I have suffered from major depression for years. Many people say that they “suffer” from some ailment. Normally I would avoid using a cliche, but to say that I have suffered from major depression is accurate. Not only have I suffered, but those around me have suffered too. My personal journey with major depression has changed me in many ways.
I was diagnosed with major depression almost four years ago. Looking back, I think I was depressed long before that diagnosis was made. Sure, I had life’s ups and downs like everyone else. However, I always felt profoundly sad and alone, even when I was with several close friends and we were having a great time. It was as if someone had paused the happy moment and made me look at everything from outside of the situation. I felt forced to laugh along with everyone else. I felt that I was truly alone. I always felt like I was missing something, or homesick, even though I was at home.
Eventually, anger came into play, which is when I decided to seek professional help. I went through a cycle of sorts. I would get very angry about something, then the anger would change to horrible sadness, and then the sadness would fade to numbness. The depression doesn’t always make you feel sad, as some people think. It can leave you without feeling too.
At first I was afraid to tell anyone about my horrible feelings. Sometimes I would feel as though everything would be okay if I could just disappear. I always envisioned myself driving off into the night, never to be seen or heard from again. Of course, in my mind I would disappear even from myself. Obviously, in reality, I could not do this. I felt incredibly lost.
The depression began to affect my relationships with other people. I was inwardly drawn and did not want to socialize with many other people. My anger began to cause problems with my partner. I knew I was a miserable person, but it was hard to see beyond myself and how I felt or didn’t feel. I knew that if I continued with my depression and couldn’t find a way to control it, I would lose what little friends I had left and most likely myself too.
At first I was afraid to contact a therapist. I thought everyone would label me as “crazy” or think that there was something horribly wrong with me. The truth was, there was something horribly wrong with me. The depression was going to drive me crazy if I didn’t get help. Thankfully, I was able to see someone relatively quickly, and I also had a few appointments with a psychiatrist. Together, the therapist and psychiatrist diagnosed me with major depression. I was put on anti-depressants and began counseling every week. After adjustmenting my medication and several months of counseling, I began to feel somewhat better. My therapist taught me how to cope with other issues that may have triggered my depression, and she taught me anger management.
I am no longer on anti-depressants. I still attend counseling sessions, although not as often. Sometimes I still feel as though I’m being shoved towards that dark pit and wish I could just drive off and disappear. I still go through periods of feeling down for no particular reason. However, I know now that there is a reason for my feeling the way I do, and that is ok. The depression will pass. And if it doesn’t, I know that I can get help to get through the depression. No one should ever feel ashamed of asking for help when they feel completely lost. It was the best thing I ever did for myself and my loved ones.