My Story: Ruth

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

I was 20 and about to begin my sophomore year of college. School hadn't started yet and I was alone in my apartment. I felt completely isolated and alone. I wrote a note, locked myself in my room, and took a bunch of pills. I was taken to the hospital where I was given charcoal to drink.

My Story: RuthThe charcoal was one of the most horrible things I have ever tasted. I remember the pain of vomiting and sleeping and crying a lot. But I also remember loved ones there with me at the hospital to help me get through it.

When I was discharged, the hospital sent me home in my brother's care. I slept all night and late into the next day. When I woke up and walked out of the bedroom into the living room, all my family that lived close by was there, and my mom had flown out to be with me. My mom helped me see a doctor and get started on antidepressants and talk to a counselor.

I should have been diagnosed with depression as a young teenager, but I kept all my feelings inside and hidden, afraid that my family would not love me anymore. I would sometimes cut myself to let out the pain.

It was not until my first suicide attempt that I began to receive the help I so desperately needed.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

I need to be on a few different medicines – one for depression, one for anxiety, and a mood stabilizer. My meds have changed over the years, along with my counselors and doctors. Sometimes something that has worked just stops working, and you have to try something different.

I need to maintain a consistent sleep schedule. I set an alarm to go to bed and to wake up. When I don't follow it, I get depressed much easier. I try to get outside, stop my negative thinking, and I have to tell others what I am going through and ask for help.

Who has been there for you? How?

My mother has always loved me unconditionally. My father was hit by a car and killed when I was 15. My mom let me sleep in her room with her for as long as I needed after he passed away. After my first suicide attempt, she flew out immediately and was there for me. She helped me find a doctor and counselor and stayed with me for a while. My aunt and uncle then let me live with them until I was ready to be on my own again. All my brothers and sisters have always shown me love and given me encouragement. I have always felt of my father’s love for me when he was alive, and even after he passed.

My husband has been through so much with me, but has never given up on me. He has been there for me and my kids when I was hospitalized, and went through ECT treatments. I try to not show my illness to my kids, but sometimes they see I am sad or crying, and offer me hugs and their blankets. I always let them know I love them no matter what.

My friends have let me be open and honest with them and lean on them for support. They have made me dinners, brought me flowers, taken care of my kids, and driven me home from ECT. My mother recently dropped everything when I called her and told her I needed help. She was on a plane the next day and spent a week and a half taking care of me and my children, loving me, and helping me to decide to keep going and not give up on myself.

My Story: Ruth

Please reach out to your friends, your family, your doctors. They can help if you let them.

You show courage and bravery and strength every day you wake up and get out of bed.

You show courage and bravery and strength every day you wake up and get out of bed.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

My Story: RuthI am proud that as I have grown older, I have become more open with my family and friends about my illness. When I hit rock bottom this summer, I asked for help. I reached out to my friends and family when all I wanted to do was isolate and hurt myself.

I am proud that I am still living!

You are not alone! Please don't suffer in silence.

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

Depression is an illness. You are not weak because you have this disease. You show courage and bravery and strength every day you wake up and get out of bed. You are not alone! Please don't suffer in silence. Please reach out to your friends, your family, your neighbors, your doctors. They can help if you let them. Be safe. Make a plan for who you will call and where you will go when you want to give up. List several options, as one may not be available in your desperate time of need. Look at photos of you with the people you love. Think of them. Tell yourself: "I may not be perfect, but I am worthy of love and belonging. I am enough and I can get through this!"

About Ruth

My Story: Ruth

I was born and raised in Southern California. I come from a big family, and am the eighth of nine kids. We spent lots of time together growing up, and were a very happy family. I was devastated when my dad was hit by a car while crossing the street on July 4, 1995. I was 15 at the time, and just finished my sophomore year of high school. He was in the hospital for six months, most of the time in a coma. He passed away just before Christmas.

A few years later, I moved out of state to attend college. I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science RN in nursing. While in college, I married my husband, and we moved to Michigan after graduation. I worked as an RN in the hospital while my husband attended law school.

My first pregnancy ended in miscarriage, but we later had a son and a daughter. My husband and I now live in Texas with our 2 kids and a puppy, and are about to celebrate our 12-year wedding anniversary.

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