Teacup Conversation is spending a week interviewing various people on the topic of Mental Health and Disability, in the hopes to shed light on the lives and experiences of those who are affected.
Today’s topic is Depression. Website depressionalliance.org states that: “If you are affected by depression, you are not ‘just’ sad or upset. You have an illness which means that intense feeling of persistent sadness, helplessness and hopelessness are accompanied by physical effects such as sleeplessness, a loss of energy, or physical aches and pains.”
In your own words, can you define what depression is, or what it is to you?
Depression is a mental illness, a condition that can radically change someone’s outlook on life and stop them from living it to the fullest. It’s more than just being sad, it’s a disorder.
Tell the reader a little bit about yourself?
I’m a BA Journalism student, postman and I also do music journalism and writing in my spare time.
How does a typical day in your life go?
On a working or university day I have to wake up early to be ready, but luckily I drive so I don’t have to worry about missing buses and whatnot. My university timetable is spread out oddly so in between that I have to fit in seeing friends and doing work. Though I get four days off every week, I still don’t make enough use of the time.
How does depression affect your day to day life?
I have a very sporadic sleeping pattern which is often a part of depression. Sometimes I wake up very late and I’ve wasted the day, but I’ll have had little ‘quality’ sleep. It does mean that the time I am awake isn’t as productive as I’d like. I have to wake up early for work and university (being a postman involves waking up particularly early) but on my days off I sleep in too much. As a result, I’m often very lethargic and any plans I make to do uni work or meet people often fall through because I don’t feel physically up to it.
Do you think there is a stigma attached to depression and do you feel as if anyone treats you any differently?
I don’t think it is taken seriously enough, as those who don’t have it just assume it’s ‘being a little bit sad’. It isn’t and it can be frustrating when the only advice friends give you is ‘try being happier’. If it were that easy, we would just do it. It’s a chemical imbalance and that can often require medical treatment of some kind. The fact it is an invisible illness with no physical symptoms means people find it hard to understand, and to an extent I can’t blame them, but when they’re judgmental of those who do have it then that is unfair.
What would you like to tell people about depression?
If someone says they have depression and they’re a close friend of yours, understand that it is more than being moody. It’s a medical condition and an incredibly common one that should be taken seriously. Often people with depression are reserved and afraid of social interaction. Don’t judge them for it, be patient. They can’t help it.