MY Depression

Hi Guys,

I know it has been a while since I posted new content. I guess university and life in general got in the way. I think juggling assignments, a new job, insecurities, and my depression got the better of me which led to me making excuses, overthinking, being critical and therefore procrastinating.

I said my depression because I’m owning it. I’ve realised it has become a part of me that I’ll probably have to deal with for a long time. I told myself that after coming off of medication after a year, implementing valuable lessons I’ve learned in therapy to my day to day life and trying to identify triggers and my thought processes that I would be okay and that I could manage.

I looked at myself in the face and said “After all you have been through, you’re still here. As long as you are alive and well, you will find the strength to pull yourself through it” and most times I did. I tried to get on with life in the best way I could but it simply hasn’t been as easy as I hoped it would be.

It’s hard to stay strong and have a positive outlook when you don’t have someone to talk to when you’re feeling low, when you don’t have someone who understands the struggle. The struggle of not wanting to get up in the morning.. being alone with your thoughts. Some would call it being irrational or dramatic, but to me.. To me, this is my reality. There has been nights when I woke up screaming and sobbing because I found myself overwhelmed by anxiety, fear and hopelessness. Unable to breathe. Body shivering. Heart beating out of my chest. But nobody there to call for help.

It took a lot of self-reflection to realise what caused me the most pain. I found myself being in a cycle of feeling unvalued by others, friends, and family. Being disappointed, time and time again. Patterns of self-destruction, over and over again. I found my happiness in someone else’s hands.

I need to take back control of my own happiness. Not diving in head first and take ownership of my own actions. Being able to trust, love and be loved, without getting lost in it. To start recognising achievements and stop being hard on myself. Having faith in the notion that everything will fall into place at the right time. The feeling of being on edge all the time and feeling like you are about to jump off a cliff can be emotionally and physically draining but I have made a conscious decision to jump and take a leap of faith and hope that I will land in a safe place.

depressed

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I wrote that about 6 months ago. That’s how I genuinely felt 6 months ago. It was safe to say I needed some time off and chill the fuck out lol. Needless to say, depression/anxiety is very difficult to deal with and it can take over every aspect of your life if you allow it. When you are in the midst of it all and being overwhelmed by self-doubt, misery and heavy-heartedness, I couldn’t look beyond the shit storm. It took me a while to clear my head, it was an internal struggle with myself. My fight worn me out so much to the point where I was numbed to emotional pain and felt like I unconsciously turned on survival mode.

But 6 months later, I’ve had the chance to reflect on a lot of things and managed to identify repetitive behaviours which were harmful to my state of mind and how I perceived myself as a person.

Mental health awareness and the ability to openly speak about it and share experiences are imperative. It will be the only way forward to a better understanding and inclusiveness in today’s world. To anyone who is struggling with mental health issues, self-image or if you’re just having a crappy day just remember it will be okay.

-xx- Florencia

Suicide and Self harm: A cry for help or a cry for ‘likes’

 

kehlani-11

Recently I came across a post on social media about an R&B singer Kehlani that evoked very strong emotions in me which quite frankly I was not aware of. The post as follows:

“RnB singer Kehlani recently got accused for infidelity. Conveniently, she attempted suicide as a way of trying to escape the abuse –(criticism on social media).

I am split about this. On one hand, she may actually have felt depressed. On another, I feel she took this drastic step for attention seeking/sympathy.

We as a society, are we too Judgemental which can drive people to do such things?”

That was a reaction related to a post on Kehlani’s instagram:

Zayns-collaborator-Kehlani-posts-about-suicide-attempt

Attention seeking and sympathy are words that have been used to describe this incident in many social media posts and pop culture blogs. For example, R&B singer Chris Brown has a very similar view and posted:

“There is no attempting suicide. Stop flexing for the gram. Doing sh*t for sympathy so them comments under your pics don’t look so bad.”

Chris-Brown-criticizes-singer-Kehlani-Parrish-after-suicide-attempt

Well my first reaction was shock. I was pretty much stunned at not only the ignorance of the fact but simply the fact that most people couldn’t look passed the alleged affair she had. I was sad because these views and comments are evidently a reflection of today’s society and generation of people who are so consumed with and influenced by social media to the extent that it has taken over our lives in too many aspects. I was disappointed and actually quite annoyed (to say the least) because in 2016,  we as a modern society should know better than to allow something as trivial such as social media to have such a major impact or influence on our ability to distinct fabrication from reality. It is almost as if social media has become the new sense of reality.

 

A few statistics:

1 in 10 young people suffer from a mental health disorder; 50% of mental health problems are established by the age of 14 and 17% by the age of 24 (Kessler et al., 2005) and 20% of young people may experience mental health problems or the onset of mental illness at any given year (WHO, 2003). Women are more likely to suffer from a mental health problem in comparison to men and are also twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety related disorders. While suicide rates are generally higher in males than females, it is well recognized that self-harm including poisoning and deliberate self-injury are more common in females (O’Loughlin & Sherwood, 2005)

My point I’m trying to make here is that mental health problems are real and amongst us and it shouldn’t be overlooked, ignored or not being taken seriously. Before that day I had no clue who Kehlani was and I still don’t know much about her, I’m unable to develop a formulation nor am I qualified to diagnose anyone but since she’s a 21 year old young woman who’s dealing with scrutiny from the media, fans and blogs around the clock, based on research I figure she may well be suffering from mental illness. Secondly, what if she was indeed seeking attention or sympathy? Has anyone thought of the possibility that she might be displaying this behaviour on this scale as a cry for help? Even if she did cheat on her partner and she only harmed herself in an attempt to deflect from that issue, shouldn’t that ring a few alarm bells?

I’ve had a few instances when I’ve told certain people that I’m training to become a psychologist and their response were ‘Oh, so you like working with crazy people?’ … Perhaps, these comments get to me because I do not only study mental health for a living but I intermittently suffer from depression and anxiety myself and I know how much of a silent killer it can be. This feeling of being sucked into a black hole and not knowing when you’ll be able to get out of it. Not being able to control your irrational thoughts, feelings, behaviours and emotions. Imagine being locked in a sound proof room where nobody can hear you scream for help, you endlessly trying to break through those brick walls. All you can do is wait. Wait for the darkness to disappear, for a door to open, which can take days, months or years. Mental suffering is probably the worst kind of pain a person can go through.

So I guess where am going with this is, when it comes to a person who appears to show signs of mental health issues its imperative to consider all possible causes or reasons behind it and consider the facts prior to passing judgement.

-X- Florencia