“Take your victories, whenever that may be, cherish them, use them, but don’t settle for them” Mia Hamm
I was diagnosed with depression in my early 20’s. My first few years of college, I was failing out and having a difficult time concentrating. I fell into a deeper and deeper depression, all the time, thinking I was sick or had some mental illness that couldn’t be treated. Thinking this way made my depression worse.
Depression and ADD
After suffering for months, I finally went to the doctor because of my concentration. As I was describing my symptoms, I found myself talking about the depression as well as the concentration. My doctor listened closely and I could tell that he was taking a lot of notes. I thought for sure I was dying and began to cry. I was failing out of school. I was going to a community college when all my friends went away to school. And I felt sad and sorrowful all the time. How could I be ok?
Once I calmed down, my doctor explained to me that he felt that I have Attention Deficit Disorder and that was treatable with common medications called Ritalin. I felt relieved that he wasn’t saying that I was about to die and sounded like I was going to be ok. But then he told me he was concerned about the depression and my lack to snap out of it. He wanted me on medications called Prozac and therapy asap and come back in one month.
That was a long one month. Because the Ritalin worked so fast and I was able to concentrate better, I thought that the Prozac should too. I went to meet with my therapist that Dr. Sundey recommended, and I figured I should have been back to my cheerful self. I was doing everything my doctor told me to do, so why wasn’t anything working?
At my one month check up, Dr. Sundey informed me that medications for depression take a lot longer to work, like 3 to 4 weeks than other meds. This helped me feel a little better but I was still very concerned about not “snapping out” of it. We decided to give it more time with the therapy and medicine before making any adjustments. And this is how my life with antidepressants began.
Over the years I have tried many different kinds of medicines and therapies. Some working for me and others not. I would try something new for a month or two, feel better and then stop doing it. My thought was that if I could get myself to feel better, why do I need the meds and the doctors. But the type of depression that I have, I need medicines and therapy to get me through it.
About 8 years ago I went through a pretty bad depression. I was taking my medications and going to therapy once a month. But it was something that I couldn’t shake. I remember that the more I tried to make myself happier, the worse I felt. I could barely eat and didn’t sleep at all. I would cry at the drop of a hat. And no matter what anyone would do, I couldn’t make myself become happy. I know now after all these years that you can’t make yourself be a certain way. But I needed to try because I had a great family. My life wasn’t too bad, and I had everything that I needed.
After a month of being in that state, my husband told me that he was worried and he was taking me to the hospital. He had been in communication with my therapist and the two of them decided that I needed more care than I was receiving because the depression had become so bad that I started to think about hurting myself and calling it quits. I had gotten so depressed that I didn’t care whether I lived or not. And that scared me.
I went willingly to the hospital with my husband and spent the night in there talking to doctors and under suicide watch. I believe to this day, this was the lowest point of my life. By the time the psychologist finally got to the hospital at midnight, and all the drugs that they had been pumping through me working, I told the psychologist I no longer wanted to hurt myself and just wanted to go home. He believed me and sent me home under the watchful eye of my LEO who knew what to look for. That was the last time I have ever been that low since.
Keeping my depression at a distance.
After that time, I have been very careful with trying to not allow myself to go that low again. I hated that I was that depressed and that sad. I watch to make sure that I take my meds at the right time and not miss a day. I watch the prescriptions so that I make sure that I have enough refills and order when I need too. I try to keep a gratitude journal so I can write down things that I am happy for and try to stay with a positive attitude.
I believe that living life this way helps me keep my attitude positive and depression at bay. I know my depression with never been cured or fixed. But if I can keep the depression under control, then I feel better and so does my mind.
What do you do to help “control” your depression? There is nothing wrong with admitting to having depression and there is nothing wrong with making sure your depression is under control.