NAME: Jessica Taylor
OCCUPATION: Studying Clinical Psychology at the University of Lincoln*
“I think I’ve had depression since my early teens, but I always put it down to my hormones and just being a typical moody teenager. I’d often find that the smallest things would upset and offend me, even things that were intended as a joke. I remember telling my parents once that I thought there was something wrong with me because no matter what I did I just couldn’t cheer up, I’d just be miserable all the time. My dad told me to go and buy myself something and stop worrying so much and I’d be ok. I never mentioned it again and I seemed to have days where I wouldn’t feel so bad. This made me think I definitely didn’t have anything like depression as if you have depression you’re supposed to feel down all the time, right?
I moved to university a year or so later and it was only then that I realised I had depression. I felt so lonely and I missed home. I found I started isolating myself from everyone and kept myself locked away in my room which only made me lonelier. I knew I should have gone to see someone as soon as I started feeling this way again but I was too scared. I didn’t want to be judged or for them to tell me I was just being silly and homesick, so I didn’t go. I also worried about whether having depression would affect my career after university. I started feeling worse and worse until I was crying every day and I started to self-harm. It felt so scary, I study clinical psychology so learn all about depression and self-harm, I never thought I would ever think about harming myself. I eventually went to the doctors and spoke to someone about how I was feeling. She gave me antidepressants and they started working pretty soon. After just a couple of months I started feeling so much better and it felt so good to just feel happy again, it felt like such an extreme emotion because it was something I hadn’t felt in such a long time. However, because the anti-depressants kicked in so soon I didn’t think that I really needed them, that they were just a placebo and that it was just the idea that they would work that made me feel better. I decided to come off them to see how I got on. It didn’t take long for the depression to take its hold over me again and before I knew it I was feeling very low. The depression paired with the stress of uni work made me feel worse than ever. The self-harm became worse and I even had thoughts of suicide because I couldn’t get through the day without crying.
I went home for Christmas and found things didn’t improve, I was causing arguments within my family because of the low moods and they couldn’t understand why I was being like I was, they had no idea how I was feeling. It got to the point where I ended up screaming at my mum and telling her exactly what was going on, it made her so upset that she didn’t know what was going on before. After that, they all started acting a little differently which I told them not to, I hate it when people feel like they have to be a certain way around you just because you have depression, it’s not their fault and they mean well but I just want everyone to be normal around me. As soon as I came back to uni I made an appointment to see the doctor and am now back on antidepressants. I won’t say that I feel wonderful all the time now, because I don’t. Depression is a daily battle that I deal with every day, but I’ve learnt what my triggers are, and how to deal with the low moods and I now have more good days than bad. I have wonderful friends and family who have been an amazing support and I don’t know what I would have done without them. I was worried about telling them what I was going through, but they were all such a brilliant support to me and I’m glad I spoke out about it.
I guess I decided to take part in this wonderful project because at one point I didn’t think things would improve, and now I realize that I don’t have to let depression take over my life. Speaking out was the best thing I could have ever done, and if there is anyone that thinks they may have depression my advice would be to speak to someone you trust, or a doctor, because things do get better.”
Inspired by Jessica’s story? Leave a comment below!
* Correct at the time of submission.