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On Depression | Blog | William Cody Winter .Com

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On Depression

A blog post where I talk a little about depression and my battle with it. [UPDATED 16/09/2016]
Depression is the invisible illness that is often overlooked by those who do not suffer from it. It can be caused by one's circumstances such as the death of a loved one, living in extreme poverty or like with myself it can be hereditary.

I first started noticeably suffering from depression at the age of around 11, probably triggered by puberty. I was put onto medication for a very short spell, but the doctors didn't like having someone so young on antidepressants so I was taken off of them. However at the age of sixteen it got much worse to the point of holding a knife to my wrist, this event coupled with the fact that my mother had had nervous breakdowns when she was younger and recognised in me the signs that I too was on the brink of one myself, meant that I had to go back on antidepressants.

If you suffer from depression remember you are not alone, 350 million people in the world have it, nearly one in five UK adults and these include faces you may recognise (who have or have had it), such as Hollywood stars Owen Wilson, David Arquette, Gwyneth Paltrow and the British actress Michelle Ryan.

Depression is invisible so people without it don't understand how bad it is, but it can be just as debilitating as a physical illness and now it's not as invisible as it previously was as doctors can now see it with a brain scan, they have found that the part of the brain called the hippocampus physically shrinks when people have depression. The Amygdala also behaves differently with scans showing that the brain of someone with depression exaggerates negative things it sees and experiences.
YET, still with all the physical evidence we now have newspapers are still saying "Depression is the new black" and questioning if depression even exists.

Brain Scan image showing the Amygdala of someone with depression

I stayed on the antidepressants (Venlafaxine) till just before my twenty-ninth birthday when I decided to take it upon myself to stop them. My reason for doing so was that I felt they were making me sleep all hours of the day and I had become very lethargic. Prior to taking the pills I used to walk great distances each day, but once I started taking the medication this slowly stopped and I became sleepy all the time, once even sleeping from 10 PM one day till 10 PM the next, a whole 24 hours. So in short I wanted a chance at having some kind of a life back and also I was more than fed-up of relying on them.

So what has changed off of the pills? Well, it will take time for my sleeping to fully turn around after all those years. However, I do wake earlier and I can get up much easier now. How do I feel mentally? As I probably always will, since I suffer from hereditary depression, nothing is ever good enough for me, no matter what changes, no matter what I do. Sometimes I feel like I am I the fattest, ugliest man in the world. Sometimes I feel like I have wasted my entire life and accomplished nothing, yet at the same time I know I did four years of college and three of university (graduating with a BA with Honours), which is something not everyone can say. I will be thirty before too long and yet I am unmarried, (as pathetic as it may sound) something I have dreamt of since I was a teenager. But at least these are my own thoughts, not something clouded by medication and at least I'm awake.

Thanks for reading, I hope this post helps anyone else in similar circumstances.

NHS On Depression:
MIND Mental Health Charity:
Digital Spy on Michelle Ryan's Depression:
BBC backs troubled EastEnders' star:
Mental Health Daily on Owen Wilson’s Suicide Attempt:
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