Losing my dad hit me hard but I didn’t quite realise the severity of it until I waved goodbye to my friend at the station the Friday after his funeral. As I made my way through the centre I heard the intro to the Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman song and I broke. As city workers and children walked past me I stood there crying, with tears streaming down my face I felt my world crumble, I was lost…. in a world without my dad.
At the time I assumed all of my emotions were stages of grief, I later discovered my grief had culminated in a depression. Reactive depression to be specific.
Reactive depression is depression that is caused “in reaction to” an external event or circumstance.
When the doctor first told me I had reactive depression I assumed it would go away quite quickly, in my naivety I thought once it had a name it would be easier to deal with. But unfortunately, I found it harder, like a weight had been added to my shoulders. Where now there was a diagnosis, also sat a stigma.
Up until now, I have only talked about my diagnosis with my family, some friends and my old employer, I let the stigma stop me from sharing. Then I sat and watched Amelia (xameliax) talk about depression on YouTube and I realised that by not sharing I was enabling the stigma.
People shouldn’t frown upon mental health issues and they certainly shouldn’t be afraid to talk about them
Did you know:
- In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a ‘common’ mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week
- In the UK alone, 1 in 4 people will face a mental health issue in any given year,
My depression and I don’t battle, I prefer to think of it as a journey we take together. I say this because it travels with me even on days when I wish I had left it at home, it is sat at the back of my mind waiting for the right moment to make its entrance.
It is now ten months after saying goodbye to my dad, I still find every day an emotional rollercoaster. Some mornings I wake up and I feel like I can take on the world and other days I want to burst into tears. If I am really honest, even on good days a dark cloud can enter and change my mood completely. It can be something as simple as a throwaway comment from someone to some news that I wish I could tell him.
Adam and I are in the process of buying a house on a new development. We fell in love with it from the moment we visited the show home. As much as I am excited about living with himand enjoying planning the fixtures and fittings together, I can’t help but find the moment tinged with sadness that my dad isn’t here to share this moment with us.
However, the harsh reality is that this is how my life is now, with every happy moment there will be an element of sadness that he won’t be here to share in it.
So many emotions
I think there is a misconception with depression, that people assume you sit around and cry all day. Yes, I do have days where I am teary and then end up bursting into tears at the smallest thing. Other days I feel numb, it feels like I’m witnessing my life play out but I’m not the one living it. And then, then there are the days I live for, the ones where I can laugh and talk and enjoy the moment, all whilst remembering how my dad loved life and how he fought to spend longer with us and not waste a second.
However, there is a guilt that comes with that thought, my dad loved life and I know he would hate that I feel this way but I honestly don’t know how to change how I feel.
To assist my journey I am prescribed medication and I am also undergoing CBT, the aim of this is to allow me to see that my thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are interconnected and that negative thoughts and feelings can create a vicious cycle. For me, the end goal is to be medication free and able to handle my thought process in a better way. I want to have the love for life that my dad did.
There will never be a day where I don’t miss my dad but I know that I need to find a way to make my journey a happier one, one that my parents, my boyfriend and most importantly…. I will be proud of.
I just need to work out how!