with others why you accept it is ok to have depression and hopefully together we can all help remove the stigma and show each other that it is ok and not something to be ashamed of. Comment and share your thoughts below, it can be anonymous if you wish.

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