I woke up with my eyes almost swollen shut. I cried myself to sleep and had only gotten a hour or two of rest. I was exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally. I was exhausted in every way a person could be.
The night before, I had planned to commit suicide. I had been struggling with depression (something I’ve talked about here) and couldn’t handle it anymore. However, thankfully, I didn’t go through with it. I emailed my college’s counseling center asking for help and cried the night away. Once I woke up, I immediately checked my email. Sure enough, there was an email from the counseling center. There in that tiny little dorm room, I decided to address my mental health issues that I had ignored for months in fear that it meant I was “crazy.”
I also decided that day that once I got healthy again, I would tell my story in hope to help others and end the stigma surrounding mental health issues. This week is Suicide Prevention Week. The leading cause of suicide is untreated depression. Talking to people about this topic, I realized there are a lot of misconceptions about depression.
No, I can’t just get over it.
No matter how many times you tell someone to “just get over,” they can’t. It’s not that simple. Someone who is suffering from clinical depression can’t decide one day to just forget about it. It’s going to take time, professional help and sometimes even meds. Furthermore, you telling someone to get over it isn’t helpful. It makes me them feel like a burden and who really wants to feel like a burden?
Taking anti-depressants doesn’t mean you are weak.
Taking meds doesn’t mean you are weak or crazy. It is something I struggled with myself. I thought if I took anti-depressants that it meant my disease had won. Not the case. I view it now as me taking my mental illness into my owns hands and making my mental health my number priority. I am no longer on the meds but I thank them for helping me get out of the dark hole I was in. It also takes time to find the right medication. If something doesn’t feel right, be your own advocate and tell your doctor.
Anti-depressants are only one part of getting help.
Now, first let me state that I am not a psychiatrist or a mental health professional in any way so take my opinion as you will. I don’t think depression can only be treated with meds. I think it needs to be a combo of meds and therapy. Meds deal with the biology of the brain but therapy helps you deal with emotional issues. In my experience, it’s a combination of the two when dealing with depression. For me, therapy has help give me the skills to deal with my depression on a daily basis.
It’s going to take time.
You have admitted to yourself that you are depressed and want to seek help. That is a great and amazing first step. You should be proud. However, the real work is just beginning. Finding a therapist you are comfortable with and a medication that works properly can take some time. Also, feeling “normal” again will take time too. Don’t give up. Everything you are doing will be so worth it.
There isn’t miracle cure for depression. It is something I have dealt with for most of my life and probably will for the rest of it. At the end of the day, we all need to talk about. We need to talk to about our feelings, our day to day struggles and everything else. We need to talk about depression even when we are at our worst. We especially need to talk about it with people who don’t suffer from mental health issues. The more talking there is, the more understanding there will be. With more understanding, the more people will be less afraid to come forward and get the help they need.
For more information please go to AFSP.com and dbsalliance.org
(Image via Shutterstock).