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For those who suffer from depression or anxiety, life can be a constant battle; not only are you fighting against your own demons, but you are also fighting against the preconceptions that society holds regarding people with these mental health issues. Each battle is unique, as each person is unique. As someone who has not only been diagnosed with anxiety/panic attacks and depression, but also suffered a nervous breakdown at the tender age of 25, I have struggled for most of my life with these demons, to the point where at one particular point in time I attempted to take my own life. I am not trying to glamourise or glorify my struggles, but I hope that by posting this story, others may come to understand just how insidious these diseases are. I thought the below passage might help others understand just how life feels at times for someone like me, when I am having a depressive episode/anxiety attack.

“Screams dart and tumble around inside your head like bats on wing at night, feasting on despair and self-recriminations. You fight against them, using the light provided by love and happier memories, but they are too quick, twisting away, escaping only to come back again to attack you when you are unprepared. Your heart races, your stomach churns as fear turns to blind panic. You try to breathe, but are suffocated under the weight of the darkness. You struggle to find any handhold, to pull yourself out from under the crashing waves, but they pummel you down further into blackness. You flail about, surfacing briefly, before being dragged down by the weight of your fears. You feel your lungs burn as they try to drag in air, you struggle to find safe harbour. Miraculously, you find a rocky spur to cling to, your head barely above the crashing, sucking waves. You have been given a brief respite, but for how long?”

Depression and anxiety are diseases with no real physical signs. Unlike the flu or chickenpox, you can’t just look at a person and say “You’re ill. You have X disease!” Some of the most outwardly capable and composed people I know are shattered on the inside; with such stigma still attached to them, sufferers do not want their illnesses on display or broadcast to the general public.
I hope my ramblings do some good; either to educate those who are ignorant of what depression and anxiety are like for those who suffer them, or to let other sufferers know that they are not alone in their battles.


Posted by mindafaye, 27th April 2014


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  • Mental illness can hit anyone with no discrimination . Hope you are getting the support you need everyday .

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  • You are correct. Depression can happen to anyone even the happiest people and when you least expect it . When you are down and anxious and low, half the time you don’t even know it because it is overwhelming and being human of course you either complain or vent . Of course people will see you as whinger, negative etc, but it is still distress and most of the time no one seeks help because we live with it . Thank you for sharing and the more we understand the less suffering it will be .

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  • What an excellent description of depression! You’ve managed to put into words exactly how it feels. It is awful and very few people understand

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  • Fortunately these days there is more awareness of anxiety and depression and a lot of the stigma has gone. There are amazing organisations that help and support people and raise awareness. There are many celebrities that raise awareness too and this goes a long way in tackling this issue. Wishing you well.

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  • top story

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  • great exellent

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  • good story

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  • AshBlonde, so many of us who suffer feel as though our friends or family won’t understand what we’re going through, so are hesitant to talk about our experiences and emotions. Perhaps if you let your brother know that you want to be part of his recovery, and want to know what you can do to help him, he’ll open up and let you in. Even if he doesn’t, I’m sure that knowing he has your full support will help him in his recovery. Good luck!

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  • Thank you for sharing how you feel, my brother had a breakdown several months ago & as much as I want to ask him how he is feeling he keeps it to himself. I know he is on medication & seeing a specialist but I worry he is not in a good place at the moment. I only get to phone him as he lives to far away.

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  • What a beautifully written piece Melynda. Depression is nothing to be ashamed of and we should talk about it more. We could ALL do with more support sometimes and being honest about what we are experiencing is definitely the first step. Hopefully someone reading your story won’t feel so alone now. (btw – didn’t you post about doing a fitness challenge a few weeks ago? I was going to do it with you, but unfortunately I can’t find your post anymore. I did exactly one day before it got lost).


    • Ha AussieMum, yes I *was* doing a fitness challenge, unfortunately the last week and a half have gone out the door because the entire family has been ill. You can always search for it again, under “This is me, weighing in.”
      Thank you all for your comments, I hope it helps in some small way =)

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  • Thank you i too am an anxiety/depression sufferer and it is a constant battle.

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  • HopefullyHeidi, thank you for your comment. I agree that mental illness should not be a taboo subject; perhaps we spoke more openly about it, and showed some more understanding towards those suffering, the suicide rates would decrease and people would be more willing and able to seek assistance and treatment at the outset, rather than some poor souls living their lives in denial until something drastic happens.


    • I’d also like to say to No1LadyDJ and Rhino333, thank you for your comments. Rhino333, I am lucky to have a supportive and loving husband and family, as well as several close friends who understand what I’ve gone through themselves. I have periods where I struggle, but because of them and their support, I’ve been able to move forward rather than slip backwards.
      No1LadyDJ, I’d like to thank you for telling your story. I know it isn’t easy, and I have had uneducated people tell me to ‘get over it’ and that it’s ‘all in my head’, and all that does is set back my progress. Although I’m sorry that you’ll need to take medication for the rest of your life, at the same time I’m so happy that you are taking control of your situation, and are resolved to doing what you need to do to make sure you are in the best condition mentally that you can be. Each day is a struggle for all of us, but if we can reach out to others and let them know that we are not fighting alone, it helps.

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  • Thankyou so much for posting your story. What a great insight it is for a person like me who has never really suffered such a horrible condition. I hope you are getting the support you need and are able to recover one day :)

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  • Dear Melynda – I so admire you for your honesty in expressing things about Depression. Depression and anxiety are invisible illnesses, and they can completely paralyze a person’s life. The more people are prepared to talk about their battles with these issues, the more they will become demystified, and one day they may finally be viewed as “genuine” illnesses and not something people choose to go through.

    I was diagnosed 19 years ago with Major Treatment Resistant Depression, and I’ve have numerous hospital admissions for it in that time. I’ve lost count of the number of different medications I’ve been on, and the number of times I’ve had people say “You’ve just got to pull yourself together and snap yourself out of it”. How do you snap yourself out of a sticky black cloud that imprisons you, preventing you from feeling any sort of enjoyment? Would that it were that easy to just snap your fingers and the cloud would lift.

    I’m doing o.k. for the moment, but it’s a daily battle for me, and I know I’m on medication for the rest of my life. But the one thing I will continue to do is talk openly about depression, and how it can affect anyone, although I do exercise discretion re what I tell & to whom. And I do tell people that until they’ve walked a mile in someone else’s shoes, they really shouldn’t judge the other person.

    I wish you well & hope that the sun will break through the clouds for you more each day. Take care & be kind to yourself!

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  • Thank you for your post Melynda. I think most people who have experienced depression or anxiety could identify with your paragraph on what it can feel like. The statistics on how many people are affected by both of these things in the community are high. I’ve seen people from all walks of life being prescribed an anti depressant, mood stabiliser or an anxiolytic. The big black dog should not be hidden it is very real and we need more awareness and understanding in the community. With the amount of people affected it should not be a taboo subject.

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