Being Honest About My Depression

This is an old story and a new one.

The Old Story:

When I was 15 I was diagnosed with severe clinical depression.

I had suffered for years with controlling my emotions and more often than not I felt out of control. I had outbursts. I would make myself physically sick with worry. I even had thoughts about hurting myself. This went on for a while.

As a sophomore in high school, my mother dragged me back into the psychiatrist’s office and we discovered I had been misdiagnosed for 5 years. I was weaned onto two types of medication for severe anxiety and depression, and to balance out the chemicals in my brain.

I saw a counselor once a week and learned that writing poetry, stories and journal-ling helped as an outlet as well as talking about my worries. Over the course of a few months, I got better and life got better.

So much better, in fact, that at 19 I decided to go cold turkey off my meds; something I would NEVER EVER recommend (It’s very dangerous and I regretted going about it that way). I was tired of experiencing withdrawal symptoms whenever I forgot to take my pills or ran out on a family trip. And ultimately, I was scared of being dependent on medication the rest of my life to stay happy.

The New Story: 

A year ago a friend mentioned she thought I might be depressed. I laughed at the idea. She didn’t have to worry, I told her, I knew what depression was like and if I ever needed help again I would go get it.

Depression was a heaviness and hopelessness that you carried with you. A frantic feeling that on a particularly bad day use to trigger a craving for the soft green and pink pills I had long ago thrown away. This wasn’t depression, I assured her.

This was me feeling stressed, and tired, and needing time by myself to recharge. This was the cold weather, not taking enough vitamin D this week and getting off work at 3 in the morning. To a large extent this could have been true, now, I wonder if I might have been depressed and just didn’t realize it.

That’s no longer the case. My current state of stress and anxiety is no longer simply side effects from recent events in my life. I can’t excuse them away anymore and I, once again, need professional help. So, I’m getting it.

Sometimes there isn’t a rhyme or a reason. I never thought I’d suffer from depression again. I thought my spirituality, meditation, writing, Pilates and emotional maturity would prevent it from happening again, in many ways they helped, but right now, my tools aren’t cutting it anymore. I need help, as embarrassed and shocked as I am by this, it’s the truth.

I share this with you not for pity or concern but because I think it’s important to let other people know they are not alone. There is nothing shameful about having depression. It’s okay and it’s okay to get help. No one should have to suffer. Life is too short and too precious.

And if you need counseling and medication to pull you out and get back on your feet, you owe it to yourself to do it.

Blessings & Love,

Sara

xo

For anyone who needs help or knows someone who does, here’s a good place for resources and help right now: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Being Honest About My Depression

  1. Jill McNamara-Twiss says:

    I, too, denied my need for medication for many years. I thought I was stronger than that. I was too ashamed to even bring it up to a doctor. I thought it was a sign of weakness.
    My dad had been on Prozac for about … forever. Just about everyone on that side of my family takes something for depression, anxiety, OCD, or all of the above.
    So, one day, I was talking to my dad on the phone (he was the only one I discussed this with back then) and he told me, “Look, if you had diabetes, would you feel ashamed for using insulin? It’s the same thing. Your brain is not functioning properly. It’s not all in your head; it’s a physical disorder.” Even though I believed him, I couldn’t bring myself to scheduling an appointment for that. What I did schedule an appointment for was my chronic migraines, which had recently added what my Nana called “silent migraines” to their repertoire. They’re actually called ocular migraines, but anyway, my doctor told me some people have had success in preventing migraines by taking SSRIs. That was my opportunity and I jumped on it. I still never told her about my depression and anxiety and OCD, but it helped. It helped so much so that in a matter of about six months, I went from literally crying and shaking at my desk simply because I was accepted into a temporary position that I ASKED to be in, because it meant I would have to interact with trainees just a teeny bit by walking around and answering questions during a training session to joining the training team and TRAINING a class – by myself. Until that happened, I thought I just had a simple case of stage fright. I had never heard of social anxiety until after mine was gone. I also stopped thinking about how everyone would be better off if I was dead and got up the strength to finally permanently sever all ties with my horribly mentally and verbally (and in the end, physically) abusive long-time boyfriend.
    Sorry, I didn’t mean to take over. 🙂 I just wanted to say that you are NOT alone (that goes for you, Sara, and anyone else reading this), that taking medication and seeking counseling is NOT a sign of weakness, and that it DOES get better. ❤
    Thank you, Sara, for putting yourself out there like this. If it helps even one person, it's all worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 2sisters2yogamats says:

      Thank you, Jill. Thank you for sharing your story. I didn’t realize I needed to hear someone say it’s okay to take meds again. It is a physical condition and I think being on medication again would help immensely. This is all very new still and even though I’m reaching for help, I still have some guilt and embarrassment about it all. I honestly thought I’d never be back in this boat. I never thought I would need meds again. I prided myself on it. Even though this time feels different than all those years ago I know it’s depression and anxiety again and I should get help now. Thank you so much for sharing. I needed this. I am so grateful to you, Jillie Beans.

      Like

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