This post is by Tshidi of Choose Yourself.
Why I decided to share my journey with depression
You are lazy!
Snap out of it!
Why are you depressed when you have everything you need!
You have absolutely no reason to be depressed!
How many times have you had these comments when you mentioned that you were depressed?
How many times did you try to tell someone that you are not okay and it was disregarded?
Well in my case it was 5 years ago. I had went through a very traumatic experience but never spoke about it. I always put on a brave happy face. I didn’t know much about counselling at that time. So everything was pushed under a carpet and life went on. I went on.
Happiness was never a full emotion for me, I always had something that was holding me back to fully experience joy. I knew something was wrong but I could not grasp the actual cause. But something was definitely going on in my head.
I had postponed my mourning period way too much I thought I was over it. Until it came back and took over my thoughts.
It was difficult especially with close family members, to open up about my feelings without them telling me it could be worse. So I just took anything as it came and buried my emotions.
I was diagnosed with depression, and I’m thankful I had the privilege to be able to get help. It took time for me to look for help but I was brave. I have met many of my peers who were also diagnosed with depression, and that is one of the reasons I was able to be open about it. I realised it can happen to anyone and no one notices.
I am a 23 year old girl from South Africa, and I want young people to know that it is okay to be depressed, I want the youth to know that it is okay not to be okay. If at home there is no emotional support, there are free support groups online. I know it is difficult to speak, it was difficult for me too, it still is. My family has not asked what the problem is but they know I’m depressed, they don’t know how to handle the situation and I do not hold it against them. They are being kind and supporting me and that’s all that matters.
You also don’t want to be treated like a sad case, you don’t want pity parties everywhere you go. But as long as it’s known that you are not okay, you need time and will bounce back when you feel ready, taking it one day at a time, it will be okay.
The stigma is still very high, and lack of education about mental health is a factor. No one is immune to mental illness, it can affect anyone in any social class.
You can find Tshidi on her blog Choose Yourself.