Welcome back to my new series “My Mental Illness and Me” of which this will be the third post. I am so glad that Kylie from AddictsRipple agreed to share her story with depression. On her blog Kylie mainly writes about addiction and the effects it has on the people close to the addicted person. She does a great job in raising awareness of this topic, so you should definitely check it out. Please also support her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instgram and Facebook. Depression as a mental illness is more common than we might think, because it is often hidden and misunderstood, but hear from Kylie herself how she got her diagnosis and proceeded from there onwards.
So many people think of depression as just someone who is sad or anti-social. Well Iʼm here to tell you that it is so much more than that. I havenʼt been able to pinpoint an exact cause for myself. I just know that for as far back as I can remember, Iʼve struggled with depression. Now that Iʼve accepted it, Iʼm learning that there are so many with the same struggles.
During my teen years I first needed medication. I couldnʼt handle change at all. Everything made me cry. I had some hard years and had been through some pretty traumatic experiences. I turned it all inwards. I wouldnʼt say that I had gotten suicidal. I never actually attempted to take my life, but the thoughts were there. I would smile in public, but on the inside my thoughts were very dark. I was afraid to talk to anyone about it.
After some time on medication, the issue seemed to resolve itself. I got off meds and continued on with life. I went through my first divorce and had become pregnant. I was happy about my baby but I didnʼt care about anything or anyone else. These symptoms were different from the previous spells of sorrow. I truly had no feelings. I wouldnʼt cry, wouldnʼt laugh, and didnʼt care about anything. I told the doctor my symptoms and was honestly surprised when I was diagnosed with depression. He suggested medication even though I was pregnant. I started the medication again, delivered my son, and three months later lost my mother to addiction. I have no doubt that the medicine is what kept me from going over the edge at this time in my life.
Itʼs common for new mothers to struggle with post-partum depression. Mine was very intense. My symptoms fluctuated from crying spells, irritability, loss of interest in everything, and I even got to a point where I couldnʼt eat. Anxiety began to creep up at this point, but I wasnʼt officially diagnosed with that until ten years later. It was swept under the rug as a new motherʼs exhaustion. I would have periods of insomnia followed by never ending fatigue.
I rode this crazy roller coaster for over ten years before I learned how to manage it. I know now that self-care is very important for me. I am one of the lucky ones who respond well mentally to exercise. My mental state is in a much better place when I eat healthy and exercise. That isnʼt always the case though. I am very aware now of my feelings and pay close attention to patterns. A bad day is one thing, but if it becomes a regular thing then I know itʼs time to re-evaluate the way I treat my depression.
For so many people, depression is a chronic thing. It never goes away and it may change up the symptoms. Mine have varied so much over the years, but the one thing that stayed consistent was the diagnosis. Depression.