So while chatting with my friend over at Stitching Yarns yesterday about life and some family drama going on with my in-laws, we got on the discussion of mental health. I fear that some of my family may be dealing with depression, deep seated depression and that they aren’t getting the help they need, because of the stigma that comes with needing meds to help you just get through the day. She then sent me this really adorable photo
Super cute right? Who knew that neurotransmitters were cat shaped! It explains a lot honestly lol. All joking aside though, I am going to take a moment to talk about depression. Something that is very close to me, as I myself suffer from depression. I have for a long time I am sure, and I denied it for even longer. Two years ago I was put onto antidepressants, this came after several things had happened.
- My grandfather had passed away, and I was very close with him. He was always there, and some of my best memories of him are sitting in the front seat of his truck, eating the ice cream cone he bought me, and told me not to tell grandma about, while holding another one while his black lab Toni poked her head through the window to eat her ice cream cone I was holding for her.
- My husband and I had officially been trying to become pregnant for 3 years without luck.
So as you can imagine mentally I wasn’t in a good place. At any rate during one of our routine visits with the fertility specialist which was actually a rescheduled appointment because it fell on the day we buried my grandfather. She brought up how she had noticed that I seemed very distant and sad. To which my husband replied ‘Well we did just bury her grandfather last week, so its still kind of fresh in her mind.’ He doesn’t usually talk for me, but that day I just wasn’t in the mood to do anything honestly. He had actually had to drag me out of bed that day and force me to the appointment. I honestly can’t even remember why we had the appointment, and I don’t remember much of said appointment until she started talking to me. Anyway, she gave a sad little smile and said ‘No, its been going on for awhile, your mood just seems to be getting worse and worse. Do you have thoughts of suicide?’ I scoffed at her and my knee jerk reaction was to flat out say no. Now remember I was in a room with not only our specialist, but also a student doctor and my husband. So I said no, but for whatever reason the next words out of my mouth were ‘Just because sometimes I feel like it would be nice to just not exist, but everyone thinks like that from time to time and its not suicidal thoughts.’ Everything after that was almost in slow motion, the second the words left my lips I knew I had said something wrong. My husband looked at me in a way I have never seen him look at me, like I had spouted an extra head, the student doctor was gaping at me and my specialist was just giving me a sad smile and shaking her head. She explained to me that those were not ‘normal thoughts’ and that a majority of people do not feel this way all the time. She then suggested that I go talk to my primary care doctor and discuss with him getting some help. In other words ‘Something is wrong with you and you need meds to make you normal’ That’s what I heard at least.
The car ride home was the longest car ride of my life. I spent most of it in tears trying to explain to my husband of at the time 4 almost 5 years how I didn’t need to have meds. That I was just having a hard time with my grandfathers death, and our fertility issues. He was un-moving, ever my rock, and told me that if I didn’t make the appointment he would. He is never forceful with me but that day he was, to the point I was worried that he was mad at me, and that he may fear he truly had gotten a broken wife. The next few weeks were a blur, I was told I had clinical depression, and that I would be on meds, probably for the rest of my life. Because shockingly he said he had noticed it for a long time, and was just waiting for me to ask for the help he knew I probably needed. I got on said meds and had to deal with really bad brain fog and getting used to it. My husband stood by me each and every step of the way, pushing me to get out of bed and go to work, making sure that I took my meds every day and didn’t miss one. I made sure though that no one knew but the most necessary of people. Even my mother didn’t know for a while. And there are people in my family who still don’t know that I am on meds, well they will now! The reason for this is the stigma that comes with being on antidepressants and how people react when you say you are depressed. One day I was even pulled into the office by two managers because they were worried about with how I was acting, brain fog does crazy things to your brain let me tell ya, and I told them that it was just some new meds I was taking and I was just getting used to the side effects. They pressed and I caved and told them. That just enforced why I didn’t want people to know. After I told them, they treated me differently, like I was fragile and that I needed to be coddled.
Why is all of this important? Well, it’s important because I realized that the reason some of my family that I love dearly aren’t admitting to their problem, is because there is this stigma about depression. They aren’t depressed and if they are ‘i don’t need to be on meds, because I’m not a whimp’ so instead of looking for the help they may need they just find other ways that are unhealthy and are bad. If you admit that you are depressed people give you advice like ‘Just get out of the house, some sun will do you good.’ ,’well i’m depressed too but you don’t see me getting on meds.’, ‘maybe if you ate more healthy foods you wouldn’t be depressed’, ‘exercise more’ or my personal favorite, ‘You just need to not think about negative things, and that wont let you be depressed anymore’ no, no that is not how it works. Getting out of bed when you are in the deep of depths of depression is the hardest thing to do. Being depressed isn’t feeling ‘sad’ all the time, its feeling nothing at all, or to much all at once. It is a soul crushing experience that makes you wonder what the point of everything is. Why try when everything you do is wrong, and you are broken beyond repair? These are dangerous thoughts, and the ones that usually lead people to suicide. If you admit to being depressed, you are viewed as being weak, or to sensitive and there for no fun to be around. I know that’s how I thought, when I first had to get on them. But a very wise friend told me ‘You aren’t weak, you are strong, because it takes strength to admit that you need help,and even more to get the help.’
I don’t even remember the point of this post anymore honestly. All I know is that If admitting to the world that I suffer from depression helps even 1 person realize that they need help because they don’t have the normal ‘I want to die’ or ‘I want to kill myself thoughts.’ and the more ‘I wonder if I could just stop existing for awhile.’ or ‘I would perfectly ok if I just didn’t wake up in the morning’ that yes, yes you need help. You are not alone my dear, there are people out here that are experiencing the same turmoil as you. Please remember you are worth it, you are not alone, and that getting the help you need isn’t admiring defeat, its just calling in the reinforcements and that is the bravest thing you could do for yourself.