Sunday, 27 November 2011

It's time to speak up!

I just read a fantastic post from all about her experiences with depression (and of course the recent tragedy in sport today, rip Gary Speed).
She most some really good points about how little depression is talked about - it's almost a 'taboo' to say 'I have depression'.
This got me thinking, why is this? People always seem more able to support and empathise with sufferers of illnesses like cancer, diabetes, etc. Why is depression seen so differently?

My first boss (head teacher) and the deputy seemed hell-bent on getting rid of me from the minute I got my depression back (first year of teaching). She didn't seem to have any idea of how best to 'deal' with me. I shall never forget her first words when I told her I had relapsed and was back on medication 'did you mention that when you applied for the job?' implying very clearly that her thoughts ran to, 'had I known this I would never have hired you'.
To help me further, she took me down capability proceedings, due to my long absence in the first year of teaching. I was told that if I had one day of sickness in 4 months (of my 2nd years in teaching), I would be out.
Looking back it makes me furious to think that I was treated like that! It was as if they were doing their level best to get rid of me and showed no support or understanding at all. I've also learned that loads of people who have long term sickness, for way longer than me don't get taken down capability proceedings!!

Thankfully, they both left and the following head teacher and my new boss now in my new career (left teaching, best thing I ever did!!) are so much more understating and help me!

The past year for me has been really bad. My depression spiralled, my self harming escalated and I was contemplating suicide.  Now, with the help of psychology and my amazing family and friends I am finally getting back to being 'me'.

We need to stop feeling ashamed for having depressions, keeping it hidden as our 'dirty little secret'. It is a terrible illness and the more people who share their experiences the better it will be. People need to be educated, sop that fellow sufferers don't get the whole 'get over it / suck it up / etc' thrown in their face when seeking help,or reaching out to others.

So, to all you fellow sufferers / friends of or family member to a sufferer / fortunate to not be connected with the illness at all:
My name is Mel, I've struggled with depression for 12 years and will continue to for the rest of my life. I did nothing wrong, I didn't ask for this. I wouldn't wish this on anyone, ever. I am no longer afraid to admit this.

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