I started my afternoon by reading an article that I felt the need to share. It impressed upon me the need to have the issue, the problem, that is depression, out in the open.
I invite you to read the article here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2016/03/23/i-told-the-truth-in-my-sisters-obituary-so-that-others-might-choose-to-live/
I have and still do struggle with depression. I have fought it since I was in high school at the tender age of 16. Depression runs in my family, but it’s always been hidden. Like a dark secret no one wanted anyone to know about. My own mother didn’t tell me she had fought it until things reached a drastic stage and I no longer felt the desire to live anymore. As you can see, I am still here, but I almost wasn’t. It was purely by the grace of God I survived and managed to make it this far.
A month before my 17th birthday I attempted suicide. I didn’t tell anyone about it until a year or so later when I was forced to explain my life and situation to a therapist. My parents still don’t know. I simply told everyone I fell asleep while driving, it was believable, I had had a long day, worked hard, played harder. But I walked away from a totaled car with just a few scratches and bruises. No one could understand it and neither could I. For a few months, I had a new will to live. I thought there must be a reason for me to survive. I had to have a purpose, right?
Well, just a few months later, I was back to fighting my depression. I was self harming, I was angry all the time. High school was terrible, I didn’t like where I was, I didn’t like where I was going, I didn’t like the stress or the pressure that came with graduating and taking the next step into the world of college. I eventually struggled for months before anyone noticed. I finally had a falling out with a teacher, when she asked me what was wrong and why I was so angry, I told her I didn’t know why I was so angry, I just didn’t like anyone or anything. I told her I didn’t know how to ix the rage inside of me, which was why I had taken to self harming. Since I was in high school she was forced to tell someone who could help me. My mom was told and I was forced into counseling and talk therapy for more than a year.
I learned about my depression in therapy, and I was also diagnosed with Panic Anxiety Disorder, as well as a disorder that has to do with mood control that is specific to women called Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. It took me a lot of time and therapy session one to two times a week for months before I could handle that this wasn’t something to be ashamed of. And needing help for it was nothing to be ashamed of either. I had to come to terms with the fact that being embarrassed was not helping me get any better. My brain is a muscle, I needed to see a doctor for it just like I had too when I hurt my knee and had to go to a physical therapist.
I know I am always going to struggle. I don’t deal well with change, I don’t handle stress well. I never have and I most likely never will. I have learned coping mechanisms, and thus far I have managed to avoid going onto medication to help me deal with my problems but I know there is always a chance that I may need it at some point in the future. I dread the possibility of postpartum depression, and I worry how I will handle the changes that come with the stress of the future. Planning a wedding, planning for a child.. Those things scare me.
Thankfully I have a wonderful family that has handled this for years, not just with me, but within themselves. They have tips for handling difficult moments, and a few of them have advice on medications and side effects of medications. They deal with me and love me regardless. I am also truly blessed with a wonderful man who loves and takes care of me. He knows what I need and the best way to make that happen. He can calm me down when I get upset or scared. And sometimes that’s really all you need.
I don’t need or want any sympathy from people around me, I just want to help someone, anyone. I want people to not have to struggle like I have struggled. Don’t be upset if you need help. Help isn’t a bad thing, sometimes it’s a necessity. You can’t be good for the people around you until you’re being good for yourself.
Depression can be overcome. It lies. You ARE meaningful, you DO have purpose, you ARE meant to be here. Don’t give up. Don’t choose suicide. Live. Your life is beautiful. YOU are beautiful.