Open Letter To Family & Friends With Loved Ones Who Have Depression

This is the deepest and most honest I will get with you on my timeline. You see, most of you think I either lie about my depression for attention or that I have magically recovered because when I post something it’s always positive and happy. I do this because no one likes to hear me talk about my depression and anxiety disorders. Because when I do people tend to become distant or even disappear completely. I’ve had people tell me that they are my friend yet those same people never reach out to me and never talk to me unless I talk to them first. I have had people tell me that I can talk to them if I need to but when I do they seem to get tired of it and stop responding. So much for that story!?! I have also had certain “family” members not bother to reach out to me at all knowing full well that I am struggling with this debilitating disease. Once again not bothering to talk to me unless I talk to them first. And these are people that are supposed to care about you. What most people don’t understand is that when you have depression you DO need people to reach out to you and to keep asking how you are doing and making you understand that they care. It is NOT going to just go away if you ignore it. It is not just a phase of sadness or seasonal depression. It is not attention seeking. I can honestly understand why people don’t talk to their friends and family about this because of this reason. When they decide to leave this earth they are seen as being selfish because they don’t see how their choice will hurt those left behind. But did those people ever think about how ignoring their loved ones is hurting them while they are struggling with depression?!? And let me tell you something from the bottom of my heart real quick. If it weren’t for my brother and sister I would not still be here. There are some people that think people like me should not discuss my personal depression and other mental health issues on a platform like Facebook, but from the point of view of someone in this black void of depression that is extremely hard to get out of, Facebook is a great platform for sharing my stories and raising awareness and standing up for those who feel they don’t have a voice and that no one cares. I haven’t even scratched the surface yet. You want to know the truth? Well here’s your truth:- I have been struggling with severe clinical depression and insomnia for the last two years. But you see, what you don’t know is that I had high functioning depression for years before this. I grew up with two separate anxiety disorders and never got help for them because no one ever believed me when I tried to tell them about it and was always told I was attention seeking. Social anxiety disorder, not to be confused with social phobia, is a personality disorder which is the product of being born with an amygdala that is not functioning properly. I have always felt like I don’t have a sense of self which has lead me to have identity issues most of my life. I also have generalised anxiety disorder which means I can’t even think about what I am going to have for dinner tomorrow night without constantly ruminating and stressing about it. I struggled with my sexuality for a very long time and have obviously completely come out but being someone with social anxiety disorder and coping with that at the same time is extremely exhausting. My mom was hit in the head by a stray bullet in a drive by shooting when I was ten years old. Five percent survival they said. I won’t go into much detail but she survived BUT her recovery was extremely painful and frustrating and took years. She had to learn how to walk again. She had to learn how to talk again. She had multiple surgeries. She had a speech therapist. They had to leave the bullet in her brain because removing it would have killed her. She developed lifelong epilepsy from her brain injuries. I can’t remember exactly at what age I got my period but it was the worst timing because my mom was not mentally able to be a mother at that time. I didn’t know what to do or how to do it. I never learnt about adolescence and the birds and the bees. I had to just wing it. I wasn’t really bullied in school but I constantly took the fall for the girls who were shit stirrers because they knew I wouldn’t fight back. At the age of 21 I lost my best friend to suicide. It was devastating. I did not even know him for that long but we clicked right away and he got me. He absolutely got me. The amount of guilt I have felt and continue to feel has haunted me for the last 20 years. He called me that night and asked me to come and see him. I told him I was at the bar with friends and Il see maybe we will make a turn later. A few drinks in and I completely forgot about it. The next morning his brains had painted the walls of his parents loft. Maybe, just maybe, if I had been there for him he would not have done it. Even just thinking about it makes my anxiety skyrocket. In my mid twenties I was the subject of online bullying by a group of lesbians that I thought would accept me as one of their own. I was completely wrong!! I was too quiet and not a party animal like they were so as soon as we were no longer face to face and were back online I would get called “the mute” and they would tell me to cut my tongue out if I’m not going to talk anyway. They would tell me that I would always be single and no one would ever love me because I’m a fuck up. I guess they were right about that one?!? A couple of years later I entered into a relationship with someone and fell in love. I moved 700km away to live with her. It was not a long relationship but let me tell you it was the longest year of my life. All I got from that relationship was a fear of intimacy and the inability to trust anyone else again. I was constantly verbally and emotionally abused. I was cheated on multiple times. She was extremely narcissistic and controlling. She got rid of my two kittens because she was jealous of me giving them attention. She hate me talking to my mom. I wasn’t allowed to have friends. I wasn’t allowed to have any kind of social media or be on my phone at all. The fact that we were driving on a busy JHB highway at 120km and her telling me shes going to crash the car and kill both of us was nothing compared to the emotional scars she burned into my soul. Every other relationship I have had since then has failed after a couple of months because I could not give myself fully to that person and my self esteem was held together by a thin thread and any sign of what I perceived to be danger would make me emotionally unstable and would result in me getting dumped. And no it’s not because they were asshole or morons or bad people. I just was not emotion mature enough to handle a grown up relationship thanks to my ex. I also had to look after a sick parent and I mean sick. My mom was diagnosed with COPD as well as an autoimmune disease called Rheumatoid Arthritis at more or less the same time. As I watched her wither away to almost nothing I continued to battle my anxiety disorders, depression, self esteem issues, identity issues and loneliness I also had to do it alone with no help from other family. I left a good job because I could not do it all and it was too much for me to handle. Fast forward no job means no money and no money means no rent. Of course no rent means get the fuck out or I’ll throw you out. We ended up being homeless. And I don’t mean homeless and in sleeping in a nice comfy bed in a house that isn’t mine. I mean homeless as in sleeping in the car homeless. Imagine trying to take care of a sickly parent?!? My mom was in and out of hospitals so much I actually started liking being there because I was around people and mom could at least get food and be warm. I did not care about what happened to me. Fast forward. Mom passed away. I was completely devastated. I am still struggling to cope with her death. I was also diagnosed with complex ptsd a few months before she died. Fast forward. I moved to the UK with the help of a complete stranger and they expected nothing in return. I actually got asked by a family member what I had to do to get the plane ticket. How fucking rude. I did quite okay for the first three years and almost forgot that I was in hell. Unfortunately I left my job because my manager was abusive towards me. You see he thought that me being open about my anxiety to him was a good reason for him to constantly pick on me and make fun of me and berate me in front of customers. He would always blame me for everything that was not done right when it was time for inspection every month. It got to a point where I was so stressed that I stopped serving a customer and walked out and went home. I attempted a business which worked for 3 months then completely flopped. I was a border in someone’s house for those three years and she told me to leave because she didn’t want me at home all the time and let me make it very clear that I had NEVER not paid my rent while I was there and had always paid it on time. I had two weeks to get out and had to get help from the council. Luckily the day I had my appointment with them I had just got a brand new prescription for antidepressant medication and had the box of pills with me in my bag. That is the only reason they decided to help me with a place to stay through a housing association. The medication turned my mild insomnia into a circadian rhythm sleep disorder (google it I dare you). That combined with depression, complex ptsd, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and having the burden of financial strain, my ability to function went from 50% to about 5%. I went for months and months unable to leave the house unless I had to go get something at the shop. I hardly ever showered or ate. I hardly knew what day it was. My memory was slipping. I never cleaned my house. That is what depression does to you. My whole personality changed and I started to become very passive aggressive all the time. I never answered phone calls because I would be up all night and sleep all day. For this reason I lost the only friend I had here. She got frustrated with me having depression and told me to just get over it and get on with things. Okay well I wish I could?!? So yes! You might think I’m attention seeking or that it’s my fault for continuing to make stupid choices that land me in hot water but what you need to understand is how mental health has played a huge role in all of this then maybe you will start to understand why I am where I am and why I need people who say they care about me to be more involved in my life without me constantly feeling alone and not having the kind of support I need. One thing I have started to notice is that within the last couple of months I have really just thought fuck it I am just going to be myself (whoever that is) on social media. It was more of an experiment than anything else. I started to post things that I thought were funny or based on things I like or have some kind of interest in. I also decided to stop being ashamed of being a homosexual and say what I want to say when I want to say it. And what have I noticed?!??? Some people have started to treat me differently or ignore me even more because they don’t approve. But, let me just say that it honestly feels liberating!!! Because I am so tired of people, (whether they are strangers, acquaintances, friends or family) expecting me to always be this timid innocent little girl just so that you can continue to like me and to be what you want me to be. Those days are over my friends. I am getting on a plane in a week and will be spending the next three months getting my mind to reconnect with my soul so that I can be human enough to climb out of the abyss that I am in. So what I want you to take from this is that you should not judge any person struggling from depression. You should always believe when a person tells you how badly they are struggling. And you should show them the love and support that they need. Believe me when I say that I have never felt so alone until I felt my depression get this bad. Luckily my siblings care enough to be there for me. Other people aren’t that lucky👍👍💕💕💔💔💔

Published by Gemini

Welcome to my life! I am just an ordinary girl in the world. I am here to express myself as best I can so that the world has a better understanding of me. My name is Janine. I grew up with social anxiety disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. I have overcome obstacles so high they should have been impossible. I am still here. I am still recovering. I am still learning.

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