Read the previous Portrait of Depression post here.
Today we’re talking to Laura from laurajdavisblog.com.
My name is Laura, I’m 20, and a Psychology student. I write a mental health blog over at laurajdavisblog.com. I love music, reading and spicy foods, but I really don’t like mental health stigmas! When I was 12, I performed in London’s West End where I sang and danced!
When did you first realise you had depression?
At my diagnosis really! I was diagnosed with depression (and anxiety) in June 2016. Before then, I never really noticed myself struggling or feeling unhappy, so when I was diagnosed, it all linked together.
Did diagnosis help or hinder you?
Diagnosis itself has helped me, because then I don’t need to be annoyed at myself when I can’t do certain things!
Describe your depression.
My depression is temperamental. I have what’s known as ‘high functioning depression’. This means that I can cope normally with day-to-day tasks such as getting up early, getting dressed and attending university. In the past, my depression has lead me to having suicidal thoughts. Also, my depression can stop me from wanting to go to social events and be confronted by lots of people.
What impact has having depression had on your life?
Early in the year it had quite a lot of impact. When I was studying at another university in the north of the country (which I left due to the mental health issues!) I found that I didn’t want to get up for lectures, I never wanted to socialise with anyone else other than my boyfriend, and I didn’t want to go outside of uni to explore, which was very unlike me. Nowadays, it hits me after a long and exhaustive day, where I may go home and cry and feel empty inside for hours. I also will want to sleep for as long as possible.
What has/hasn’t helped?
My anti-depressants have been AMAZING with helping me deal with day-to-day symptoms of depression. They allow me to have high-functioning depression unlike before, which has its benefits as it means I can achieve my long-term and short-term goals such as getting a degree and doing exercise!
In terms with what hasn’t helped, I’d have to say the pressure I put on myself. Because I have high-functioning depression, I often forget I have depression, pile on the pressure, and then I’ll have a two-day breakdown where I don’t leave the house.
Have you had to deal with stigma?
Yes. An ex-boyfriend of mine, and the reason we split up, was so horrible. He would call me boring, say I have no life and that I’m being ridiculous. It was so difficult for me and I started to hate myself for having depression and thinking, ‘why me?’
What would you like to tell someone going through depression?
I know that you feel like no one understands what you’re going through, but I promise you that they do. Unfortunately, more people have depression than you might think. Also, you’re not alone. I’d highly advise you to talk to a friend or family member about how you feel and have someone to talk to in your low points if you need someone. And it doesn’t need to be someone you’ve met, Twitter is one of the best ways I’ve met people who do care and support me through my tough times. So reach out, have faith, and don’t give up!
And what would you like to tell someone who doesn’t know anything about it?
Learn about depression in any way you can. I’d say by looking on the NHS is a good place to start! If a friend or family member comes to you for help with their depression, it is fine to ask questions about it to gain a better understanding, but try as hard as you can not to be judgemental; just because you don’t understand what they’re going through, doesn’t mean it isn’t real.
Yes! I just want to thank Rachel for letting me conduct this interview, I’m really grateful for this opportunity to raise awareness and tell my personal experience of depression. Also, many thanks to the mental health community on Twitter for making me feel loved, cared for, and needed.