Depression: stuck in an old deep-sea diving suit gasping for air?

Almost 1 in 4 are being diagnosed with a mental health illness in the UK today,  of which the most common diagnosis is Depression. That’s nearly a quarter of the population who have or will experience depression at some point in their lives.

Depression is the fastest growing ‘silent’ illness with many people suffering in silence and abject misery, feeling too ‘ashamed’ or embarrassed to seek any kind of help. Some become so fearful of being tagged with a mental health label, they increasingly isolate themselves, hiding in the shadows and remaining undiagnosed.

Some may have been advised to ‘get over it’ or told ‘you’ll be fine’ and believe they need to maintain a ‘stiff upper lip and all that’.  Either way, depression is still a subject and issue that is hard to bring to the surface and talk about openly. By nature of the effects, most sufferers of depression find it extremely hard to reach out and ask for help.

Working with people who have suffered various levels of depression, I would liken the symptoms to the feeling of being stuck in an old deep-sea diving suit in the deepest, darkest seas, far from land. Incapacitated, as if wearing lead-filled boots that keep you stuck at the bottom, with your neck and head weighed down by heavy metal helmet, you’re hoping that your only access to oxygen – through a plastic tube – does not fail. Land, people and society seem so far away and all sound is muffled by the crashing waves and turbulence of dark sea.  Ocean creatures seem all the more menacing.  You feel ‘cast away’ from the delights of what seems to be the happening in outside world, on safe land or from those even enjoying the beauty and tranquillity of the sea.

Sufferers can have numerous physical symptoms too such as constant tiredness, insomnia, loss of appetite and libido, lack of motivation as well as other physical aches and pains.  Emotional symptoms range from lows to extreme lows with frequent peaks of anxiety.  When feeling in ‘low’ spirits, many feel overwhelmed, crying frequently, experiencing extreme lethargy and finding it hard to concentrate.  When ‘in extreme lows’ one can feel useless, like a burden on others, perhaps not being able to get out of bed, struggling to function at work or socially, with possible persistent suicidal thoughts.

If the above sounds familiar, please don’t suffer in silence – seek help. There is a tendency for people to leave it at crisis point, believing it will pass. If you are unsure why not carry out a self-assessment by visiting the NHS link: ‎

If you are feeling particularly alone and unsupported during Separation or Divorce please visit Separation S.O.S. or consider Kids Come First Separated Parent Support Workshops.  Many single, separated parents feel unable to parent their children, feeling stuck in their own kind of diving suit. So if you are still feeling depressed or recognise the above symptoms after a couple of years of separation then please do seek specialist support.