I have suffered for a long time with depression. My teenage years were rough but I didnt know that I had an illness I just believed there was something wrong with me, that I was defective, but life went on, I had alot of good friends and partied alot. I never once spoke a word of what I was feeling to anyone, not my parents, long term boyfriend or friends I just silently suffered on those bad days. Then when I turned 18 I felt better than ever before, that lasted for the better part of 7 years I blamed my teenage years on hormornes, teenage angst, anything but possible depression. I got married, an unhappy 2 years with a control freak and one morning I got up and I couldnt stop crying, over everything and nothing, I felt desperate and detached from my former self, hopeless, and I felt as if I was going crazy. I promptly made an appointment with my doctor who after listening to me cry for an hour told me he thought I was depressed, and that I needed medication, no not me, no you dont need medication so said my then husband, that stuff is for the crazies, so for one more unmedicated week I cried, and slept, and cried some more, I called my doctor and told him my husband had convinced me medication was for crazy people and that I would not be filling the presciption, lucky for me he was persistant, and said " you bring that man in to speak to me" he reluctantly came, and the doctor convinced him I needed the medication, I however was still terrified of taking it, I had heard so many things about mental illness and psych meds, none of it good, that I spent another week convincing myself I should actually take them. I reluctantly did, and thus began my own personal war or hell I am still not sure which one is more fitting, with depression and psych meds.
Myfirst try at a psych med, was painful, the side effects were horrible, I was anxious, experiencing panic attacks, on top of a crippling numbness, my doctor told me "be patient, give them a chance to work" patient I was and 8 weeks later I started to feel like myself again, the feelings with the episode started to leave me and I felt like I had regained my life. I stayed on the medication for 6 months and with my doctors advice weaned myself off, for the next 6 months I felt great, 2 months after that I had another episode of major depression, this one far worse than the last, I could not eat, sleep, think, or leave my bed, never mind my house. I felt paralysed by the terrible emptiness and darkness of every thought for 1 month I stayed this way, my doctor advised me to restart the medication that I had come off, I gladly accepted that advice, and again I felt terrible side effects, to the point I was having panic attacks every few minutes, and was sure I was going crazy, I even started carrying my phone with me everywhere around the house and was tempted more times than I care to remember to call the ambulance to take me to the hospital and lock me up. I repeatedly asked my dr. for help he once again told me to be patient, I was exhausted and did not want to live with the anguish for one minute longer. I again called my dr, who told me to come in, he must have seen the agony and desperation I felt, he sent me to the hospital to see the crisis nurse, my mother whom I had brought with me to the dr. had to drive me there, and looked at me and said "just snap out of this already, there is no such thing as depression it is all in your mind, and you control it, you are being terribly selfish" It felt like such a slap in the face, this was the most terrible thing to go through, such that I would not with it on my worst enemy, and most people I knew just did not understand, or care to. This was my very first encounter with the stigma associated with mental illness, but unfortunatly not even close to the last. Thankfully the crisis nurse was kind and helpful, and sent me on my way with some sedatives to take the edge off the side effects until the medication started working. I am unsure if I could have survived that period without them, I also got a referal to my very first psychiatrist, whom tried to prescribe pill after pill after meeting her one time, I wanted help not to be comatose so her, I decided I most defianelty could survive without, and did not go back. I followed up with my dr, and told him my concerns with psychiatry to which he whole heartedly agreed with and decided to take over my mental health care fully, he told me it would be unwise to ever go off my medication again, that I was mentally ill and would need it for life, that was hard to swallow but I also knew the last episode almost cost me my life, and my life I was not prepared to give up……..5 years later, still medicated, extremely well researched, healthier, and mindful lifestyle changes, with some kick ass counselling and I have managed to keep the major episodes away, I still have my irrational moments, bad days, sad days, and days where I have to force myself to get motivated, and defiantley left with the lingering thoughts of shattered self one holds with themselves after being on the brink of madness, but with proper help, good support, educating people on mental health issues to take away the stigma that still surrounds it, and a fierce determination to make you life as good as it can be, there is always hope, and it can always be worse.