19 May 2011

Mental Health Blog Party

So it may be May 19th and the day to blog about mental health was yesterday.  But May is Mental Health month and its never to late to talk about busting down the stigma and negative feelings associated with mental health.  

I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder when I was a junior in college.  I had had symptoms and signs of depression since I was in middle school and I had been suicidal since I was a high school student.  All of this was a secret from my family: the appointments to a therapist/counselor, my inability to get out of bed, my skipping class, my emotional sadism, etc until I was a senior in college and things got so bad I decided to give in and get prescribed a medication.  I had to tell my parents because I was still on their insurance and figured the questions would start coming when the insurance statement from the doctor's visit.  I told them, got prescribed a medication and tried to move on.  They didn't take it well, my mom insists to this day that I'm not getting enough vitamins and usually provides me with a new article from a women's magazine about feeling down and vitamin D or E or whatever the "it" solution of the month is.  My Dad, let's just say the discussion with him was so traumatic it goes on the list of "things I'm not sure I'll ever completely get over."

The medication worked decently, I finished my classes and graduated in June....immediately losing access to my free appointments with a counselor and at the end of the month...no more medication.   And that is what I remember being the lowest time of my life.  I have never attempted suicide-the thought of death was so terrifying that when I get depressed and want to die I would frequently put myself into an anxiety attack.  But at that point, subletting a friend's apartment I found myself rushing into the kitchen, grabbing the first knife available and locking the bathroom door, found myself sobbing in the bathtub...knife to my wrist.  

Thank God it was a dull knife.  

Since that day I've been through at least 5 different types of medication, to at least 4 new doctors and therapists about it and I still have days where I can't bring myself to get out of bed.  

But I'm alive.  

I blog about mental health and fight the stigma about suicide and depression because admitting that I needed help saved my life.  Even when the day comes (hopefully) that I don't need medication any longer I will still have depression.  I will still need to fight the dark shadows in my head and insist that life is worth it.  Depression doesn't "hurt" like those dumb Cymbalta commercials state (P.S. drug commercials = not ok) it kills.  And sharing stories is how we save lives.  

Special thanks to Therese Borchard at PsychCentral whose blog I read today that inspired me to write this.  

And most importantly: If you or someone you know is in crisis DO NOT WAIT!  Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and/or go to the emergency room and GET HELP!

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