Depression not only affects those who are directly diagnosed with the disease it but also can have a devastating impact on those who have to stand by and watch the people they love battle with the black dog.
One brave woman recently reached out to her husband with an open letter about what she called a “killer” illness that can devastate her for months on end.
Becci Nicholls – who is from the West Midlands in the UK – was candid about the crippling condition that can force her to become house bound for weeks, without even the will to wash her hair.
In the letter the mum-of-two apologies to her husband and acknowledges how he supports her through her darkest days.
Becci says she penned the open letter – which first appeared on site Swords and Snoodles – because she wanted to give an “insight into the chaotic and irrational thought processes that accompany depression”.
Below is Becci’s letter in full:
I love you dearly, more than anything in this whole world, I think you already know this. I know you love me too, I just forget sometimes. Depression clouds my mind, it fills me with horrid thoughts about how unlovable I am, and how worthless I am. Sometimes I believe you, sometimes I believe depression.
I know you prefer the good days when I am happy and not anxious or snappy, and I wish I could have these days everyday, but I can’t. I feel the cloud approaching, and it petrifies me. Sometimes I tell you, and sometimes I don’t. Please if you notice the cloud before I tell you just hug me tight and tell me we will fight the cloud together. Please don’t ask me if I am OK, my automatic answer will be yes when in reality it is a big NO. Depression makes you feel ashamed you see.
I know sometimes I overreact to the smallest thing and get angry, but please be patient with me. Forgetting the bread will not be the real reason, feeling like I am losing control over my mind will be the reason. Depression is very clever you see – it builds up a wall of anger piece by piece, and you never notice it until it’s so big it begins to topple over. I am sorry you get the brunt of my anger on cloudy days. Please forgive me. Please. Just tell me you love me and leave me to calm down.
I know it is hard to help somebody through depression if you have never experienced it yourself. I understand. I totally get it. Just love me through it, listen to me, ask about the cloudy days. I can’t just bring it up in conversation. Depression clouds your mind. I need you to break the silence.
There will be lots of times when I feel like you would be better off without me, that my children deserve a better momma. Sometimes I will tell you. Most of the time I will not. Sometimes I can go for months without those thoughts crossing my mind, and other times I think about them every second of every day for weeks. That is the scary truth. It’s the first thought that runs through my head a lot. Depression is vile, a vile nasty monster. Please always keep an eye on me, but also know that no matter how many times you tell me I am worth it I probably won’t believe it on cloudy days – but please never stop telling me. Ever.
I love our children more than anything, but sometimes I feel like a failure. I feel like a rubbish momma. My mind nags me and tells me other mommas do things better, and love better than me. I feel like I always fall short. Please tell me I love them enough. I find it so hard being a momma on cloudy days, but I try so hard to not let them notice the clouds. I hope you know I try.
I haven’t self harmed since February 2010, but the urge often consumes me. When the black cloud is here it consumes my mind. I fight it so hard, I fight for myself, my children, and for you. I know it’s hard to understand why I crave it, I can’t explain it myself if I am totally honest. It’s like an old addiction that comes to hurt me when it smells the dark cloud. One day I hope it won’t ever cross my mind again.
I know I am a nightmare not letting you cuddle me when I am upset, or feeling bombarded by the darkness, but cuddle me anyway, I need it. I pretend to be strong, but you know I am not. Cuddle me again.
I know I don’t talk about these black clouds often, but I want to. I hate the silence it forces me to keep. There is a certain freedom when it comes to talking openly about the monster. Help me find that freedom.
I know sometimes I tell you I don’t want to leave the house. I know you can’t understand but thank you for being understanding. The black cloud blinds my view. It makes simple tasks scary. It invites its friend Mr Anxiety over, and makes my everyday life a worrying place. It makes my heart pound and throat dry. It makes me feel crazy. It’s like the front door has this invisible force field around it. Please know I try. I really do try.
Depression makes me feel tired, exhausted tired. Sometimes the fatigue is so bad I just want to cry. Every bone hurts. This sounds crazy I know, but that’s the reality of it. On tired days please know it’s the monster, not just me feeling tired.
Often I cry, mainly in private. I don’t like letting people see me in a vulnerable state. If I look like I’ve cried just hug me and tell me things will be OK. Don’t ask me the reason, depression is the reason.
Sometimes the clouds take away everything good. Sometimes I don’t want to wash my hair. Bizarre I know, but I know my fellow sufferers will understand the lack of motivation that often consumes us. Tell me to wash my hair!
Sometimes I lay awake at night and worry about things that won’t even happen, squeeze my hand tight if you’re awake too.
Sometimes it takes every bit of motivation to even get up in the morning, but I never let you in on this. A new day often scares me. I wonder will I cope? Will the sky be blue or black? Is the weather nice? The weather really effects my feelings and I do not know why! Every single morning is hard, but seeing you makes it easier.
I want to publicly thank you for loving me and supporting me. You are the best.
Yours forever x
There! I wrote it. I hope this helps someone out there, it’s helped me. There is freedom in the truth.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression contact SANE on 1800 18 SANE (7263) for helpful information. If you feel like there is some immediate danger please call 000.
VIDEO: 'I Quit Sugar' founder Sarah Wilson says the worst thing you can do to an anxious person is tell them to calm down.
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