October 27, 2021
Disclaimer: SickNotWeak does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.
People don’t recognize that depression has no bias. Depression can haunt anyone; rich or poor, educated or not and people who seem to have it all “together.” Generally speaking, depression doesn’t discriminate.
My battle with depression is broken up into two parts: the day I was first told I was depressed and the day I accepted that I was depressed and that something just wasn’t right.
I was attending college and I had it all. I had a supportive family, a good social life, a part time job, good grades; everything a young 19-year-old could ask for but I was missing something – true happiness. I just didn’t feel right. I felt constant sadness, loneliness and had negative messages running through my head telling me what a loser I was, that I was a failure, that I was unworthy and so on. I was also angry at myself because where did I get off feeling the way I did?
Depression doesn’t discriminate.
Over time, these feelings became exhausting and were occupying much of my head space but I continued to put on a mask daily and smile as if everything was fine and dandy. In my second year of college, I mustered up the courage to make a doctor’s appointment with the campus doctor as I was tired of feeling tired. I described my feelings to the doctor and after a brief discussion he said, “Miss. You’re depressed.” My jaw dropped. Depressed?!? How could I be depressed? I had everything I needed and wanted. I walked away from the appointment with a loose diagnosis but no follow up.
I continued trudging along and camouflaging the feelings that I had for the next few years. I felt alone, sad, lost, unworthy, ashamed and angry. How could I be so grateful for what I have and still not be happy? Who did I think I was to feel this way? I felt ashamed and embarrassed that I had been diagnosed with depression because of the stigma related to mental illness. It left me wondering if I was going crazy.
Up until I told my feelings to my parents, I struggled through with my depression confused and overall in despair. I was in denial and continued on with my battle internally until I finally voiced to my parents that “something just wasn’t right.”
I vividly remember the day that I finally communicated out loud to my parents that something just wasn’t right with me. I was in my mid 20s and had just returned from Australia where I attended university after college. I was sitting on the floor at my parents on the heating vent which I normally did because I liked the blast of hot air and two tears streamed down my face out of nowhere.
I looked up at my parents who were standing in the kitchen and I said, “Something isn’t right with me, I need help. I feel so alone.” That’s the day I began my journey to accept that I had depression and that I had been depressed for some time. I started seeing my own family doctor and a psychiatrist. I was diagnosed with a chemical imbalance and it was time to find the proper medication and dose for me.
It was a shitty way to deal with the battle.
As I approached my 30s, I became more in tune with my feelings, accepted that I had depression and had to manage it with medication. I realized that this was illness that had to be nurtured. Although, I had this awareness, I felt myself distancing from friends, family and social events and began self medicating with alcohol.
I would seclude myself in my apartment drinking wine and smoking cigarettes while attempting to cover up my true feelings and thoughts. It was a shitty way to deal with the battle. When I did go out, I was known as the life of the party and was happy-go-lucky under the influence of alcohol. Needless to say, many people didn’t know or didn’t want to know how I was truly feeling because I looked the part of having my life together.
After the “party” was over I found myself in bed for long periods of a time and what normally was a simple task seemed virtually impossible. I would get up from bed, walk to the shower, turn around and lay back in bed. This would go on for some time as I couldn’t bring myself to get in the shower because I felt so awful.
In time, the invitations to be social were less and less because I had declined so many outings. Jobs were also lost because I couldn’t meet deadlines or perform to what was thought of as my capabilities. When I did attempt to open up I was often faced with a cold shoulder and blind eye which I feel was due to a lack of knowledge about depression and what it entails. It still hurt knowing some of the closest people in my life were avoiding me when in reality I just needed someone to sit with me or simply listen.
Know that you’re not alone.
Today, I manage my depression with medication, supportive parents, a few close friends and on-and-off again counselling which I need to work on. I stopped drinking six years ago and never looked back.
That being said, I still have my days when I can’t get out of bed and tasks seems unbearable but I try to persevere through the negative thoughts and feelings knowing that tomorrow is a new day. At times, I continue to find myself feeling ashamed and embarrassed because of the stigma surrounding mental illness. It’s so important that awareness is brought to the forefront and that depression is recognized as an illness and not just a sad time.
I wouldn’t wish depression on my worst enemy but to those who battle each day, know that you’re not alone. Know that the feelings won’t last forever and know that you will get through this.
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