About the Make a Ripple campaign

This series of blog posts are part of the See Change Make a Ripple campaign, an initiative to help end the stigma of mental health problems by sharing experiences and building public understanding. If you’d like to tell your story, you can visit the Make a Ripple stories portal. If you’d like to write a longer piece like the one below, you can contact a member of the See Change campaign team or on 01 8601620

Paul’s Story

I accept I’m suffering from depression. My heart and mind at war with each other long into the night.  If you had told me a year ago or even 6 months ago the situation id be in now id have openly scoffed at you . It is not something I ever thought I’d be struck down with or would affect me and those around me so grievously.


My depression was a direct consequence of a cancer diagnosis. The more i thought long into the night about my diagnosis the more angry and stressed out i got.


I awoke one night i was just laying there and i began to feel the full weight of every emotion i was trying to control pressing on my chest… i broke down, every bad experience that had ever happened to me in my life just exploded out of me. I cried and weeped for what seemed like hours. My eyes hurt and stung from crying so much. I didn’t understand what was happening to me. I felt wronged somehow, i felt sorry for myself, I just felt robbed and part of me still does…The sense of sadness and loss i feel is overwhelming sometimes. It just feels nothing in the world makes sense.


Whats worse than you feeling unsure of yourself ? Is when other people start to doubt you , the people close to you friends  , family , colleagues start to treat you different the moment they realize that your not just feeling down and it’ll pass after a bit of rest and recreation but its full blown depression. That mixed look of pity and concern. They ask questions like “oh are you sure” “do you really think that’s best”.


You may give an opinion on a issue and it will be politely listened to but eventually dismissed for some reason or another because ….. “well sure he has depression sure he’s not himself.”  They double think everything that comes out of your mouth because of it. Depression is not about thinking right or wrong its about feeling and emotions from a chemical imbalance in the brain  that controls these emotions. Your no less capable of doing your work normally or playing a rugby match or socializing normally , its just sometimes you feel utterly worthless and shit. But It don’t make you any less of a person.


Depression is many things it is being tired and not being able to sleep , it is the mistakes you make that are magnified in your own mind a thousand fold , it is feeling alone and unloved for no apparent reason it is many things , but the one thing it is not is contagious.  A lot of people don’t realize that depression is an illness. I don’t wish it on anyone, if one were to know how it fees,  people would think twice before coming out with ill-informed comments.


I am by product of the celtic tiger macho bullshit that gripped the male population of Ireland in recent years , who flashed the most cash even if they didn’t have it , who was the toughest bastard on the pitch , who had the prettiest girl on their arms etc …Depression was rarely spoken about , it may have been whispered in hushed tones that such a guy was burnt out from work, or needed a break or some time out , all euphemisms for someone suffering from depression.


It was swept under the rug…..It still is , for all our so spoken of new found modesty and frugality and trying to become a kinder more caring nation , for someone to admit they have depression is like announcing to the world you have leprosy and in Ireland the stigma attached to it is at times heinous.


Personally , i was getting told “your not yourself” ,” your not capable of making the right decisions ” or the one that keeps get said to me by almost everyone is ,” i don’t know who i am talking to anymore ” . All I’m short is being force fed and having a nappy put on me. That’s the way we treat people in Ireland with depression , like social outcasts that have nothing to offer society because they are sad or feeling down that they are incapable of rational and informed decisions.


Shall i tell ye who depression sufferers are  , they are your brothers , sisters , mothers . Fathers and lovers , They are your friend , They are the  people that fought battles on your behalf sometimes physical other times verbal , They are the people that were there at your birthdays , weddings , some of you they nursed  through break ups , others they introduced ye to your wives and husbands , They laughed , joked and partied with you through the years. They were your confessor in the tough times and the friend when you needed it.


What im trying to say is because someone has depression it  don’t mean they love or care for you any less. The essence of who that person is remains it’s just now they are ill and need treatment as one would treat , cancer , a broken leg  or any other physical medical condition.


My own depression sometimes makes me feel worthless , sometimes so many tears running down my face i am asking what is happining to me ? I used to be so strong , I cant seem to speak my mind or make you understand. It has made me feel unloved and not wanted  , and being honest i have felt at times that there is no point because i have nothing to offer the world.


They are quite frankly the most god awful emotions i have ever felt.  That’s what depression does it plays with your emotions and it is horrible and believe me , i have never felt so alone or isolated as i do when overwhelmed with these emotions.


My depression is at times worse than cancer , because most people with cancer feel they have bonds , feel loved and and have self esteem.


So tell me why is it when i told people i was physically sick there was no shortage of comfort, wisdom love and support…


But when i told them how depressed i was , Those I love  didn’t know how to treat me…….


Break the stigma of mental health now !


If you’ve been affected by any of the issues in Paul’s story, or if you need to speak with someone, click through for a list of organisationsthat can help

See Change understands that there are many perspectives on mental health problems and the experience of being unwell. See Change encourages the publication of material that promotes understanding of mental health problems, the experience of being unwell, and recovery. The opinions expressed by contributors to the Make a Ripple campaign are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of See Change.

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