Let’s get real. I’m going to share some seriously personal shit because people don’t talk about this stuff like they should. For the longest time depression was not even recognized by health professionals as something to be treated. The primary reason is because nobody talked about it in order to study or treat it. I’m fairly open about my mental health, but there’s still things people generally keep to themselves in conversation because it scares people to say that you hate every single second of your existence and if it didn’t negatively affect so many people financially in my life I’d slit my wrists right now. You just can’t really say that out loud.
The biggest obstacle I feel is trying to tell your therapist/psychiatrist just enough information to the point where they don’t feel the need to involuntarily hospitalize you. The ones of us that are able to get treatment and have access to affordable medications probably take it for granted. I am on title 19 Medicaid which means I only get to see the crappiest of doctors, but that’s still more than some people have access to. It doesn’t help that our government keeps lobbying back and forth whether mental health services should be covered by insurance. Then we have a president currently who is basically criminalizing mental illness; so the rednecks that didn’t “believe in” depression before sure as hell don’t now.
I feel the biggest struggle in communicating about this illness is the fear of the reprisal from the other person. Because every now and then you’ll get bullshit comments and/or suggestions; “You should just try harder”, “We didn’t have any of that in my day so you should just put on your big girl panties and get over it”, “If you just smiled more you would be so much happier”, or “Oh yeah, I was depressed once”. Mmmkay. I’m not going to address these individually because they all get my blood boiling. Every single time this shit comes out of a persons mouth all we do is smile politely and change the subject when what we really want to do is crush their larynx under the bottom of our shoe. It’s hard to educate those that haven’t lived through it, but I can’t express how important it is for us to try.
I was first diagnosed when I was 13, and at that point I had been begging my mother to let me get help for years. She was another one of those that didn’t believe in it. She called me a bratty kid and told me I would just get over it. Some might say this is malicious but I find it funny that she’s now disabled after a mental breakdown and three suicide attempts, but this same woman wouldn’t let her 12-year-old daughter (that was on her knees on the floor in front of her crying and begging) see a counselor. It makes me sick and so very angry. I simply have no empathy left for that woman, but the pain she has inflicted is for review another day.
Since then I have dealt with a multitude of different issues, had several different diagnoses, been on at least three dozen different medications, dealt with eating disorders (anorexia nervosa and bulimia), self harm (cutting), and many other struggles. It’s an odd feeling to post a fact that only three people on this entire earth know to the internet; please don’t abuse it. Most recently I have been diagnosed with narcolepsy as a result of the trauma of my childhood and early adulthood which led to “brain damage I’ve only seen in PTSD victims that have returned from war” according to my sleep doctor. I had no clue that trauma and such could lead to literal brain damage.
What I want the take-away to be here is that we HAVE to talk about it. We have to talk about our struggles and triumphs to find like-minded people. Not one of us is alone in this and we have to do our due diligence to find others; for our sake and theirs. Humans are not meant to be alone (as much as the depression makes us think we want/deserve to be). We exist as a species on this planet to lean on and learn from each other. And know that in all of this I am personally someone who will be there if anyone is in need; for any and all.