Depression awareness week.

Depression Awareness Week was held between the 18th and 24th of April this year and ultimately it is to raise awareness about depression, get people talking about the issue and try to break the stigma that surrounds mental health.

What is depression?

In all honesty I think depression is a thing that so many people don't understand even though it apparently affects 1 in 4 people.  The definition of depression is 'feelings of severe despondency and dejection.' but I really like the description that the Depression Alliance website gives: 

"There are times when we all feel sad, hopeless, or fed up; it's part of life.  Depression is different.  With depression these feelings don't just go away.  They can last for months, becoming so intense that carrying on with everyday life can become impossible."

I guess because it's not a physical problem people don't recognise it so often or don't believe it's really an issue.  But it is.  Depression is a real issue that is becoming more common and can effect anyone.  Actually someone you know could be suffering with it and you might not even know about it.  There's many different types of depression; post-natal, clinical, manic (which is bipolar) and so on.  There are also many causes for depression such as life events, loss, childhood experiences, anger, stress and even genetics.  

Despite the fact that it is not a physical ailment there are many different symptoms too which varies from person to person and is not just caused by the obvious symptom being the feeling of persistent sadness.   There are more such as tiredness, numbness, a desire to isolate yourself, feeling guilty for no reason and feeling hopeless - and at the extreme thoughts of suicide.  But there are some physical symptoms such as aches and pains and even self-harming.  If you suffer from any of these then I would seriously recommend talking to someone, your doctor, a close family member or friend, anyone.  It's a serious issue and at it's most extreme it can be very dangerous for the sufferer.  There's a whole wealth of information online about what depression is, why people suffer from it and what the symptoms are and I guess it's useful to check them out (some links are at the end of this post).

What is the issue?

In today's society when depression is becoming more relevant and affects so many people why is there a need to raise awareness?  Shouldn't there already be some?  Not only that why is there still a stigma surrounding the isssue?  Especially since it literally can effect anyone it shouldn't be something we don't talk about and hide from.  Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it's not there.

What's worse is why are people ashamed to admit that they suffer from this mental health issue?
  • they're maybe afraid of judgment
  • they might view it as a weakness or be scared that they are sick because they are weak
  • they may be afraid of ignorant comments - it's just a rough patch you'll get over it, be more positive no wonder you feel down all the time, if you're sad do something about it etc etc.
It's sad that people have to suffer even more because of these reasons.  I mean I was on anti-depressants last year because of my personal situation I was struggling and couldn't cope which caused me some sort of anxiety.  To begin with I didn't want to even admit there was anything wrong with me but during that stage in my life I couldn't afford to be unwell physically or mentally and had to go and talk to the doctors.  Even when they prescribed me some anti-depressants I was scared to tell people so I only told a few close people.  I felt so weak and for someone who has always been so strong-minded it was a real blow; I was ashamed of myself.  

But it helped me through that difficult patch, I don't take them anymore and looking back on it I don't regret asking for help.  Not only that why should I feel ashamed?  It's not weak to need help, in fact I believe the bravest thing is to admit you're not coping and open up to someone and ask them for help.  

It just confuses me why there still is a stigma surrounding mental health and how there still is a need to raise awareness about the issue?  We need to start talking about it, stop judging and start listening to those who probably need help.  I mean who knows who is effected by this issue, it could be someone you know and love. 

Look after yourselves, and as always,

Love, Lauren x

The power of the simple: part 3.

Good morning my lovelies,

I've decided to make 'the power of the simple' a sort of series in my blog, and so this third post is about spontaneity.  Life seems to get a bit repetitive and boring I think; you end up doing the same old thing day-in day-out.  You don't really take advantage of the time you have or the opportunities you are given, so doing anything out of the norm can be good for you... even something so simple!

Last week one of my old friends messaged me after I posted on Facebook about my break from blogging and after chatting we decided since we both had days off we would meet up for some lunch.  I love spontaneous lunch dates and catching up with people you haven't seen in what feels like forever, so I was already pretty excited about meeting up.  However, once we met up my friend suggested we go somewhere different other than Elgin - she said we should just get on the next bus and see where we end up.  So off we went to the bus station and the next bus we could get would take us to Fochabers which meant we could go to Baxters for lunch!  

Okay, so Fochabers isn't exactly far from Elgin and we've both been to Baxters before but it was such a nice feeling just to get away and go somewhere different for a change; we went on a wee adventure!  It was such a beautiful day for a change, the sun was shinning, we were sat outside eating some good food and having a decent catch up before having a wander around the shops and the River Spey before heading back home.  Not only that my boyfriend messaged me asking if I wanted to go for a walk so he met me off the bus and we went for a nice wander and he had a blanket and juice and everything so we could just sit and enjoy the sunshine.  It was pretty cute!

For me this day was perfect: catching up with old friends, doing something different and then spending the rest of the day relaxing with my boyfriend.  And doing something so spontaneous such as going somewhere different is actually so refreshing and so much better than wasting a beautiful day off doing the same old.  It really is the simple things in life that are the best.  So next time you have a day off and seem to be at a loose end, find a partner go on an adventure (it doesn't matter where) and just do something new - create some memories.  Who knew something so simple would do you so much good. 

As always,

Love, Lauren x