I would like to start out by expressing just how deeply grateful I am for having been allowed the opportunity to write on this blog. However I find that I am nervous and unsure as this is my first time writing anything on a blog like this. Nor am I a wordsmith by any measure so I hope that I can deliver as expected.
My name is Ned. I am 26 years old and live in the Dandenong ranges. I recently had my very fist experience with depression. It started about a 3 months ago and lasted for about 2 and a half months. I understand that two and a half months is not a long time nor was the severity of my depression, knowing people with long term depression of a much harsher nature, so I do not mean to come across as being petty or attention seeking. However being the first time that it happened I felt very confused and worried as to why I felt so different all of a sudden. I normally feel as though I could take on the world. Even on my off days I can muster the mental fortitude to discard my worries and carry on with a positive outlook and a smile. But I found that I had lost my ability to do so. That was how it started. I would come home form a difficult day at work and would find that there was no resurfacing. I felt as though I was perpetually flat and no longer had any excitement in my life. I was over everything. All the things I would normally look forward to seemed to no longer interest me. Even the things I didn’t look forward to, such as working on Sundays, I would often be able to march into with a confidence and a ‘get it done and get out alive’ attitude all started to seem too much. I began to feel isolated and alone despite having numerous and close friends. These were all things that I had never felt or experienced before.
Call me naive but I thought that it would never happen to me. I have known enough people and have read enough to know full well that it can happen to anybody. I was well aware of that but here I was conquering life and beating anything that it threw at me so I thought that maybe I could avoid such a beast. Though I imagine that most people thought the same until they had it.
It started after I received my first knock back from the police. I had recently started thinking about a long term career and, having a sister who recently graduated the academy, thought that I, too, could join. I am more than physically capable and am no fool so thought that the exam would at be passable. I even attended a short course focused solely on sitting the entrance exam yet failed by one mark. Upon resitting the exam I failed by two marks. Despite the minuscule numbers it was a real blow to the self esteem. I have never held my self in high regard nor was I ever a self-driven person but I was happy and content with who I am, for the most part. But this really crushed me. All I could look at was all the people who did make it through and not the countless others who were in the same boat as me.
Varied and numerous schools of thought share the belief that it was, in fact, an accumulation of traumatic and internally scarring events that had been bottled up which led to my depression. This is, in all likely hood, true. However it was my failed attempt at joining the force that caused it to start.
I must admit that upon realising that I did have depression I found that I was too embarrassed and scared to talk about it with most people. I was worried what they would think of me or that they might think of me differently. Most people who know me see me as the guy who is always happy and who they can talk too when they need help or advice. And I love being that guy. But I thought that by telling them they would no longer see me that way.
It’s funny now that I think about it. I am always keen and willing to be there for others. To give advice when needed but was too afraid to ask for it when I needed it most. I knew that had to act on it quickly before it anchored.
So I turned to Zoe. This young lady is one of my closest and dearest friends. I could sit here all night and write about how important she is to me and what a pillar she was in helping me through it. As somebody who knows first hand what it’s like trying to live with depression she holds a wealth of knowledge and invaluable experience.
Just to sit there and talk with somebody close such as Zoe and my mother, who has an incredible wisdom of her own, and tell them how I was feeling and what I was thinking was such a massive help in getting past the worst of this depression. It still lingers in the back ground and occasionally comes to the surface but I feel much more in control now.
But I like to remain optimistic about it. I have, in the past, often felt as though I was very limited in what support I can offer to my friends and to Zoe as her friend having never experienced such things. Although she would often reassure me that I was a good help. But now I feel I have grown wiser and stronger from this hellish beast known as depression and can offer much more educated advise and stronger support when needed.
I hope that somebody reading this might take something from it. As I said earlier, my experience may pale by comparison to many others but if it can help someone, somewhere, then I am glad to have shared it.