So just a couple of days ago I told my Uni friends about having depression, seeing a psychologist and psychiatrist and having anti-depressants strongly suggested by the psychiatrist. At first I was relieved that I got it out and happy that they didn’t react badly to it (maybe because they think I’m ‘recovered’ now and it’s no longer an issue for me?). Since then I have thought about it quite a bit and although I don’t regret telling them, I just feel disconnected and far away from them like I’m in a whole different world. The world of having mental health issues while they live in the land of the normal and sane.
M only started to enter into the world of mental illness in November 2009, when a friend told her she was in hospital for depression. Before that she had never had to deal with mental health issues of any sort, whether it be her or someone she knew. In fact, she’s the friend who said that being a psychologist would be dangerous because you work with crazy people. Entering this world for a brief period of time, looking into the window of the world of her friend…this is only a glimpse of it. And S…not even knowing anyone with depression or a mental illness prior to me revealing I ‘had’ depression.
Mental health issues has been a big part of my life for years, I can’t even comprehend what it must be like to live in the land of normal and sane and be so innocent about mental illness.
My own experiences include depression, self harm, social anxiety, eating disorder issues and all the other issues that come with it and seeing a school counsellor, GP, psychologist and psychiatrist. Other experiences of the world of mental illness include communicating with others who experience mental health issues online through message boards (I have over 5000 posts on a self harm recovery board now), having a friend in high school with depression and trying to support her, wanting to be a psychologist when I was younger, blogging about my mental health issues and finding a lot of other great blogs about mental health, becoming a Reach Out Youth Ambassador, trying to promote awareness about mental health issues, doing English assignments about mental illness such as a feature article about depression (which turned out to be my highest mark in English that year, surprise surprise), writing my personal story regarding my mental health issues and having it published on the headspace website, reading up on articles, books or news about mental illness…
It’s just very present in my life. And to think that my friends have had no experience with mental health issues whatsoever…I really cannot imagine it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m really glad that they have never experienced living with a mental illness and that they have never had to watch someone suffer with mental illness. But it makes me feel so isolated…so different from them.