Teens supporting teens with their mental health and wellbeing.teen
Depression, amongst many other mental illnesses, can take absolutely everything from you, you find it hard to sleep, difficulty concentrating, loss of appetite, thoughts of suicide and self-harm, feelings of helplessness and not being able to find pleasure or joy in things that you used to. Of course there are so many more symptoms of depression which effect people differently, but from my personal experience the one which I felt was the hardest to cope with, was my loss of finding the joy in my interests. This is something I have wanted to talk about for some time. It is a way to spot depression amongst other people but also by sharing my own experiences as often as I can, it is a way to spread more awareness and hopefully help people who may be suffering too.
My interests are who define me as a person, they are small trivial things that I used to hold so dear to me that it became such a huge part of my identity, who was I without my love of reading, music or musicals? That’s a question I used to ask myself regularly and while it was easy for other people to tell me I am much more than the books I read or the musicals I love, my interests had become my safety blanket, a way for me to spark conversation or a way to become different to my peers at school. When I lost my joy of reading, listening to musicals and music, going to concerts and the theatre or for even buying myself a bunch of my favourite flowers, it absolutely broke me and I am still, to this day, finding it hard to put myself back together again. I had lost things that I felt were the only reasons I should be here, what was the point in living if I has no interest in reading or listening to my favourite musicals?
I hid my loss of joy from everyone I knew, it is easier to pretend to be someone you are not than to face the fact that you are not the same person you used to be. Not being able to distract myself with listening to musicals or reading led to much more darker thoughts, I did not want to be here, I did not have any purpose to be here, I was not living my life the way I should have been, I was simply just existing.
I hid those feelings and I let them break me, I let myself get broken until the point I did not want to be put back together again. It may seem like an “extreme” reaction to some people that, because I no longer liked to read I no longer wanted to live, but it is so much more than that. People who live with depression or have suffered with depression know how it grabs a hold of your thoughts, even the smallest thoughts you didn’t even know you had until it manifests into something so big you do not think you will ever find your way back out again. Not letting anyone know that I had nothing in my life that made me happy was not something I should have allowed myself to do, I should have been more open with my struggles. Thankfully it was the smaller things that I did not mean to show , which my family and friends started to notice. (I mentioned earlier some of the symptoms of depression and that the loss of finding joy in things may be a way you can spot the signs of depression amongst friends. It is important to note that if the person who is suffering does not want to show any signs of suffering, then they won’t. It is the smaller signs that are the most noticeably and it is so important to continue to check on your closest family and friends). I was no longer displaying all of my books, I was no longer displaying my theatre tickets and I took down every single photo I had that showed even the smallest ounce of my love towards musicals. I thought I had reached a dead end, there was no way I could ever go back to being the person who found joy in almost everything, I was no longer the person I used to be.
A year down the line, as I sat in my room, which still showed no sign of me ever having any likes or dislikes, something finally clicked into place. I decided to read my first book that I was starting to feel myself getting truly excited about, that was Throne of Glass. I started the book on 26th June 2018 and finished it on 28th June, 2 days later. Thus starting my burning passion for books again. I read each Throne of Glass book, that was already published, in 3 days or under. This may not seem like a big deal to someone who reads 24/7 but for someone who could not even look at a book without feeling physically sick, I was so unbelievably proud of myself. I had gone from reading 9 books in 2017 to reading 30 books in 2018 and now we are half way through 2019 and I have already read 29 books. This may not seem like the biggest amount and I am sure there are others who read a lot more books than me per year but for once in my life that does not bother me. I am happy if I am able to read 1 book and enjoy it because I can see my old self coming back.
Just recently I have found my love for musicals again, thanks to Six the musical. I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason and that things have a way of finding us when we really need them and I believe that the time in my life when Six found me, was the time I really needed it. My love for this musical has only grown in the last 2 months but this was a time in my life where I was starting to feel constantly sad and angry, I could feel myself falling back into my old mental health state and that was desperately not a place I wanted to be. Six is the musical which gave me that happiness again, if any of my family or friends are reading this they know how Six has consumed every thought I have from the minute I wake up until I go to sleep, I cant even watch a video of them performing without crying of happiness. While this may seem a little “sad”, I am happy and proud to say that this musical saved me, it saved me from being in an even darker place and I don’t think I can ever explain the amount of joy this musical gives me, which are words I did not think I would ever hear myself saying again.
2017/early 2018 'me' would not have seen this day coming, I would never have imagined myself to be finding even the smallest amount of joy, let alone feeling so much joy it makes my heart hurt!
I am still struggling to this day and by no means am I finding the same amount of joy in things as I used to but the message I wanted to share is that it will find its way back to you. This is a side of depression that not a lot of people see, it is a lot easier to just assume that depression is just feeling constantly down, but like I stated before it is so much more than that. If anyone reading this, and they are experiencing the same feelings I described at the start of the blog, then it is so important that you not only tell someone about these feelings but that you hang in there. You can do it, you are so much stronger than you ever believed you were, you will find that joy again, it is there and it will find its way to you. I didn’t believe it ever would, but I am living proof that no matter how little joy you have, it will always come back to you!
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