What It’s Like to be Diagnosed with Depression
Here’s a tough one today.
There’s a difference between being sad and being depressed.
And unfortunately not everyone understands this difference, even those going through it.
It’s weird. Growing up you feel different from the other kids. You isolate a little more. You don’t have as many friends as the popular kids. You don’t hang out as much as the popular kids either. You know, they’re always going to the mall hanging out in the food court and you hear their stories in the morning of all the COOL things they did without you.
Can you say FOMO?
But why was that? As a kid you don’t really understand and just assume that’s how it’s going to be and that’s how you are.
So I went through my teenage years in high school like this as well. Same thing – was popular but not like the “cool kids” I didn’t dress like them, I didn’t act like them, instead I’ve isolated myself, and was in my own head A LOT. I could tell that I was ‘happy’ but never had a sense of true happiness. Whatever that means.
Then one day in my early 20s I broke. I broke so hard I made a plan to end my life. Since I’ve isolated myself so much, no one new. No one had a clue.
But because I was in my own head a lot, I fought myself and talked myself out of it – this definitely was not easy. When I finally arrived home it became greatly obvious that I needed professional help though in my mind I didn’t think I needed it, I could do it on my own, I’ll be fine.
(Really, I wouldn’t be)
With a lot of support from a few select people, I ended up at my family doctors office letting him know how I was feeling, what I wanted to do, and where I was at now. He said we would start with a complete physical to rule out anything else that may be going on in my body, then proceed to start me on Celexa (SSRI drug) to aid with my symptoms. As well I was referred to a Psychiatrist to seek further help in conjunction with my family doc.
In my head I’m continuously thinking “Will this actually help?” “How does this help?” “What the heck is wrong with me? Why am I like this?” It’s definitely a pain in the butt to feel this way and have all these things running through your mind when you really feel like you’re fighting to stay alive.
But man the symptoms of the medication were gnarly. What They Don’t Tell You About Antidepressants is a post I wrote that outlined what it’s like to take em.
Before I knew it – I had an appointment to meet my new Psychiatrist. It was both scary and exciting at the same time. Will he have the answers to help me? What do I tell him?
My new doctor had actually made me feel very comfortable during our first meeting. He many easy then more seemingly difficult questions. He asked questions in a way that I could describe how I felt and what I was thinking. Then I heard those words:
“Elaine, I’m going to tell you; you have Major Depression, anxiety, and some OCD.”
Ding ding ding!
EVERYTHING makes some sense now! I’m not “crazy”. This has a name.
Honestly as much as it isn’t great to have these things, it’s great that I can finally put a name to it and know there are ways I can overcome it and learn to live a better life. It really is a huge sigh of relief when you hear those words as much as you think it wouldn’t be. It obviously isn’t the “cure” to anything, but it’s a great step in the right direction and you’re not the only one going through this.
There will always be those questions of “Why me?” “How do I stop feeling this way?” “When will this all be over?”
But that’s for another time.
If you were struggling like I was with not knowing fully if you have a mental illness or it’s something else – contact your doctor. Trust your professional team. You shouldn’t do this alone and you wont be alone, plus the peace of mind knowing there is hope and can be a plan for you means more than you know. Just don’t be afraid of the diagnosis. Learn to embrace it as part of your own and do your best to make the most of life.