Monday, September 8, 2014

Depression, Robin Williams and me....

 Its been a little while since Robin Williams' death, so I feel like I can discuss my own issues with depression and mood swings.

 I'm struggling here with what to admit publicly and what to keep quiet. I know I've been quite open with my anger on here and my depression. I hope to help someone. Not everything needs to be admitted publicly though. I can be upset about my family, but honestly, I'm an adult now and the responsibility for a healthy, wholesome life lies with me. No one else.

 I was always depressed. I was a sensitive kid, overweight and a little slow in some areas. I cried about everything. I mean it. I can say that genetics played a big role in my depression, as I had a second cousin who committed suicide. I remember my grandmother, who died when I was 10, never getting dressed or moving off her couch whenever we'd go to visit her. My dad is still on antidepressants after his stroke. Of course there were other factors too in my family that I won't get into. I've learned from that how to better parent my future children.

 College came and I moved out with great dramatic familial fanfare. (Let's just leave it at that, okay? ;) ) I soon had issues with my roommates and knew I had to move back home while staying in school. Depression became too much to handle and I ended up seeing a therapist for the first time for six months.

 I moved out of my parents house two years later when I had a repeat depressive episode. It was time. I saw the same therapist again for a session. She agreed with me that it was time.

 I think the one thing that saves me is that I have no filter. If I feel terrible, I will talk about it. I don't want to off myself and know I need to talk it out.

 I ended up moving in with a family member until I got roommates. That was its own challenge, but ended up saving me in some ways. My roommates that I moved in with are still dear friends of mine to this day.

 Therapy in my late 20s came to be. I connected with a therapist at a Christian university, got on medication and worked through some stuff. Not everything, but enough that I'm grateful for this therapist. She provided the structure I so desperately needed and validated that it was okay for me to be pissed off and to even fight back. I needed that and am thankful for her.

  I also know during these relapses that I have a faith that tells me I have a purpose. I am special in God's eyes and He loves me so much!

 The root of the depression is only coming out now. I'm remembering some things that make sense now in the scheme of things. Sad that it took this long, but that's the way it is.

 I also understand how serious my anxiety is now and that I have to control it. I absolutely think the anxiety contributes to having a depressive episode. I also know that medication doesn't handle everything. That's a problem I see today with a lot of people.

 I discussed changing medication with my psychiatrist at my last appointment when I mentioned my new symptoms. I like this doctor and think he's the best psychiatrist I've ever seen. Not kidding you. He's kind, truly cares about helping me and is also a strong Christian. I mentioned what was happening and he said the following, which I think is so true.

 "I'm not a miracle worker. I can significantly help you with medication, but it's not a cure all."

 People need to remember that. I have to work through some things with the charts I've mentioned before and maybe even switching therapists.

 I also can't stand it when those in religious circles diss antidepressants and therapy for those who want to get help. I've written emails to pastors in response to hearing that in messages, of course to deaf ears.What if someone with bipolar disorder hears that?? Yes, depression is part of life and we don't need to run to the therapist every time we feel sad. You on the pulpit are really going to turn someone off from getting help if they desperately need it though?! My rant, but I believe the Lord gives us people to help us along in time of need, including therapists, psychiatrists and others. End of rant....

 I have no certain answers for those of you suffering. We can all help ourselves differently. For me, it's my lack of a filter and being able to vent. For others, it's journaling. For others, it's prayer. We all have to know what helps us. We are all unique and can help ourselves differently.

 Just get help. Please. Don't be afraid to reach out and get help.

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