We’ve all been there, done that – with everything. The things we experience in life molds us into who we are today. No matter what we go through, we usually can pick ourselves up, shake it off and move forward.
But some people do not have the ability to pick themselves up and bounce back. They stay in a rut, beat themselves up emotionally and mentally almost to the point where they’ve given up. When you are not mentally and emotionally stable, it leads you down the road to depression, anxiety, isolation, etc. It is a very sensitive subject for most – at least I know it is for me. Talking about it with friends was something I didn’t want to do. But even if you don’t some may notice how different you’ve been, especially if you’ve been isolating yourself or not being your true self when you are around others. It takes a lot of self awareness, strength and courage for you to recognize and know that you need professional help. Not everyone can admit to having depression – but I want you to know that you will be okay.
Mental health shows to be the most overlooked type of “disease” in America. People are either killing themselves or sometimes others for these reasons – not being properly advised or treated, supported, they feel alone and afraid. People learn to give up on themselves and life itself because of what they have been through. There are definitely situations that can tear a person apart whether it be through work, relationships/marriage, friendships, losing a loved one, etc. There are countless reasons why someone feels depressed or have a high level of anxiety.
Back in 2009, I felt my world turn upside down more often than I should have experienced. I don’t want to get into great detail about my personal life, but I can share with you when I realized and accepted that I had actual depression. It was so hard for me to get myself to accept it. Who wants to? But I knew I needed help. I felt lost, hurt, sad all the time – I felt like I had no outlet, no one to run to. Although I had friends I could and would express what I was going through, I knew they would never understand. And it wasn’t their job to understand what I was feeling or what I was going through. With all that I have experienced a couple years prior to 2009, I knew it was time to seek professional help. The first thing I did was go to my PCP (Primary Care Provider aka Doctor). I explained to her that I was having a great deal of anxiety and felt sad and stressed all the time. I didn’t know what it would do to me if I didn’t seek for additional information or advice. After an evaluation/interview, she immediately told me I had depression and that she would prescribe me some anti-depressants to try out. I agreed, thinking that it was the best thing I could do for myself and my mental health.
I took meds for a week and realized I didn’t feel anything different. I actually felt like cardboard. I know it’s a funny way to describe how I felt, but I knew medication wasn’t for me. I am better than this. I don’t need this. What am I really doing? I asked myself so many questions, I even questioned my PCP – it didn’t make sense to me that I was immediately placed on medication after she spent little time with me. I threw them away. I told myself I didn’t need those. I will pick myself up, get myself together and move forward with life. I’ve learned to ignore my issues and eventually thought I made depression “go away”. Not knowing I needed to rid of things in my life for me to feel better, I continued to live life – but again, going through so many emotions on a daily basis and not knowing what to do.
We are now in 2017 – 8 years later from the first time I knew I needed help. Familiar feelings were coming back after putting myself through a lot these last couple of years. This feeling is way too familiar I said. But this time, I decided not to seek advice from my PCP. I’ve learned to reevaluate my life, whose in it, what I’ve been doing and the trials and tribulations I’ve encountered. I’ve learned to be more private with my life because the more people do not know, the more I will not hear them judge me. I knew what I needed to eliminate from my life and what I can keep around but also make improvements on. These last couple of years has been tough, but it also made me stronger. Although, I have depression, I will not let it defeat me. I am still the same Angela – I’ve just been torn down. I tell myself it’ll take some time.
I vowed to myself to work on me from this day forward. Now having a daughter, I must show her that there is nothing and no one in this world that should tear you down to where you can’t get back up. I have to learn to fight my battles wisely, rid of all the negativity in my life and move forward with what is best for me. Til this day, I battle with depression, but I think I know how to stabilize myself enough to deal with stress in a certain manner. People cope with life differently than others and it’s okay. There are days where I don’t want to talk or see anyone. There are days where I am angry – not with others but with myself. But instead of beating myself up even more than I’ve already done, I write “mental goals” down for myself – what I need to do to live a happier life, what will make life less stressful. I decided not to dwell on a lot of people or situations because it will only tear me down even more.
For the friends you have that may be battling similar things as I, support them. Help them as much as you can even if you don’t truly understand what they are going through. There is nothing worse than going through something alone. Make yourself aware and do your research if you want of any signs for depression, suicide, PTSD – any type of mental illness. Below are different hotlines you can offer to your friend/family that could possibly be going through a hard time. It is best for them to seek help if you know they can no longer help themselves. Let them know everything will be okay and that you will fight with them. I know this is a very sensitive subject for most, especially me. I have never really opened up about depression until recently. But I know I am doing the right thing by telling you my story and giving you different ways to help you or your loved ones out.
1-800-273-8255 – Suicide Hotline
877-226-3111 – Addiction Hotline
844-228-2962 – Eating Disorder Hotline
877-455-0628 – Self Harm Hotline
888-640-5174 – Depression Hotline
Web MD: Depression