I received a lot of positive feedback to my last blog post about how my depression affects my relationship with my Husband. It was interesting to read messages from people who hadn’t considered how my marriage would be affected, and from others who could see both sides of the situation. It was also great for my long suffering Hubby to be able to see he’s not alone in having to put up with all he does. Thank you to all who contacted us both. I was, however, surprised by the number of comments which went along the lines of “I didn’t know being sad would have such an impact on those around you”. Depression isn’t just being sad, it goes so much deeper than that.

There are many times in my life I’ve felt sadness, as everyone can say they have done. My youngest being diagnosed with all her medical problems, my Grandad dying, Robbie leaving Take That…. All events which have caused a range of emotions and various levels of sadness but none of which I could ever say made me feel depressed.

So what’s the difference? Personally, I think sadness is a passing feeling, it is sometimes painful and it can make it difficult to think straight in that moment, but whilst the event that made me feel that way might always be remembered, it doesn’t rule my life.

My own experience of depression is totally different. The feeling of a heavy weight crushing me. Not being able to join in with life. Irrational fear. Massively raised anxiety levels. Racing heart. No sleep for nights on end. Tears falling without warning, often for no reason. Getting upset over the daftest of things. Being unable to feel the love of my family. Shutting myself off from friends. Not feeling capable of even sending a text message. Not being able to face going outside my house. Worrying over everything and convincing myself that things I have no control over are all my fault. Taking everything so personally – everyone hates me. Total exhaustion. No appetite. Inability to verbally string a sensible sentence together. Suicidal thoughts which are strong, genuine and terrifyingly real. Truly believing there is no future, no end in sight, no hope.

When the darkness is at its worst, it’s like I’m drowning in it. Suffocating in an invisible cloud and as much as I feel like I’m kicking and screaming, it’s like being trapped in a glass cage, you know the type of glass where you can see out but no one can see in. I want to get out but I’m not strong enough to break through on my own. It seems like everyone is walking past, getting on with their lives and oblivious to my desperate pleas for someone to just reach out, take my hand and help pull me to safety. I so want to join a world where there’s laughter, love and light.

Sadness is an emotion, depression is an illness. I’m not sad, I’m depressed, and with every breath I am fighting to survive.

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