DEPRESSION - Anger Without The Enthusiasm
I have never understood the shame and stigma attached to my disease. To me, it should be viewed and treated like any other condition. No one is ashamed to say that they have diabetes or that they take insulin in order to manage it. The more we secretly suffer, the more we perpetuate this harmful myth.
I was diagnosed with depression at the age of 18 after a hospitalization for anorexia and long periods of utter despair. I remember during my intake interview being asked if I had ever considered killing myself. Despite weighing 76 pounds, experiencing heart palpitations and dangerously depleted bone density, my immediate and what I thought honest response was ‘no’. The doctor then asked what I thought starving myself was, if not an attempt at suicide.
This was 1988 and the awareness and treatments available for both eating disorders and depression were abysmal. Though my doctors were well intentioned, they, like most other medical professionals, were working merely on theory and supposition.
Although I had spent hours in therapy, I never managed to make any “breakthroughs”.
It wasn’t until a year later in 1989 when the pharmaceutical companies came out with the first SSRI (Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) Prozac. It changed my life. But it didn’t fix it.
NOTHING cures depression. A lot of things help you manage it. I have remained medicated for 25 years.
I started with Prozac and, over the years, have tried a number of others, all of which have been effective to one degree or another. Despite being proactive in managing my illness, I still suffered severe episodes of high anxiety and overwhelming sadness.
Depression is a deadly disease; as deadly as smoking. One in four women will experience its symptoms at least once in their lives; many of them needlessly and silently. We need to change this.
The symptoms of depression are varied and numerous and they include frequent anger
(often the root cause aside from genetics) and irritability, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, loss of interest in daily activities, low energy, self loathing, changes in appetite, weight and sleep patterns. If you are experiencing one or more of these feelings, please know that you are not helpless nor is life hopeless.
I am no doctor (nor do I play one on TV) and all I can tell you is what has worked for me. A combination of the right medication, talk therapy with a female doctor, and a strong support system have quite literally saved my life and helped me be the friend, mother, daughter and wife I want to be, and that’s a very good thing.
If you, like me, are engaged in an epic battle with depression, please seek help. You do not have to feel the way you do right now. Your entire life does not have to be like it is today. The next chapter of your life can be rewritten into one where you look forward to things, have the energy to face the everyday details of life, and have the ability to let go of the thoughts that keep you from trying new things, going new places and meeting new people. Trust me, I know….
Article by Anna Quick Palmer