Carrying on ‘normal’ life is a big pressure for a person with depression. It is deeply embarrassing to have to cancel your plans with friends, or not to be able to go into work for a week, because you are depressed. Often people simply do not understand.

For those of us suffering with both depression and anxiety, social life is a continual torment. I have never really found a solution for how to deal with this during the particularly bad points. During these times I really don’t want to talk to or see anyone, or go out anywhere. I certainly am not able or willing to go to work and smile consistently for 8 hours without having some sort of breakdown.

I find that I constantly crave to ‘be normal’ like everyone else, not to suffer with this thing that is constantly bringing me down and preventing me from doing what ‘normal people’ do. I am currently not working due to being signed off by my GP, and this is a constant source of guilt, worry and sadness for me.

However, when you get to know these ‘normal’ people who look like they have everything together, you realise we are all afflicted by something. There was a fire alarm once in the early hours of the morning in my block of flats, and everyone had to stand outside for 45 minutes. We go to talking and these seemingly ‘normal people’ who I imagined had ‘normal’, happy lives, were struggling the same as me but in different ways; one was going through a divorce, the couple upstairs were dealing with one partner recently cheating, and the guy in the flat below was unemployed due to mental health issues whilst still trying to provide for his son.

1 in 4 of us will experience mental health problems in our lifetimes. Yet we still feel the need to act normal in front of everyone. There is a need to put a face on, to mask our true emotions and not to discuss depression. It is a taboo subject in the UK and this makes it even harder to overcome.