From Louisa

Dear You, 

 

I will try to keep this short, as I know how much effort it takes just to keep going in the depths of depression.

 

I know you may feel that there is no way out, and that the people in your life, your family and friends, would be better off without you. Please believe me when I tell you, promise you, that this is not true.

 

I know you are exhausted by just keeping going, and how hard it is just to get out of bed. I have been where you are right now. Just concentrate on getting through one day at a time. When I was very ill, I just took a few minutes at a time. Give yourself credit for the fact that you have survived.

Depression is an illness. You are very ill right now, but you will get better.  You are not alone, and you are not a bad person. Your mind may be telling you that you are both of these things, but that is a symptom. I know how much pain you are in, but you will not always feel like this.

 

For me, it has taken time, medication, talking, a lot of support, a lot of rest, and a lot of hugs. In my case, my depression was made harder by having physical health problems as well. Try to look after both your physical and mental health. If you are exhausted and your body is telling you to sleep, listen to it.

 

Do not be afraid or ashamed of needing help, reaching out for it, or of needing medication, or of taking time out to rest. I know the feelings of guilt and shame, and worthessness, but try to remember that these are symptoms. 

 

I hope the people around you are are understanding regarding depression. But if they are not, and they tell you anything that is ignorant, insensitive, cruel or abusive, please ignore them, and focus instead on the people who do understand and who love and support you. I have been on the receiving end of this kind of abuse myself, so I know how much it hurts. But if this happens to you, please ignore it, and focus on the people who love you and support you.

 

I know the feeling of crying and not being able to stop, and I also know the feeling of wanting to cry but not being able to. You feel like if you could cry, it would be a relief because you would feel better. You are not alone. For me, like some of the people who have written these letters, depression is something I may always have to watch out for. But also remember that you are not your illness, and your illness is not you. It is not who you are. You are so much more than a label.

 

Do not believe the lies that depression tells you. I am walking right beside you, and so are every one of the people who have written these letters. One of the things that has helped me is being able to talk, and hugs. Medication, time and rest all help, but so does knowing you are not alone. Spend time with the people you love the most, and who love you.

 

You are enough, just as you are. You are brave, you are strong, and you will get through this. I know it may not seem like it right now, and it is hard to believe, but you will get better. I promise.

 

With all my love

 

Louisa