Dracula Diaries Part2

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My body is tired and my eyes are heavy. However, the sun is rising and the day is beginning.

The entire day I’m barely awake, barely alive. I’m going through the motions because I lack the energy to interact with the world. The depression alone is depressing.

As soon as I put my head on my pillow and close my eyes, the stresses of my current situation flood my mind. My mind starts racing and pacing, starting the cycle all over again.

Dracula Diaries

In the beginning of 2016, I had just gotten a new job in a province away from home. I had successfully completed my honours degree the year before. Everything seemed to be going great. I was adjusting from being a student to a full time employee.

However, one day, I woke up and my life had changed.

Now I’m suffering with chronic depression, anxiety disorder and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When I started this blog, I felt optimistic about my recovery. I was hoping I could help someone who was going through a similar journey. Now I’m having trouble sleeping at night. I toss and turn. My brain is constantly thinking, buzzing. Those few moments I do get to sleep, I end up having nightmares about the person involved in my trauma. By the time, the sun rises, my body is exhausted from the lack of proper sleep, making it hard for me to function during the day. Leaving me depressed and feeling like Dracula.

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I won’t lie, I’ve made some strides in dealing with the PTSD through the help of professional help, family and close friends. I’ve even started drawing again to distract myself. There were times when I would completely forget events, randomly lose my balance, suffer from insomnia. I went for CT scans and did an EEG. It was scary. Now I don’t tense up at the smallest of reminders of my trauma. However, there are still those triggers that retraumatise me. They open up old wounds. I thought by talking about it often enough that I’d have come to terms with it but I still haven’t. It still haunts me.

For me, life has become a cycle. There are moments where I’m in fine. I can laugh and joke with people. I feel hopeful. Then, in the middle of that laughter, depression sneak up on you or something/someone triggers the trauma. Being in that negative cycle feels like living in Hell. Each day feels too long and gloomy. You feel trapped, as if things will remain the same. You start becoming physically sick.

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This is why I’ve passionately become an advocate for mental health awareness because I’m speaking from experience. I know how hard it can be. I know how hard it can be to speak up because you feel like you’re going to start boring people with your problems, or that they won’t understand.

 

Depression

Depression: /dɪˈprɛʃ(ə)n/ feelings of severe despondency and rejection.

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So many people have tossed around the phrase, “I’m depressed” or “this is so depressing” without understanding how it really affects those suffering with depression. This has made people take depression lightly, when it’s a serious mental health disorder.

It’s been seven months since I’ve been diagnosed with chronic depression and PTSD. I’ve been admitted twice at a psychiatric hospital because it’s been extremely difficult. You tell people that you’re depressed and the usual responses are “life is not that deep”, “just pray about it and you’ll be fine”, “we all have problems, we just deal with them”. Others think it’s a phase, you’re seeking attention, that you’re allowing yourself to be depressed.

Imagine how isolated the person with the depression is. No one to talk to because no one will take them seriously. I can tell you now, no one who truly is suffering with depression would want to stay that way. You start feeling like it’s all in your head. It makes you feel even more depressed. You end up sinking into a deep negative space that it affects your physical, spiritual and emotional health.

“Your mental health is important”

It also becomes tricky in the work environment because you feel like your employers will start undermining everything you do, automatically assuming that you’re not capable of working. To compensate, employees hide their diagnosis and overwork themselves so that their work ethic doesn’t come into question. You become so exhausted and eventually unhappy at work because you’re constantly trying to prove your worth. Again, spiralling deep into depression which could lead to suicide or other self-destructive actions.So this is why I emphasise, if you feel like you’re depressed. Seek help. Don’t suffer in silence. Understand the symptoms and know that you might not experience all of them. Take charge of your health. Remember that your mental health is important. If you don’t have medical aid, look for psychologists and psychiatrists at your local clinics. There are online platforms as well, such as

* @MentalWealthZA on Twitter,

* http://www.sadag.org (or call +27800121314)

* Suicide crisis line +27800567567

*http://http://www.anxietysocialnet.com/depression-support-group

* Adcock Ingram Depression and Anxiety Helpline +27800708090

to help you understand and manage your disorder (s). Once you’ve seeked professional help, the journey still won’t be easy but it’ll be worth it. The antidepressants, mood stabilisers, sleeping tablets won’t be a quick fix. Don’t rush yourself. I’ve been on them for seven months and I still have my episodes but it’s a lot better. You’ll discuss this with your psychiatrist.

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For those who know or suspect someone might be depressed. Reach out to them. Help them find the professional help they need. They really need your support, not judgment. I know some of the people who you think might be depressed might be in denial but don’t give up on them. They still need you.

World Mental Health Day – 10 October