Wednesday, 30 January 2013

How are you

I recently discovered The Recovery Letters, a really good idea for a blog. The concept is that people recovering from depression write letters to people who are suffering. I wanted to contribute, so posted the following letter, about opening up and not hiding behind the "I'm OK" mask. Check out the other posts on the blog, it's a a nice format and gives some interesting insights into others' experiences of depression.

Anyway, here's my contribution:

Dear you,

How are you?

Don't just answer “Fine, thanks” or “Not too bad”. I know all of the standard responses you give so you don't upset people. I also know to look for the strained smile, the averted eyes and the other signs that, as much as you might want to honestly explain exactly how you are, you know that the social nicety is to be fine and dandy. I also know how much that false cheeriness can begin to weigh on you, to make you feel trapped in a world you want nothing to do with.

So how are you? Honestly? Let it all out, let me know exactly what's going on in your head. I can guarantee I'll understand a lot of it, and promise that I won't turn away from the parts I don't understand. Or f you don't feel comfortable telling me, an anonymous voice on the internet, then try telling a friend or relative. You'd be surprised how many people share aspects of your experience. Most people don't want to open up and say it but more people than you might think have either been depressed or known someone with depression. When I first opened up and told people I found out that some of the most together people I knew had been through the same thing. You are not alone.

I won't try and convince you that being open about your feelings is a panacea. It isn't. Getting over depression is a long and often painful journey but it can be made a lot easer by sharing it with the right people. You'll never know who can help you if you don't let them know you need help.

How am I? Miles better than I was this time last year. I'm not cured but I know that people will help me if I slip again – as long as I le tthem know when it happens.

Thanks for listening,

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