I’m usually a reserved and private sort of person.
However, in the desire to help others with their mental health issues, I have broken down those barriers and talked about the problems I have had.
In that spirit, I would like to tell the history of my mental health.
My hope is twofold: first, that it will help my fellow sufferers to feel a sort of comradeship in knowing that they are not alone; and second, that it will enlighten those who may not be aware of what such issues are like.
I’ll begin back in high school.
It was during these years that I began to manifest strong symptoms of depression. I felt unloved and unlovable, and I couldn’t get out of my head. To top it off, my anxiety and OCD fed themselves on religious scruples and an acute desire to please.
I didn’t see a therapist or psychiatrist because we didn’t realize what the problem was–we tried to address the symptoms without realizing they had a deeper cause.
Needless to say, we utterly failed.
They were miserable years, and I have blocked them from my memory to such an extent that there is very little that I can remember from those times.
Then came college.
College only made matters worse, especially my sophomore year. I was pushed to be a social butterfly, but that is something I am not and never will be. I tried, nevertheless, and the consequences were countless social failures. These disasters prompted a worsening of the depression, which this time manifested itself in a universal animosity and a feeling of absolute inadequacy.
Everyone was my enemy, and I wasn’t even halfway good enough.
There were times I was so trapped in my depression that I could not speak, and I frequently incurred very harsh criticism because I was mistaken for being merely sullen.
Then, finally, in my junior year of college, I saw my first therapist. She was amazing. With her help, I worked though the obvious manifestations of depression, and I felt so much better that I stopped meeting with her after just one semester.
I didn’t know myself very well at the time, or I wouldn’t have done that. The depression and anxiety were still very much with me, but I mistook a lessening of the symptoms for a resolution of them.
I struggled on, though, for several years until I met my husband. I think the relationship brought some issues to the fore, because the depression hit again with violence. I was so ashamed, though, that it took me several months to go back to seeing my therapist.
It was over two years before I finally felt the symptoms lighten sufficiently to stop meeting with her.
And then we moved away.
I hated the place to which we moved, and I noticed myself gradually sinking back into the throes of the depression.
Things continued to worsen, and then, after I had my son, they reached an abysmal low. Postpartum issues increased the depression and anxiety from which I was already suffering, and life became an absolute hell.
My husband became an enemy in my eyes, and yet in a weird way he was also my only friend. I wished I had never had my son and that I had never gotten married. I felt like I had lost my identity and that the future held nothing but misery.
I viewed life practically with despair.
My husband tried for a long time to get me to go to a therapist, and when I finally consented, the therapist only made matters worse. I tried a psychiatrist, but she was dry and hard and gave me medication that I didn’t want to take as a nursing mother.
After that, I refused to see anyone.
I led myself and my family such a life that I cringe to think of it. There were frequent bouts of anger and tears, and I remember hiding in the closet and sobbing so many times.
Finally, matters reached such a low that my resistance broke down and I agreed to try a psychiatrist my husband found.
It was the best decision I could have made.
It has been a long, hard, steep climb, but I feel that she is slowly pulling me out of the mud. Medication has helped a great deal, too.
Things still aren’t great, though, and we are trying rTMS. I don’t know if you have ever heard about it, but in brief, the doctor stimulates the side of the brain that has to do with depression in the hopes that it will reawaken the part that is misfiring and bring it to function normally.
And that is where I am now.
This has necessarily been a long post, but I hope that it helped some of you to feel companionship in your sufferings and that it maybe shed some light on those sufferings for everyone else. Depression and anxiety are not to be taken lightly, and they are no joke to endure.
Remember, though, that there is always hope. Whatever you suffer, it can get better.