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“I Talked”…………. Talking is a sign of Strength!!

Here in the Please Talk blog section, we hand over to you; hear from students, who, like many of us, have first hand experience of going through a hard time, reaching out for help and starting their conversation about mental health. If you wish to become a contributor, contact info@pleasetalk.ie

For quite literally as long as I can remember I have suffered from depression and up until a year ago I had always hidden it. A few friends may have been suspicious about it but I never openly came out and said it to someone. Honestly, I didn’t really understand what it was until relatively recently. It’s always been something I’ve tried to ignore, or push to the side, which, in retrospect, was just silly! It’s something that’s different for everyone, but I’ll try to explain what it felt like for me.

It was as though I always had voice in the back of my mind. It never hesitated to make its opinion known, especially on the little things. Everyday mistakes that other people would forget about, but this thing was adamant that I remembered the details. It would focus on these mistakes and replay them over and over again in my mind until I felt so guilty about them that I hated myself for it. Even during the happiest of moments all I could take from it was the one bad part.

For years that was how life went. When I was upset, I learned to laugh. If people asked how I was, I’d lie and say “Grand!”. Last summer though I let things just piled on a bit too much. I was stressed about the regular stuff (college, relationships, money, etc.) and vainly believed that I could handle it. I started to succumb to the pressure and all the while, that voice at the back of my mind had a new favourite phrase: “What’s the point?”. Before, I always did my best to ignore it but this time I began to listen, and worse, agree with it.

Those two weeks before I said anything were without a doubt the worst I’ve ever had. Rationality decided to fuck off and every thought I had was warped into something awful. If I had have left it even just two more days I have no doubt that I would have done something that you can’t really take back. I was beyond desperate. So the only reason I spoke up about anything was just a tiny, tiny bit of hope I had left that stuff could get better.

I was terrified about opening up about it. People have always said that one of the best ways to help yourself is to talk to someone about it. Personally, I’ve found that to be extremely difficult. Not knowing who to talk to, how someone will react to it and the thought of putting this burden on someone. As well as that, it’s just hard to talk about this secret that you’ve been hiding for so long. With all of that in mind, I decided that the best thing for me was to tell absolutely everyone. At the same time. On Facebook. I remember very clearly the excruciating 30 seconds of regret and shame I felt after hitting post. A few occurrences afterwards had me in pure awe.

The first was the support from just about everyone. I kind of expected to be treated like a bit of a leper but it wasn’t the case at all. You were all great enough to give me that boost that was so desperately needed and, well, I probably wouldn’t be here right now if it wasn’t for that. There’s not a whole lot I can say to accurately show my gratitude, but thank you. Really.

The second thing that really amazed me was how many people opened up to me about their own problems. Close friends, mates from school, people I didn’t really know and all people I never would have suspected but there they were. You always hear things like the stats that up to 45% of people go through some sort of depression in their lives, but for such a high percentage I had never come across it before. So to actually hear people I knew talk about this kind of stuff to me, to know that there are others that going through the same thing felt relieving.

It’s been over a year now since these events. Although I did feel drastically better, the pressure that had been building up in my head was lifted and I felt some clarity for a change, things didn’t just magically become perfect. Initially there was a very slight bit of awkwardness that eventually took care of itself. But the big thing I realized was that the depression, in one form or another, was always going to be there. There are good periods and bad periods but the difference now is how much more manageable it has become. Having the knowledge that there are in fact people there to talk to if you need it is an incredibly uplifting feeling.

It’s not easy to talk, but it’s completely worth it. No regrets.

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