How my sister dealt with the dark cloud of depression

In light of Mental Health Awareness week, Emily Paget discusses with her sister Sarah how depression affects her life.

Black clouds hang over 450 million people worldwide. For one person, Sarah, that cloud is depression and it follows her everyday.

“Depression takes over everything like your thoughts and feelings, sending you into a pit of despair,” She explains. “Mine dragged me to the lowest point in my entire life – I didn’t want to do anything. It gave me dark thoughts and robbed me of my personality.”

The cloud started rolling over her head when she suffered a loss in her life. “I didn’t want to eat or drink. At some points, I didn’t even want to be here anymore,” She recalls. “That made me think something wasn’t right.

“I didn’t recognise myself, I had no idea what could be wrong with me. My eyes had lost that sparkle and were replaced by tears because I used to cry all the time, my smile had disappeared and I felt broken into a million pieces.”

After encouragement from her family, Sarah saw her GP. “I remember sitting in the waiting room with this pain and exhaustion crashing over me. I spoke to the doctor about everything and I felt relieved to just have those thoughts out of my head for a while.”

In the autumn of 2013, her GP gave Sarah the answer that she didn’t know she was searching for. She wasn’t just sad, she was depressed.

“When he said I was depressed, it made sense. I felt relieved and like I had some sort of answer as to what stared back at me in the mirror. But I was so scared because I had no idea where to go from here.

“If it wasn’t for my mum, I don’t think I’d be where I am today. She dragged me out of the house to help her with her photography; she let me open up to her about this weight that seemed to be dragging me down and didn’t judge me when I told her I had depression.

“She helped pick me up and helped me take the small steps to getting myself back.”

Her mum stood by her side as she went to get treated. “I take anti-depressants regularly, they take away some of the sadness and pain, and help me perk me up to what I’d say is my normal self.

“It’s not just about popping some happy pills, I see a counsellor to help me work through my problems.”

It’s been an uphill struggle for Sarah to manage her conditions; still struggles with it everyday. “Don’t get me wrong, there are good days and bad days, where things just seem to get on top of me but with the support I have, I now feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that I have a support network in place.

“If I could go back to my past self, I would say that many people have to deal with depression so it’s not something I should feel ashamed of; and there may not seem like there’s a way out, but now I am easily able to recognise my symptoms and ask for help with them.

“My mum gave me this advice to remember when days are hard to get through; ‘it’s not about fighting the storm but weathering it.’”

If you or someone you know are struggling with depression, help and advice is available from Samaritans on: 0845 790 90 90 or visit their website: www.samaritans.org

What are the signposts of depression?

Clinical depression can have a variety of symptoms.

These include psychological symptoms such as: low moods, lack of motivation, having suicidal thoughts or self-harming.

Physical symptoms: changes in weight, disturbed sleep patterns or unexplained aches or pains.

Social symptoms: not doing well at work, not taking part in social events or hobbies or taking part in fewer ones and having problems with your home and family life.

It is estimated that one in four adults in Britain suffer a mental disorder like depression and one in six suffer it at any given time.

If you or someone you know may be suffering from a few of these symptoms than please consult your GP.

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