I have had depression most of my life, although it wasn’t diagnosed until I was in my 40s. I knew it, but didn’t know what to call it. During the summer while I was in high school I’d sleep all day and cry all night. I had no idea why, but I’d get up, listen to my records and just bawl my eyes out.
My mother told me that I even asked her to take me to a psychiatrist. I knew something was wrong, but just didn’t know what. Those were days when people just didn’t talk about things like that, so I didn’t get the help I so desperately needed. I was so full of self-hate and anger and didn’t know why. Nor did I know where to go to get the answers.
I was married and divorced before I finally was diagnosed and treated for two forms of depression: clinical and dysthymia. I was put on Prozac which worked amazingly well. For the first time in my life, I knew how it felt to be happy, to be content, to feel confidence.
Unfortunately, the Prozac therapy didn’t continue to work. Whether it was because my body grew too tolerant or whether other issues in my life at the time were more overwhelming than treatment could handle is unknown. I only know that once I’d tasted contentment, I never wanted to go back to the person I was before. The recovery did not occur overnight. Not by a long shot.
I’ve had some definite ups and downs in the mean time. I’m even back on Prozac to keep things on an even keel. But, I’ve never allowed myself to fall back into the abyss I once was in. Whenever depression revisits, I know that I’ll see improvement. I’ll give myself permission to wallow in sorrow a bit before stepping back up and healing again. I no longer feel that nothing will ever work out, that I am and always will be a failure, that the world is out to punish me for unknown sins. I’m actually content with myself, with who I am. I know that my bouts of depression are temporary at worst and that I will feel better again, so I no longer give up emotionally as I once did.
Since my original diagnosis of depression, I’ve also been diagnosed with ADD (I knew it before they did) and bipolar disorder (a surprise to me!), but I no longer feel broken. I’m just imperfect…..just like everyone else!