Even though many schools talk about bullying and depression they never really go over what it's like to be depressed so how are we supposed to know when we are?
I know it sounds like a funny thing to say and most people would probably say 'Oh, 'course you'd know if you were depressed, who else knows you better that you?'
But when I was depressed I didn't know what depression felt like so I couldn't identify it with myself.
When I was depressed I didn't know me anymore.
I felt like a had a literal weight attached to me, bringing me down.
I didn't have much to be happy about because certain people had made me feel alone and trapped. I couldn't see happiness.
Towards the darkest of my experience, I started questioning myself and whether what was happening in my life happened to everyone or whether I was just being dramatic. These thoughts drove me to the edge. I didn't know if this feeling of hollowness would ever leave and I was scared- and scared is dangerous. I think, inside, I knew something was wrong and that I needed help but I wasn't (it's hard to explain) OK with the fact I was depressed so I hid it.
This was my experience with depression.
This is purely my experience- other people may have experienced different things whilst depressed so if you think you or a friend is depressed you should not rule depression out if what you/they are feeling is different from what I felt.
Signs of Depression
When people are depressed, they almost always feel low for long periods of time (ie. not just an odd day here and there), you may lose interest in some of the things you enjoy or you may feel constantly tired or drained. At the most modest form of depression you may feel low constantly, the most severe form of depression is questioning the need of your life.
If you have a friend who is persistently low, DO SOMETHING. I'm not talking an all out intervention, just talk to them individually and ask them if they're honestly okay, it's fine if they don't open up to you as it is primarily their choice to talk about their personal feelings, offer them your support and just be there for them when/if they need you.
Getting through Depression
Depression is hard...really hard.
You're not something that just heals overnight- there is no 'reset' button- both physical and mental scars take time to heal. It's not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of what has happened to you and that things need to change so you can be happy.
Recovery is possible just-
YOU'RE NOT ALONE, OKAY.
If you have depression and you feel alone just talk to someone because honestly, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, I promise.
If you're in high school and people are giving you a hard time then HANG IN THERE. Don't hate yourself , EVER, because it's not your fault-Never, even for a second, believe it's your fault.
There are people that love you, even if you can't see it, they care for you and want you to be happy. There is always someone.
Talk to someone but if you honestly feel as if you have no one
a) ME AND THE BOOK CRITIC ARE ALWAYS HERE FOR YOU.
b) visit http://www.childline.org.uk/pages/home.aspx (confidential advice for UK resisidents aged 7-18)
Stay strong, there is always hope.