Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Will anyone ever fully understand my depression?

Explaining depression to someone that has never experienced it before is so difficult, even with someone that has seen me at my lowest points. It's not something that you can physically see, and the symptoms aren't something that you would necessarily have felt before, so I appreciate that it can be so difficult to empathise with it. You can empathise with someone that has back pain - everyone has felt pain before. You can empathise with someone that has a stomach bug - everyone has been sick before. But not everyone has felt the emotional pain of going through depression; the constant exhaustion and negative thoughts that sometimes physically prevent you from getting out of bed. The feelings of despair and hopelessness.

I think before I started my blog there were only a few people who knew about my depression, and they were people that I knew would always be there for me, no matter what time it was or what they were doing. They are the people that have come closest to fully understanding my depression as they have seen it from the start and gone through the lowest of lows with me. Like my mum, for example, I think she is the one person that almost knows what my depression is like - she can definitely empathise with it and knows exactly when I feel good, or when I need a bit of help. But that has come with a lot of experience.

However since then so many more people know about my illness and it has almost become 'normal'. These people have been amazing with me, but haven't necessarily seen me in my worst states (thank goodness!). They haven't seen how much of an achievement it is for me to be better and therefore can't celebrate that with me. They don't know how bad my depression can make me feel. And that can almost belittle it sometimes, when actually it is an illness that I suffer quite severely with.

Even others that also suffer with depression can never fully understand what I am going through. They will have similar experiences, but no two individuals will ever have exactly the same symptoms.

I guess what this long rambly post is trying to say is that nobody will ever truly understand my depression, no matter how long they have known me or what states they have seen me in. And I guess that makes me feel quite lonely. I am so appreciative of those that take the time to talk to me about how I'm feeling, and to try and cheer me up if I need to be, and I really have found out who my true friends are. Yes, nobody will ever completely understand what you are going through, but there will be those genuine people that try their hardest to help you and really want you to get better. And that's all that matters.
Life is like a camera. You focus on what's important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives, and if things don't work out take another shot.


  1. Hi Hannah, i've only just started following your blog and I saw this post immediately. I too have had it on and off for the past 10 years, and I know what it is to feel lonely even with other people who know what it is! A very brave post and it's good that you have supportive people around you :)

    thank you for sharing, it's posts like these that help curb the stigma surrounding it. :)


    1. Thanks for your comment Shannon - depression can be so lonely but if you have good people around you that really helps. Thank you! :) xx

  2. I think the answer to this is you can only ever really understand, if you've had it yourself and even then, everyone's experience is different. I think it's so important to just keep sharing, like you do, in hope that the stigma and misunderstanding is reduced xxx

    Sam // Samantha Betteridge

    1. Yes that's true. Yeah and hopefully more people will begin to understand that it is an illness! xxx

  3. This post I can empathise with so much - although the family members and friends who know I have depression are very sympathetic, sometimes all I can see on their faces is exasperation and confusion.

    How do you explain to someone that you want to achieve as much as you can in life; you want to be active, eat healthily, be the life and soul of the party, go out and be the best version of yourself - but for some reason that's impossible? That as much as you want to get up when the alarm goes off, there are times when getting out bed feels like the hardest challenge you've faced.

    As you've already said in previous blogposts, depression affects people in very different ways, so even a depressed person can struggle to fully understand how another depressed individual is feeling.

    Best of luck in your exams :)

    The Medic Journal

    1. Exactly, you have summed depression up so well there - it's just a loss of interest in life really. Thank you Kate! :) xx