My Story: Robyn

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

I've been repeatedly diagnosed with depression since I was 13. I am now 29. I don't really remember the initial steps. I experienced a lot of grief as a child and when my mother remarried, my stepfather forced me into therapy and taking Paxil. I think I did have troubles, but I didn't need medication. I know there were a lot of circumstantial reasons that brought on my depression, yet I think making me take Paxil catapulted me into a lifetime struggle.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

My recent changes have been living a life without medicating myself with recreational drugs. I became a Christian a year ago, and a lot of that involves being more mindful of the interpersonal relationships I have. It also means learning to love myself as Christ loves me. I'm also seeking volunteer opportunities to get out of my head and focus on the big picture.

Who has been there for you? How?

Debbie, my best friend since second grade, has been there for me through the years in most of the ways a best friend would. Josh, my other best friend and who I consider to be the love of my life, has seen me at my worst and has been the target of some my most awful behavior, and he is still there for me. He understands that this really is an illness and that I try every day to fight it.

For me, my episodes of depression are an endurance challenge.

There is something in His Word that is truly healing and transforming.

There is something in His Word that is truly healing and transforming.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

I have a four-year-old son, and I am proud that I've managed to provide a stable environment for him. I raise him alone and it is hard, but seeing he is such a happy child is so rewarding. People comment all the time on how joyful he is.

This really is an illness and I try every day to fight it.

What's your advice to someone else living with Depression?

Mindfulness really helps. For me, my episodes of depression are an endurance challenge. Once you know this and can remember it when you are in the thick of an emotional trial, it helps you to at least get out of bed. I'm trying to fake it until I make it.

Also, St. Johns Wort really helped me for years. I'm fairly against medications, but I think this is the best option. I've been on Paxil, Effexor XR and Prozac. They all made me into someone else. St. Johns Wort didn't make me feel like I was losing a part of myself. Of course, talk to a doctor before taking it.

Is there anything else we should know?

I've been in therapy six times in my life. Yet, I feel the only thing that really helped me and continues to help me is Jesus Christ. There is something in his word that is truly healing and transforming. It took a lot of strength to acknowledge my savior and to live this new life with him, because I was so set in my own thoughts. He showed me a new way of perceiving myself and the world around me.

I may not be completely healed, but it takes time to undo what has weighed upon me more than half my life. I've progressed more in this last year than I did in the almost ten before, that's for sure.

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