My Story: Ryan Heard

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

Ryan Heard with his familyWhen I was about eight years old my mother just couldn't understand what was wrong with me. I was placed in an inpatient facility in Atlanta after suicidal talk and being unruly, emotionally blank and overbearing.

There I was diagnosed with situational depression and ADD. I was given meds for the ADD, which helped but didn’t address the depression. Later, after a suicide attempt, I went along to an outpatient program where they did blood tests, brain scans, etc. It was determined that a chemical imbalance in my body was causing my depression, and that it would never heal – but could be managed. That was when I was 14, about 15 years ago. On top of all this, I am also OCD.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

I’m still experimenting – different drugs, different people, always trying different things. Throughout the past 15 years my parents’ suicides, losing my best friend to murder, and losing my grandfather – my main father figure during this time – have meant life is consistently an uphill battle, no matter the lifestyle changes I make. I have to always keep trying, and making adjustments.

Who has been there for you? How?

Family and friends come and go, but those who have been around the longest have the greatest impact. It’s as simple as lending an ear, understanding the rough days and weeks, and being there to perk you up when you are down.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

My own family, career, and overcoming the daily obstacles, as well as the statistics.

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

Keep calm and carry on. That is literally the best thing you can do. Each day will bring something – it's about how you handle it. There’s no shame in being in treatment or on a cocktail of meds, so don’t quit. It's only beneficial if you stay with it consistently.

Keep calm and carry on. That is literally the best thing you can do.

Each day will bring something – it's about how you handle it.

Each day will bring something – it's about how you handle it.

Is there anything else we should know?

I’m a 29-year-old male and have been working in IT for the past decade. Like I said, my depression is caused by a permanent chemical imbalance of some sort. It changes diagnostics and meds almost every two years. I have seen quite a few doctors and each one has been unable to put a finger on the exact right treatment. The closest match I have been on for about two years now. If I keep with it, with no lapses, it does work pretty well with the depression, ADD, and OCD. But if I miss treatment it's like living a nightmare daily, with the doubts and cloud. I had surgery recently and had to take a mix of other meds, which has made my depression really flare up – that’s why I stumbled upon this site.

I have to always keep trying, and making adjustments.

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