After suffering from depression and anxiety for at least ten years, I finally took the brave step in seeking help for a condition I was afraid to admit having.

Although everyone’s experience of depression is different, I think we would all agree that the ‘black cloud’ that looms over head is hellish. For many years I was, and still am, tormented by my inner demons who repeatedly tell me that I am terrible at everything I do and that I am of no use to anyone.

Depression can feel like being trapped in a dark room with no way out. You feel completely isolated, even if surrounded by people, and only having sadness and fear for company.

For me, depression has been like living a double life; in front of friends and family, I would put on a brave face and pretend that everything was fine, whilst inside my mind was filled with self-loathing and low self-esteem. My mind would tell me I am a failure because I have sometimes been unable to meet the very high standards that I set for myself.

However, after approaching people for help and assistance when I am feeling down and am at my lowest ebb, I can honestly say that I have never felt better. Although I still sometimes return to a dark place where my self-confidence and self-esteem leave me behind, having the support of my friends and family and the counselling service at my university has been very reassuring.

To anyone who may be reading this and has felt the same way I have, you should know that you are not alone. Although depression can make you feel completely isolated and detached from those around you, in reality there are many people who are suffering from the same things and you have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Whether you realise it or not, there are people who are willing to listen to you and who understand what you are going through.

I used to think that I would never be able to get better, that I was condemned to a life trapped under the shadow of the ‘black cloud’ above my head, but now that I have started getting the help and support I needed, I can genuinely see an improvement. The cloud is beginning to dissipate.

Depression can not be cured overnight and healing the wounds that caused it can and will take time, but anything is better than continuing to suffer in silence.