So I've been thinking about starting this blog for at least the last two years, and have come up with many and varying reasons as to why I shouldn't. I'm embarrassed. I'm ashamed. I've brought this on myself. I don't want anyone to know. Why can't I just cop on to myself and cheer up? Who would would want to read it? Depression isn't really an illness....... I could keep going but you get the picture!!
Anyway, I'm well on the road to recovery from a particularly difficult episode which led to my being hospitalised for 5 weeks, and during that time, I realised that hiding my depression was hiding part of myself. It doesn't define me, but it is part of me, and much as I would like to deny that, there's no getting away from it. I realised that had I been in hospital for any other reason, I'd want everyone to know. I'd want visitors, flowers, chocolate, sympathy, the works!! But, because I was in hospital with depression, I went with the age old attitude of hiding it. It doesn't help. At all. What has helped, enormously, is being honest and open with people. Yes, it's a really tough thing to admit to, and it makes some people extremely uncomfortable. They don't know what to say. It's so difficult to understand an illness that has no visible symptoms, that has no easy solution. But for others, it was just accepted, and the support I received was wonderful. There's a huge sense of relief in not having to hide anymore, that on a bad day, I can just admit that it's a bad day and move on.
Today, starting this blog feels like a new beginning. I want to leave depression behind, in some ways I can, in some ways I can't. This episode is under control and coming to an end, but I've been warned that it will happen again, and I will have to learn to manage it. But right now, in this moment, the decision to share my journey feels like a huge step, and a hugely positive one. Right now, that's enough.