Tracey's Story.

I have lifelong depression and periods of severe depression. When I’m severely depressed my exposure to other people is very limited. I can’t get out of bed and I can only speak to my daughter and health professionals, I find it impossible to speak to other people.

That level of depression is extreme, it’s very difficult. I can say to my daughter that things are bad, but that is it.

For me it is an emptiness, a complete absence of feeling which means I lack the ability to connect to people and the world around me, it isn’t just a feeling of sadness. And that is difficult for people to understand. You wake up and there is a heavy weight on you that you’re still alive.

I find it really difficult to talk about the depression that I’ve lived with my whole life. People don’t really know what to say and I understand that.

I have positive things that I can put in place that I know are good for me. But that can impact on activities that I’m supposed to be doing.

It is not something that I have found is easy for other people to talk about. I think other people just don’t know what to say. But I understand, depression can be an absence of feeling, and that is hard to talk about.

What really upsets me is the misunderstanding around depression. People don’t understand why I have depression when my life looks okay. There is a misunderstanding that depression is just sadness. It can be, but it isn’t just that, for me it is nothingness and people don’t understand that at all. It would really help when I’m severely unwell if people got that.

Depression is a bastard. It’s difficult when people contact you and ask you out for lunch, and you can’t go, but you can’t explain why in a way they will understand.

There is also an issue that you don’t know what you will feel like the next day, so you make plans then end up cancelling. That can make relationships difficult as people get annoyed and don’t understand. Depression robs you of everything.

The only way to change that misunderstanding is to talk about depression at the right time. I think it’s important that people can share their experiences, so people know depression is different for everyone. It would make a difference to me if people knew that one person’s experience is different to someone else’s.

Depression is really serious, it is not a choice.

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