All of us from time to time will have days when we just can’t find a smile to put on our face. Having a blue day, feeling under the weather, (particularly if that weather is stormy and grey) a bit depressing. Thankfully the majority of the time we find that by the end of the day we have found some way in resolving such matters and are able to wake up the next day with that smile firmly in place.
However, for some people getting up in the morning can become a daily challenge as they feel they can not face the world and in turn find themselves trapped. Such feeling may stem from, problems at work, money worries, relationship difficulties, coming to terms with your sexuality, particularly for those who are LGBT and living in a household that have expressed a dislike for all things “queer”. For others it may be receiving an HIV diagnoses and all the mixed emotions that can be potentially thrown up.
A whole range of negative emotions are likely to fill the mind when life is suddenly thrown off key; these can include heightened feelings of anxiety, guilt, shame, embarrassment, anger, sadness. Feeling such emotional difficulties or mental health problems can be frightening to the person experiencing them. There is also an added feeling of caution of admitting such emotions through fear of being rejected or ridiculed with unhelpful statements like, “Pull yourself together.”
The worst thing to do is to ignore how you are feeling or to try and mask your emotions through drink or recreational drugs. Drowning your sorrows may help for the short term, but once the effects have worn off the problem is still there. For some the problem is made worse by heaping on a pile of guilt for getting so drunk/wasted. This can lead to further feelings of anxiety which only helps in continuing the vicious circle of depression.
The simple fact is that there are times when depression can encapsulate to the degree that the person in the thick of it feels that there is no way out, but this is not the case. The first step in dealing with the problem is to reach out to someone. If the idea of opening up to a friend or family member is not an option there are many organisations that are on hand to help: including the Samaritans, Terrence Higgins Trust and Brighton’s LGBT support group, Mindout
The most important thing to do is not to ignore how you are feeling either because you think it will pass or that you are afraid people will think you are exaggerating how you are feeling or that you are ‘mad. If you are contemplating self harm or suicide call someone you trust, if this is too daunting call your GP who should be able to offer some immediate help during working hours. Your local Accident and Emergency Department are open 24 hours a day where a mental health specialist will be on duty.
If you are having more than a blue day and finding it increasingly difficult to cope, remember, there you are not alone, what you are feeling is not unusual and there is help. If you cannot speak to a friend of family member, call a helpline. For long term help one to one sessions with a therapist or counsellor is extremely helpful in tackling issues that have led to the feeling of depression. If possible try and find a therapist or counsellor through a a personal recommendation or through your GP, clinic or helpline, some of which are listed below.
Further help and information.
A mental health service run by and for lesbians, gay men, bisexual and trans people. Based in Brighton and Hove, advice, information, advocacy and a peer support group programme.
(t) 01273 234839
Terrence Higgins Trust:
A nationwide organization offering advice help and support, including a counselling service, group workshops and online support. (e) www.tht.org.uk (national)www.tht.org.uk/contactus/southeast (southeast) (t) 0808 802 1221 for an adviser or 020 7812 1600 for switchboard. (Brighton Office)01273 764 200
Shaka Servicers: Providing confidential counselling and emotional support on HIV and related issues for people from Africa and the Caribbean communities living with or affected by HIV. (e) www.shakaservicers.org.uk (t) 020 77356744
Saneline: Mental health charity providing support and information by telephone and email (e) wwwsane.org (t) 0845 7678000
Samaritans: Confidential emotional support 24 hours a day (e) www.samaritans.org (t) 08457909090