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Sorry guys, but it’s gonna get a tad bit heavy in today’s post. I hate to do that to you all on a Monday, but it is what it is. A few months ago I shared that I was cutting back on blogging for a bit because I was dealing with depression. It was a bit of a downer, and, to be honest, it was embarrassing and terrifying to share. I don’t regret sharing, but I figured considering I received a wonderful amount of texts and emails from wonderful readers, I owed it to you all for an update.

My story of depression // What it felt like, my symptoms and the process of getting help.

What I was experiencing

I don’t really want to share a bunch of details about what I sharing, but I think it’s important to give a perspective of what it was like to experience, both for people who don’t understand and for people who are going through it. I think the most important thing to realize with depression is there is no standard “look” of depression. Yes, there are warning signs, but you can’t just look at a person and know. You also can’t discount a person because of how they look. The only person who knew I was depressed was Carl, and that’s because he’s around me all the time. Even in my lowest mood, I could crack a joke like the best of them. Robin Williams is an unfortunate example of this. Humor cannot discount the seriousness of one’s depression.

Carl knew before I was that I was dealing with depression that needed help. Daily tasks were getting harder and harder to do. Little to nothing could send me into the weepiest puddle of a person. My enjoyment and desire to actually do well at work disappeared. My typical “I’m gonna rule the world” ambition was nowhere to be found. The scariest development was the daily suicidal thoughts. I could drive down the road on the normallist of days and out of nowhere think I should just drive my car into a tree. ¬†Fortunately the thought process I possess prevented me from every considering doing that for a second. The biggest confirmation of my depression was knowing in my mind I had absolutely nothing the be upset about. I have the most wonderful and supportive husband, I have a job that I could not love more and I’m living in a beautiful apartment with no financial concerns. We had found so much success over our years of trouble, and now that we got there I couldn’t be happy. That’s when I knew I needed real help to get back to my normal self.

What I was concerned about

My desire to get back to normal motivated me to get help without hesitation, but I completely understand a person’s fear of doing so. My first concern was I did’t want to have to talk about my feelings. I like my privacy. I also did not have any emotional concerns. I was worried about having to sit on a couch and talk to something about how I felt about different things.

I was afraid of people knowing and trying to comfort me. I consider myself a badass beast. I don’t want pity and I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. I’m a strong person. The thought of a person thinking I was weak really actually bothers me. I would never want someone to feel like they need to walk on eggshells around me because they think I can’t handle something. I know putting out a blog post declaring my depression isn’t the best way to keep it a secret, but I think it was important. Part of me wanted understanding for needing time alone or absent for a bit, and another part of me wanted people to know that a person can still act normal and positive and still be depressed.

What getting help was like

I called and made an appointment with a family practice doctor. On the phone with the nurse making the appointment, all I had to say was I wanted an appointment to discuss treatment for depression and the appointment was made. I didn’t have to pour my soul to the nurse to get an appointment. I was a new patient so I had to wait nearly a month for the earliest appointment. Assuming you aren’t a new patient, you won’t have to wait nearly as long to see your doctor.

The appointment went just like any other. I waited in the waiting room longer than I wanted and the nurse took my blood pressure etc. When the doctor came in he did a little bit of small talk then got down to business. He asked why I was concerned I was depressed. I told him about my irrational mood swings, lack of interest in my regular/favorite activities, and suicidal thoughts. He asked if there was anything going on my life that was upsetting me emotionally. I said I had a great husband, job, and family and no reason to be having any problems. He also asked if I had put any thought or planning into the suicidal thoughts I was having and I told him I hadn’t.

He determined my depression was not a result of struggles in my life and recommended a prescription. He ordered blood work to make sure there were no issues to be concerned about and informed me about the medication. He told me about any side effects I might experience and what to do if I experience them. He also told me how long it would take to see change. It would take up to four weeks to notice a change, but others might notice I’m different at two to three weeks. After all questions were answered, an appointment was made to follow up a month later.

How things are now

After a month, I didn’t experience much change. My doctor upped my dosage since I wasn’t experiencing any side effects. Since then I’m back to my normal self. I don’t feel medicated and I don’t act any different. My medicine¬†doesn’t make me feel like a unicorn riding over a rainbow, it’s not magic. I’m just back to having the motivation to live life like I used to. My old habits are back to being enjoyable and I’m no longer experiencing any crazy mood swings. The only thing to keep in mind with my medicine is I am advised to not get pregnant while taking it. Once Carl and I are ready for babies, I just have to inform my doctor once we’re ready and he’ll direct me on how to stop the medication.

Other thoughts

Getting help doesn’t have to be public

If I hadn’t of posted a blog post about my depression, the only people that would have known would be Carl and my doctors. Being diagnosed with depression doesn’t have to be a huge public ordeal.

You don’t have to discuss it with everyone

I did get a few messages from friends and readers when I shared that I was dealing with depression. Pretty much every message was the same, the person shared their experience with depression and offered help/listening ear should I ever need it. If I didn’t speak about depression again, they didn’t bring it up. My boss read my blog, so she obviously knows what was going on, but she never had an awkward “so how are you doing,” chat with me. (Btw, thanks for that.) Don’t be afraid to get help because you think it will turn into a huge public event.

People won’t look at you differently

I don’t get weird looks from my friends because they know I’m on antidepressants. To honest, sharing my story opened my eyes to the fact many people I know are currently or have been on some sort of treatment for depression. Life is hard, being an adult is crazy stressful, nobody will look at you differently for needing help.

Resources

Depression is a serious problem and I’m lucky I sought help very early on. If you feel as though you are depressed, call you doctor and make an appointment. At the very least tell someone you spend a lot of time with. The biggest thing to take away from this post is, know that getting help doesn’t have to be scary or overwhelming.

 

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  • You are awesome Katie! I know it’s scary to put yourself there in a post like this, but you’re going to help a lot of people by doing it! Thank you!!

  • Don’t for a second think sharing this publicly makes you look weak… in fact, it’s the opposite. It takes a strong person to share something so private, to address it and to ask for help. I admire you for doing so and I’m glad you’re feeling better!

  • So much respect for you for posting this! <333

  • I was depressed a few years ago. I actually took a much different approach to my treatment. I went and saw someone first – for about a year – before I decided to get on meds. I actually really liked talking about how things were going (I kept a journal and we would mostly discuss what I had written in it). Sometimes I feel myself slipping back into the person I was then, but I haven’t been back yet.

    It’s hard to take that step to get help for yourself, but congrats on realizing that you needed to talk to someone. I am glad that you found a drug to help you too.

  • I love that you posted this. It takes a lot of guts to do so. I’ve dealt with depression for quite a while too and I’ve considered posting about it. My post for tomorrow is a lot like this as well, so I’m glad that I’m not the only person in the blogosphere who is going heavy this week. I hope that you continue to feel a little better thanks to your meds. <3

  • I still battle with (now) treatment resistant depression. When I was in college, no one knew. If I had 2 seconds to myself, even in a bathroom stall, I would breakdown crying. Like you, I started with my family doctor because I hadn’t seen a psychiatrist since I was little (depression and Tourette’s). When I got treatment and came back to college and told my roommate, plus my best friend, they had no idea that I’d been crying in the dorm room or anything. I seemed completely normal and social–what they didn’t know was I wasn’t enjoying things anymore. I still deal with it (now more than ever), but I’m glad you shared your story because I’ve had to talk more than one friend into getting help. Like, even if it’s just a short course of medication or counseling–because no one should have to live in prolonged depression.
    I’ll actually be at the Mayo Clinic because they can’t find a medication (along with counseling) that controls mine without terrible neurological side effects. But, most people, including me before I developed dystonia, are able to get help once they make that first step.
    I’m also glad you included what the appointment was like because that can be huge barrier.

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  • This is so powerful and well written. Have you thought about seeing a therapist? They might be able to help provide some insight into how you’re feeling, especially if you feel like you “shouldn’t” feel the way you do. Although sometimes people just have the chemical imbalance and that’s all there is to it!

  • I am actually currently dealing with some form of depression. Now that I am 26, I realize that most of my life, I’ve been dealing with it. I just never really admitted it to myself. I don’t have a terrible life. I’m not homeless or jobless. But I deal with a lot of flack from my family regarding my lifestyle. Just because they don’t agree with it, I get lectured at work (I work for my dad and uncles), my boyfriend gets the cold shoulder from them, and I can’t even mention his name around my dad. Like I said, I’m 26 now. These are my life decisions, and it’s been almost 3 years since I met my boyfriend and they are STILL in this mindset.

    So, in order to deal with my depression, caused by this rejection and drama, I started a personal blog (2nd listed below). If you ever want to stop by, I’d be oh so flattered. I’m tired of feeling like I’m insignificant and worthless, so I decided to write about it in the hope that I can talk myself out of these thoughts. I don’t think about suicide anymore, but I do have terrible habits when I’m in that dark place. I’ve seen a therapist before and it didn’t help much. Now, I have more control over it, but I still get myself down at least once a week. It’s just a very difficult personal battle.

    Thanks for sharing. You are not alone.

    -Sarah
    http://fromdogwoodstomagnolias.blogspot.com
    http://strivingforaudrey.blogspot.com/

  • So brave of you to write this post! I know many have to deal with depression and I believe that no one should go through that alone! I’m sure you have just helped many by sharing your story <3

  • You’re an amazing human being. Not only just for sharing your story and struggles with depression, but also because I simply think you’re awesome. I’m so glad you had the foresight to seek help, but also that you have someone so special to you to notice when you’re feeling down and help you along the way.

    xxoox

  • Thank you for sharing this. I know that this will help out others who are dealing with depression. I don’t know much about it but having a friend or family members that have this helps me know how to be good to them as they go through treatment.