You cannot tell most of the time if the person sitting next to you has Mental health problems.   You cannot  always tell if a friend, lover or relative has Mental health problems unless he or she tells you.

I see things online everyday that makes me think “ah oh” .. there are woman out there now who have problems, some quite severe, that they do not recognise, cannot see.   I am not sure why the issue of mental health in lesbians is so common, but there is definitely a high percentage of women suffering.    It could be to do with environment or guilt or pressure from family not to be “different” .. I have no idea, none of these were my reason for my slip but I do know that some women do suffer from all of these.

Mental health is a huge subject and I am certainly no expert but I am one of the “one in three” who has suffered from mental health issues in the form of depression.

Depression is a funny old thing (no .. really .. it is!) … sometimes it leaps out of nowhere and pins people to the ground immediately, sometimes, as was in my case, it was a long slow stressful fall that happened without me really noticing.

It is very hard to describe what you feel when you are depressed, your brain is foggy, you just want to curl up and sleep all the time and you crave something to make you look forward, anything.. just something that will make you feel something.   The problem being is that you believe this “thing” will make you feel better, you will feel alive .. but it never works out like that.    Life becomes one big mess of nothingness, no excitement, no joy, no feeling, just a routine, a sufferance that has to be endured.

I got to the point where I didn’t care if I lived or died… don’t get me wrong, I didn’t actually WANT to die but I just didn’t care if I did or not.    I lost all respect for me, I felt I was stuck behind a glass screen watching my life but couldn’t touch it… I know this sounds strange and if you have never been depressed you will probably  think this woman is a lunatic!   but I am no lunatic  and I am, most of the time, a joker, a clown and always filled with optimism, I really am the last person I would have marked down as being a victim of depression, but I was.

I am lucky, eventually (with the help of friends and a holiday!) I realised how far from me I had become, I looked in the mirror and seen a face but could not recognise the spirit or the soul inside me … I was empty.

It has been nearly a year now since I was officially diagnosed, I still have the same pressure as before but I know enough to acknowledge that .. to realise that I am NOT responsible for everything in this world and I can let the guilt go.

I decided at the time to “come out” about my problem … I knew one or two of my friends had been in the same situation as me and found it harder as they had not opened up and I am of the character where I think that if I am honest then people can accept me for the truth or not at all.

I was stunned by the reaction I had … in a very positive way … so many people messaged me or emailed me to say that they had been through a similar thing, some, like me were still fighting to find themselves again, some still are.

Sometimes we have to acknowledge our failings and decide to deal with them.    I know I had a couple of stupid comments “keep smiling” or “read a self help book” .. this is not the response you need or want when you open up to someone .. what you need is someone who sometimes will say nothing but just listen, let you pour out what you think and what you feel, which may be very different to what you think or feel tomorrow.

I am glad I went through what I did last year.   In a way it was the best thing for me as it gave me the insight to what is important  in my life and the power of the brain.

I have a friend who is having a very rough time at the moment.  She is where I was and I can see that as her posts are downbeat and depressive, she knows she has a problem but is not yet at the stage where she feels she can do something about it herself.   I would love to pick her up and shake her and say “listen to me.. only YOU can do this” but I know that this will not work .. this is something she has to find from within her and no amount of preaching or advice from me, or anyone else will help.

Looking back now on how I felt last year is quite amazing, again it is like looking through glass to another life, but this time I am happy to stay on this side and have no wish to go back to how I was then.

Coming out the otherside was a bit like a slow lazy wake up…. I began by feeling a bit more settled, more at peace until one day I woke up and I felt happy … I genuinely thought to myself “my gawd, I feel happy” .. and feeling is returning, I do not feel “dead” inside, nothing is as much as an effort, I do not have to “try” to function, I just do.

I was talking to a very close friend the other day and she said “all the beautifully interesting  people have survived depression” … maybe she is right… maybe I’m on my way to be interesting!!  *smile*