It’s been a while since I’ve written on a regular basis. This entire year feels like it’s been a cluster fuck.
I’m not sure how many people suffer from Dysthymia- a “persistent depressive disorder which is a continuous long term (chronic) form of depression.” I have suffered from it for years and I used to think, well… that’s just who I am, “a procrastinator who can’t seem to pull it together for more than a month or two at a time.” This became my mental norm years ago even though I had no idea why I felt unmotivated and sad on any given day. It wasn’t until I met my Psychiatrist over 15 years ago that I realized it wasn’t a norm for anyone and I was suffering from a real illness.
My Psychiatrist told me that with long term Anxiety Disorder comes depression and vice versa. Sometimes they aren’t sure what appeared first to set the other Mental health issue in motion.
Through counseling I’ve learned I have been in a low grade depression for years and this probably led to my Generalized Anxiety with Panic Disorder.
Dysthymia can lead to clinical depression which is what I’ve been suffering from for the past 3–4 months. It’s hard to get out of bed, it’s hard to motivate yourself to get anything done, avoidance is extreme, excuses… excuses… when asked to go somewhere because I still try hard to hide it from so many people. It seems like a major feat just to get showered everyday. Try explaining that to someone who’s not informed about depression, that’s when you get the unwanted (please shove your advice where the sun doesn’t shine) advice.
I realize people mean well, most of them do but if you were having a heart attack, they wouldn’t suggest you need pull yourself together, they wouldn’t lay guilt on you and they sure wouldn’t say, “everyone get’s depressed but you really need to pull it together.” Replace the term depressed with a heart attack, diabetes or an asthma attack.
Instead of berating a person for feeling very unwell due to their mental health illness that is spiraling out of control, if people were more informed they would suggest you call your doctor or better yet, call the doctor for you and make sure you get there.
I have a very small support system which includes my husband (most of the time), sadly, he has his own major medical issues he’s been dealing with and can’t always be my rock. I try to put my best foot forward to help him with his ongoing medical issues and I know it makes a big difference to him. My son also understands, he’s older now (a mature adult) with a wife and children, sadly he’s suffered too, but he began facing his health problems much earlier in life than me, has the great support of his wife along with living in an area that that is highly conducive to his Mental Health well-being. My son has many more options with regards to treatment protocols than I have because I live in a town that is behind the times and doesn’t quite recognize the importance and dangers that come from being mentally unhealthy. I need to add, I have a small support system through Social Media who would be there if I reached out.
Speaking of reaching out, it’s hard to reach out when you feel at your lowest. I also feel like a broken record if I continue to reach out to the few who do understand, I fear I will turn them away from me. I fear that each time the cycle begins again I will wear others down, I fear loss.
The other aspect to the equation of reaching out, you’re just too damn drained to find the words which leads to more isolation. I will even avoid the phone when I’m at my lowest because I feel I will either sound like “Debbie Downer, or be at a loss of words when it comes to conversing, due to the emotional energy it takes to interact. Many times when I push myself to interact out of guilt my generalized anxiety increases 10 fold and it’s likely I will suffer from a panic attack as well. I’m sure I’ve lost friends because of my inability to be honest and that just adds another layer of pain to the illness I’m already suffering from.
It’s hard for me to put my thoughts into words when I’ve been ill for a lengthy period of time which is why I am sporadic with my writing. I had to cut way back on counseling because my copay is so high. In order to try and get back to a better place in my mind, I need therapy 1 time per week. Unfortunately, I’ve been able to average seeing my counselor every 4–6 weeks. This is one of many reasons Mental Health needs to be taken much more seriously by the medical community because lack of treatment just leads to delays in healing or at minimum- learning how to cope better.
Lack of intervention leads to a diminished skeleton of a soul. Lack of intervention, awareness and treatment can lead to suicidal thoughts or suicide. I’ve never had the urge to kill myself, but I can’t say I haven’t thought that I’d finally be at peace if I wasn’t on this earth anymore (transient thought). I’ve also felt many times others would be much better off without me because I hinder their lives with my own dysfunctions. It’s scary to ponder when the mind crosses from transient thoughts to what I would assume people with suicidal thoughts consider the answer, the cure… peace. I say this because I’m not in that mind frame but there are many who are or have been. I’ve lost 2 people who I cared about to suicide and I would have never guessed that’s how their lives would end. They were highly accomplished people who seemed to have it together.
That’s the problem with Mental Illness, people learn very early on how to appear to have it together because the stigma is still very prevalent.
Let us all share our stories. Let us all give each other positive medical information that could be helpful. Let’s join together to end the stigma because voices in numbers not only matter, they make a difference. Let’s be supportive of one another.
Please feel free to add suggestions about the latest research on drugs that are working, types of Counseling styles that work for you (not every model works for everyone, so keep that in mind) but please do share. If anyone knows of the latest research that is being done for drug therapies, please do share that too.
I had genomic testing and found I can’t take SSRI’s or SNRI’s which really limits my choices & positive treatment outcome. Has anyone else ran into this issue as well?
Lets not just be advocates for ourselves, let us be advocates for all that suffer.