Thursday, 11 February 2016

Why do I have to consider my depression all the time?

It can seem like I am having an amazing week, that my mood is great and I'm actually feeling happy, but I still have to consider that thing looming over me when I am making decisions: my depression.

When I have to make major decisions, such as where I am going to live next year, I have to consider how I may be feeling, and how others may feel about living with me. The thing about admitting that you have depression is that people tend to worry about how you may be around them - there's a stigma that depressed people are down all the time, that they can't be fun to be around, and can never be happy. People with mental illnesses can also be seen as a bit of a burden; more trouble than they are worth. But I guess that reflects more on the person that has those beliefs, rather than the person with the illness.

But the truth is, I am happy most of the time. I will sometimes go through lower periods in my life, and the last one for me was just after Christmas, but actually I often just need a cuddle and a couple of days in bed to recharge. Most days I'm smiling, laughing, and generally being a bit silly.

I even had to talk to the girls I'm going on my elective with in the summer about my depression (we're going abroad for a few weeks to practise medicine in a different healthcare setting). I felt that I needed to check with them that they were okay going with me, and that they would be alright if I felt I just needed a day in bed while we are away. I find it really annoying that I have to consider my illness in whatever future decisions I decide to make.

I also know that my depression does affect the people around me. When I have a really down few days, it upsets my friends and family to see me like that, and I understand that I am probably a bit difficult to be around as I can be a little irrational. It also makes me question my relationships and whether people actually want to be around me or not, and I often think that I am a burden, which in turn can influence my decisions when I am not feeling very well.

I guess, like any other long-term condition, my depression is just something that I have to consider when making decisions about the future. However I'm hoping that, as I am getting progressively better, that I will have to think about my illness less and less.

I hope that my friends and those around me see the real me, and not the 'depressive'. My depression doesn't define me, and I hope that my writing on my blog shows that. I am a medical student, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. I am kind, compassionate and a good listener. I like being creative and writing and reading. I like to eat and dance around the house, and I love spontaneous plans. I have a passion for animals and photography. That's the real me - not my depression.
Let people do what they need to do to make them happy, mind your own business, and do what you need to do to make you happy.

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