I have lived with clinical depression for over a decade. It has meant that there have been times when I have been unable to see beyond the present and just wanted to fall asleep … permanently. I don’t think people realise that depression can cause a physical sensation of pain and emptiness. It actually hurts. I doubt it is just me that feels this. Because when it gets bad, I don’t know what I can do to stop that deep feeling of pain. But, I have never tried to harm myself to end it as I somehow cling on to a deeply held belief that if I ride through the feelings, I will eventually surface and see things through a more balanced perspective again; I will once again appreciate feeling the sun on my skin and breathing in the air and the inner feeling of tunnelling pain will cease.
It’s always the smallest things that cause an upturn for me and I have developed many, many techniques over the years to deal with negativity from people and just daily life misfortunes. For me, the thing that has affected my mental stability over and over again are toxic colleagues in unhealthy workplaces. There’s been undermining, low level bullying, racial slurs, homophobia, sexism, mental health bigotry and just general nastiness. It is hard to explain to people just how difficult it is to maintain a mental health balance even without all the additional toxicity.
This year I have started spending time helping out with different charitable causes after work – it has helped me distance myself mentally from the toxic workplace and has enabled me to maintain confidence in myself. Sometimes, the only way to heal is to help others.