Last week was mental health awareness week and I was sitting at work inside a prison. All morning I was listening to Officers joke and disregard mental health as nothing serious. They don’t really understand the seriousness of it and how badly it can affect people.
I chose to write about this subject because I’m 22 years old, I’m a Prison Officer and I’ve suffered with anxiety and depression for the past 7/8 years. Over the years I’ve had to come to terms with it. I have had to learn to understand depression and work out how to cope with it. I believe it’s not something you can overcome completely but it’s something you can learn to deal with and learn to never trigger.
Depression is hard to understand. It is invisible. It’s not ‘feeling a bit sad’. The odd thing is you can have depression and be happy, just like you can be a sober alcoholic.
It doesn’t always have an obvious cause.
Depression makes you think things are wrong. But depression itself isn’t a lie. It is the most real thing people and myself have ever experienced. To other people depression sometimes seems like nothing at all. You’re walking around with your head on fire but no one can see the flames. It is easy for stigma to survive. Stigma is particularly cruel for depressives because stigma affects thoughts and depression is a disease of thoughts.
When you’re depressed you feel alone, and that no one is going through quite what you’re going through. You are scared of appearing in anyway mad. You internalise everything and you’re scared that people will alienate you further. You clam up and don’t speak about it. Which is a shame, as speaking about it helps. Words spoken or written are what connects us to the world, so speaking about depression to people and writing about it helps us connect with each other and to our true selves.
Don’t be afraid to speak to people, you’re not the only one that suffers. Remember you’re not alone. There are people that love you and will support you whether that is friends or family!
Use a negative and find a positive from it! For me it is the key to a happier life. No one has a perfect life but make the most of what life you have got. We are lucky to be alive and living. Embrace it and enjoy each day however you can.
Just remember, It is okay to talk!
Lewis Milford – Instagram