Personal Stories

Help Yourself and Help Others

Many people who don’t know me on a personal level may be surprised to learn that I have suffered with depression and anxiety—at times very severe—for over 15 years. I’ve always been an “emotional” or “sensitive” person, but in about 6th grade I realized I could not handle my emotions without becoming overwhelmed. My thoughts often turned to suicide and I began harming myself. I discovered writing and it became an outlet for me to express my pain. And yes, I was in pain mentally and physically. I hurt every day.  No one in my family or my circle of friends ever expressed any real concern about my condition. Instead it was mocked or joked about, so I assumed it was in my head and I could handle it myself.

Over the years my anxiety and depression got worse and I just continued to ignore it. It interfered with my relationships—be it family, friends, romantic, work, school. Every aspect of my life. After having my son, I developed what I know now was postpartum depression. I felt worthless, hopeless and again had thoughts of suicide. My mental state had gotten so bad it was destroying my marriage. Deep down I knew my inability to control my depression and anxiety was destroying my marriage and my family.

I finally made the decision to see a doctor and was put on an antidepressant and another medication for my anxiety. I have seen a vast improvement and am better able to cope with my life on a daily basis. I waited so long thinking I could fix myself and I was only hurting myself. I’m now at a happier place in life. Of course I worry that I’ll never be “normal” and able to function without the help of medication. I also worry that I could have passed my mental health issues to my children.  But, for now all I can do is live day to day and remember that I cannot control everything. I am thankful that I now have a support system in my wonderful husband, family and close friends.

Depression and anxiety are very real and so many people suffer from them. I wish there wasn’t such a stigma about mental illnesses. Maybe then people, like me, wouldn’t wait so long—or never at all—to seek help. If anything I have said can encourage one person to get help for any issue they may be having, then I will be happy.

 


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