Depression: I’ve been there

I can’t really remember when it started. I sort of just snuck up on me. I would be watching the news on the TV and I would just start crying. That seemed normal, I guess, considering that lots of stuff on the news is horrible, but then I would just burst into tears for nothing. If anyone asked me if I was okay, I would feel my eyes brimming and I would just manage to squeak out ‘Yep,’ and I would walk away so they didn’t see me crying. I felt sad and stupid all rolled into one. I had no reason to cry – I had good friends, a good job and there was nothing else wrong in my life – but I just couldn’t seem to stop.

I can recall crying from the moment I locked my front door and walked down the street to the station. I managed to stop for about ten seconds once I boarded the train, but then I just kept crying. By that point I was lost in my own despair and misery. I couldn’t think straight, so I didn’t care that everyone was looking. Not knowing why I was crying made it worse. Nothing horrible had happened – I hadn’t broken up with anyone, no one had died – it just didn’t make sense.

Trying to hide how I felt was exhausting. Once I remember lying on the floor crying and thinking I needed to put a cushion under my head. The cushion was only a metre away but I couldn’t find the energy to get it. That was when I knew I had to get help.

I went to see my doctor. She explained that I was suffering from depression. By depressed I don’t mean unhappy (you know, when you can perk up if a friend says they are coming around to take you out). I mean it’s like you’ve moved to another place in your head where there is only misery and crying. Our minds are complex things and we play tricks with ourselves to pretend we are okay when we are not. But it was like my brain really knew what was going on, and it was making me cry so that I would do something about it.

My doctor suggested medication. I started on a really low dose, and after a week or two I noticed I’d stopped crying. There were a couple of side effects at first (dizziness, a bit of nausea), but I didn’t care. I just wanted to be my old self again. She also referred me to a psychologist. It was such a relief talking to someone who understood what I was going through. I stopped taking the medication after about a year, but I still see my psychologist every six months for a ‘check up from the neck up’.