“You are just very sick Ghyta.” It is the beginning of September 2016 and I walk to the GGZ institution’s elevator gasping for air. The words keep going through my mind. Am I sick? You are sick when you are in bed with a flu, I am not sick at all!

It is 2018. This is officially the third year of my depression. It took me a long time to accept it. Only a handful of people used to know that I suffer from depression and I wanted to keep it that way. When I used to go out, I put on my mask. I smiled and just went with the flow. Once at home, I took off the mask. Then I started to feel blue again. That is when I started to feel very sad and wanted to spend the rest of the day in my bed.

For a long time I continued like this, with all its consequences. I pushed myself so hard to be able to continue to function normally, that, at some moment, it was impossible to keep it together anymore. I had to take a step back before I completely collapsed. Taking a step back was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Because I am not like that at all. It therefore felt like failure. Failure to myself… Or actually to the stern voice in me that was constantly present, and that sometimes still is. Failure to my mother because I can not finish my bachelor within three years. Failure to the society that demands so much from me. We live in a society based on performance. We must strive for the highest possible. We must always keep going. But not everyone is suitable for this kind of society, as a result of which, among other things, burn-outs and depressions are becoming more common.

It took me quite some time (read: two years) to accept my depression. Accepting is step one in the recovery process. At least, that is how I experience it at the moment. I am more open about it and dare to say the word ‘depression’ out loud. In the beginning I used to tell other people that I am not feeling very well at the moment or that I was having some struggles with myself. But those ‘struggles’ were already a major depression. To be very honest: I still do not tell everyone about my depression, however giving it a name is better than just running away from it. Something that helped me a lot lately is my insta blog @gelukkigdepri. On this blog I occasionally write thoughts and poems about the emotions I experience. In this way I can park it as it is, so that I can focus on motivating activities. Now that I became more open about my depression, I can see that a lot of people are not. There is a big taboo on depressions. However, depression is a disease and you can recover from it. What makes it difficult is that it is not visible on the outside. You can not show it with a plaster on you head or a bandage around your leg. For this main reason I started writing: so that more people, with whatever kind of mental illness, dare to talk about it without being ashamed of it.

On the NiceDay blog I will open my soul and tell you about my road to recovery. In addition, I will occasionally share my personal obstacles. Of course there will also be room for (hopefully) inspiring and positive stories.

Quote of the month: A better me is coming.

Love, Ghyta

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By telling others about my own experiences, I hope to support people that deal with mental disorders in their own process. I find it important that mental illnesses are recognised as real diseases, even though they might not be visible to the eye.

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