Friday, 11 March 2016

Happiness is a blanket scarf

Hello one and all! I’m not sure if my title will turn into a weird metaphor by the end of this post but for the moment I mean it very literally. If you know me, you will probably know that I basically show no emotions and that it’s actually very hard for me to show that I’m happy. But how can I be sad when I have a scarf that is a blanket? That’s basically the pinnacle of life right there. Anyway, I digress. The point of this post is to give you a bit of background.

So much happiness!
So I’m a painfully shy introvert who tends to remain quiet in any social situation – this much pretty much everyone knows about me and I am always faced with such questions like “Why are you so quiet?” or “Are you okay? You look upset/angry.” The only answers I can give to these are “That’s just my personality” or “That’s just my face – I generally look like I have no desire to be near people even when I’m actually enjoying myself”. It’s just the way it is and unfortunately, when it is brought up, it does make me very self-conscious and ultimately I clam up even more. What you may not know is the fact that I have struggled with depression and social anxiety since I was about 11. I’m still not great at expressing this to even my closest friends, even though I have got so much better in the last few years, so it would appear that the only way I can actually talk about this is through this blog post, mainly just to avoid the embarrassment of actually talking about myself to other people. I hope that, by writing this, people don’t feel like they have to tiptoe round me, I would just like to make everyone aware of something that I internalise quite a lot. I appreciate a lot of people will feel very different to how I feel so this is just my experience and I don’t want to come across selfish or anything.

I was bullied a lot throughout primary and high school and even a bit in college. I mean, this isn't the entire reason for my depression, I reckon some of it is just my personality and the way I'm wired anyway, but it certainly contributed. I don’t think I really realised I had depression until I was about 16/17 and had put my entire experience down to just being a teenager which probably stopped me from getting any help sooner or at least expressing how I felt. I always felt like (and still do sometimes) I didn't belong anywhere. My depression, coupled with social anxiety, has sometimes left me feeling isolated, unappreciated and in constant need of someone to tell me that I am enough and that my friends do actually like me and don't think I'm a burden. I just never seemed to quite fit in, and so I turned to literature – books, film, TV and music – as a way to escape. I still do this to an extent, it is one of the ways that I find happiness. I mean this love of literature has basically shaped my entire life – I'm doing an English Literature degree and I have an offer for a Creative Writing MA – and yes, sometimes it is hurtful when people belittle me for choosing to do an Arts and Humanities degree but I know that this was always going to be the path that I took. Literature has really helped me through some pretty dark times of my life and, as I would like to be a writer, if I could help and offer just one person a way of escaping then it’s all worth it, isn't it? In a way, I don’t know who I would be without my depression, it has come to shape me as a person but I have got better in the last few years and, although the scars will probably always be there, I'm slowly becoming the person I actually want to be.

Anyway, sorry for the slightly longer post and it’ll be business as usual next time as I have a few theatre visits lined up, and, as I said before, I hope this post doesn't change anyone’s opinion of me or make it seem like I'm selfish or anything.

The NHS website has some pretty useful information about depression and there’s a self-check tool there too, as well as links to various charities that offer help.   

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