In my family we have a resistance towards doctors (yet I want to become one..) and psychology is nothing but hokum. So when I started feeling more and more blue, stopped caring about what happened, and saw nothing but darkness – I refused to seek help. If it weren’t for a teacher who saw me and dragged me with her to the school psychologist I probably wouldn’t have sought it either.
When I finally got some help I had been feeling like this for 5 years, and it was “normal” for me. My baseline was just lower than other people’s. Thanks to my teacher and my therapist I understood that life wasn’t supposed to feel this difficult and worthless – with that realization I could eventually start a long journey towards “happiness”. I’m still not there, but every week I feel that I’m getting a liiiiittle closer to a 1:1 happy-sad-ratio!
In Sweden 1 in 4 is predicted to experience a depression at some point in their lives. Yet we act as if it’s something shameful which only happens to weak people. I graduated at the top of my class, took part in extracurricular activities – even worked part-time! Few people in my surrounding even noticed that I wasn’t okay, simply because they didn’t see me go and cry in the bathroom every break at school. Depression affects everyone; weak, strong, pessimists, optimists.
It is scary to even write this, since mental illness is still very stigmatized. What will future employers and coworkers think of me? Future patients? But my struggle is not me, not my personality. Just like a broken leg isn’t part of yours. And just like a broken bone depression can be treated, and in most cases even cured.
Depression doesn’t affect how efficient, polite, or skilled I’m at my job. But I think about drinking water properly, eating well on my breaks, eating healthy, and exercising regularly – because that makes me feel better. I also know that I can’t plan social activities 3 days in a row because I need some recovery time inbetween. It also means that sometimes the thought of writing a positive and “yay” post about traveling feels unbearable. Because when I’m crying over that the peanut butter jar is empty then I’m not up for listing “why traveling is great”.
The last few weeks have been more difficult for me, because it get’s darker outside, holiday stress, and lots to do in school. When I’ve had a moment to spare all I’ve been capable of doing has been reading buzzfeed-articles.
I do think the variation is necessary. There are struggles with traveling – especially when you’ve got mental illnesses in your luggage, but it isn’t impossible. And there are lots of other sources where you can find cheery posts about how lovely everything is – here you’ll see all parts of it. I’m tired of pretending everything’s always great.