I am not alone in my depression. I have battled depression my whole life. I always remember feeling and being different from my peers. I also have dyslexia, which also made it harder to succeed academically. For many years I thought I was stupid because in the 1970’s not many really knew about depression. I have always done well with music though, playing trumpet, singing and even writing some.
This time I wasn’t alone and this time I will conquer depression.
I remember my first round of severe depression was as a junior high student. I was the favorite target of bullies and would react with anger after stuffing it for so long. I finally had enough and clubbed a kid upside the head. That got me suspended for two days and the only reason I could get back was I had an appointment to see a counselor (who wasn’t very good). I got over this though really in the change of environment in high school and when an attractive, kind junior girl took me under her wing it really helped me begin to see that I had some worth. And the lies that I told myself got softer for a while.
In the transition to college I had another severe depressive episode. I lost all the friends I had at this one because they just couldn’t deal with it. I had my first of two suicide attempts at this time. I got out of this one with the help of a counselor and also meeting the woman who I would eventually marry. This was in 1988 and 1989.
A person can have a mental illness, but it doesn’t define who they are...
I went for 14 years without a severe depressive bout. I was probably mild to moderate for most of that time period. In 2002 I had my most recent bout of severe depression. I had been underemployed for most of the time leading up until then. I tried to commit suicide because I felt like I was a human parasite that had no value or worth to the world. This time I had counselors and some wonderful friends particularly three wonderful older women whom I loved as if they were my sisters. That helped me through it. I am also on medication and will be for the rest of my life. This time I wasn’t alone and this time I will conquer depression. I still am chronically underemployed for my education (have a master’s degree and teaching license) but I can now see myself as a success. I am a fighter and a survivor against this horrible disease called depression. I have several friends that will stand by me when I am down and understand that it isn’t my fault at all.
I now have a good counselor and four women that I love as sisters and several good friends that are always willing to listen . . . I am not alone.
I never used NAMI in my struggle and didn’t find out about them until 4 years ago. Most of my mental health help came through the church. But I want to help other people get the help and treatment that they need to be successful. I also walk to support the education of others to break the stigma of mental illness. A person can have a mental illness, but it doesn’t define who they are or mean that they are a bad or defective person. I have walked in the Minneapolis NAMIWalk for the last 3 years and will continue to do so. I find it so uplifting and inspiring to see so many people out there that either have mental illness or are affected by mental illness.
I know I am not alone that there are a lot of other people out there with mental illness who have a greater struggle than I do. I know that I am not alone because I now have a good counselor and four women that I love as sisters and several good friends that are always willing to listen to me if I need to talk to someone. I have not had a suicidal thought since November 2003. I still have my down days but I can control how I feel now. I try not to let other people determine my worth. I am not alone.
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