I was diagnosed with depression after my son was born, 17 years ago now. At first they thought it might be postpartum blues. But after closer observation from a psych nurse assigned to me while I was at the hospital after delivery, they realized much more was going on. After leaving the hospital I cried for weeks on end. I couldn't eat, rarely slept, and I shook like a leaf in a windstorm.
Even once I thought I was on top of everything, I couldn’t use the phone. I stopped going out in public, except for my baby son's doctor appointments, and I was convinced there was something drastically wrong with him all the time. His doctors got so fed up with me they actually called in a visiting nurse to check on him once a week, just to shut me up and try to ease my mind. Finally, they decided to send me for some professional help, realizing this was much more than just the birth of my son.
I have had to accept that I have depression, and although it can be treated, it can't be cured. I have learned that it’s very important to take your medications, and if they don't work, to say something. In fact, over time some of them stop working, or don't always work as they once did. I have had to set small, realistic goals for myself, instead of big, lifelong achievements.
I have had to accept the fact that sometimes I have to return to therapy, even after all these years. I have to stay away from triggers that can make my depression worse. For me, that involves being around people I do not know, constantly reliving the past, and putting myself in uncertain situations.
The most important lesson of all was that I wasn't to blame for everyone's unhappiness.
I put up the good fight and [do] not let my depression overcome me.
I'm proud I am still here today, and although some days can be tough, I still am willing to put up the good fight and not let my depression overcome me. I will overcome it. I don't blame myself anymore, or anyone else either.
Get help, it’s out there! Get therapy, and medications if you’re told you need them. They can be a life saver in some cases. Talk with your family and your loved ones about what's going on with you. Know that you’re not alone; so many people suffer from this illness. You can live a productive life in spite of it. Don't lose hope.
They actually figured out my depression came about from being in an abusive relationship for 16 years. Back then things were different – there weren’t all these wonderful outlets there are today for abused women and men. For some reason, all my pent up hurt and anger came out after the birth of my only son, and depression reared its ugly head. I had no clue that's I why I was depressed or even that I was. My abusive relationship from years prior had made me believe the very worst about myself. I had no self worth at all. But I climbed out of the ashes of ruin and into the sunlight to discover I was worth it after all, and my depression was worth trying to fix, not only for myself, but for my family, who had always stayed the course with me.