I am choosing to write publicly because I want to create change. I want there to be less stigma and more understanding for mental health “illness”.
I don’t want to feel ashamed or judged by my past or my present. I want people to read my blog and understand what it is like to work THROUGH depression. I also want to share other peoples stories and remind people that a lot of beauty, art and accomplishment come from people who experience dark times, highs and lows, confusion, anxiety; the whole gambit.
I am 36 years old and I have spent most of those years living in fear. Most people have experienced “the blues”, a period of darkness usually triggered by a distressing event: break-up, illness or death of a loved one. Depression becomes a problem when it starts showing up in all aspects of your life; for me this was crying in the bathroom at work, losing sleep and withdrawing from friends and family.In the same way people may experience “anxiety”. This could be triggered by those major life events such as your children leaving for college, unhealthy relationships, 0r positive events , like marriage or a promotion at work. Like depression, anxiety can become a serious problem when it seeps into every aspect of your life; simple decisions become unbearable, you’ve had 4 hours of sleep in 3 days, you cant bear to get groceries because of the crowd or the packed bus ride to get there. I also want to mention that serious depression or anxiety may not have a rhyme or reason, or the reason is not evident.
After years of being medicalized and stigmatized I have come to a point where enough is enough. I may not be strong every day but I am strong enough, and above all I have learned to be resilient. I am choosing to taper off medications that I have been on for over 10 years. I am choosing to confront the mental traps that keep me on meds.
I am choosing a path where I am not labeled, I am not medicalized. I appreciate the help the medical system provided when I ran out of options, and I am still seeing a phychiatrist, one who supports my choice. Many people believe that phychiatrists are only there to push drugs on you, but that is not exactly the case.
Our health care system is maxed out, I don’t even have a general doctor. I like to believe that phychiatrists are trying to do no harm, but sometimes you have to find one who shares or supports your philosophy, and that is not easy. Every therapist is unique and there are many kinds, part of the journey is finding one. Any kind of support you can find will help you get through the hard times, please don’t try and do it alone.