Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Because it's time for another one ...

If I was a celebrity, I could write a book and make an assload of money. But I'm not, I'm just a regular person who has struggled with depression my whole life, so I'll talk about it here instead.

I've written about this before, but I think sometimes it deems repeating. I have depression. Dysthymia, to be exact. Dysthymia is an ongoing, low-grade depression. Stress can exacerbate major depression. I found this out when Adam did a paper on dysthymia for a class. (It was nice to see him try to learn more about what affected me, and how to deal with it.) I found it a tad bit hilarious that I married a man in the military without ever knowing I had dysthymia. Stress? Yeah, what military wife doesn't deal with stress?

I'm glad that depression is no longer a social stigma. It can really, really hinder me, and if people know this about me, and understand it, it's that much more helpful to me. I can't understand people who don't think medication is necessary. (I will point out that I am not on any sort of medication, but I feel strongly about this.) If your friend told you she had cancer, would you tell her not to treat it? Depression is an illness, and if it can be helped with medication, why not?

If you've never experienced depression, count your fucking blessings. If you know someone who does, try to understand. It's not something we can just "snap out of" or forget about. It affects us every minute of every day. I would love to be depression-free for the rest of my life. But that's not possible. Dysthymia will affect me for the rest of my life.

I've learned the warning signs of when I'm falling into a major depression. I've had two major depressive episodes in my life. I hit rock bottom, literally. I look back now and am glad I'm alive. I don't even remember much of those episodes, that's how unlike myself I was at that time. I thank God for those around me who helped and understood, and saved me before it was too late.

Depression is real. (Oh damn I sound like the Cymbalta commercials that actually make me more depressed.) Life is tough, no doubt, and depression can make it seem that much tougher. If you have a loved one with depression, reach out to them. Sometimes we need more help than we let on, or even know that we do.


Peeved Michelle said...

Why don't you take medication for it?

Erin said...

I have a lot of reasons, Michelle. First and foremost, I admit I'm a horrible pill taker. The only pill I was able to take longer than 3 days was the BCP, and that was because I didn't want to get pregnant.
I've been on many different anti-depressants, and just never felt any different when I did take them like I was supposed to. I think I became complacent.

I'm not trying to be a martyr. (The first thing I asked for when I went to the hospital to have Addison was the epidural.)

I've found that I can be stronger than the dysthymia. I have no hesitation calling the doctor if I feel like I need help though. It's been many years since I was on any anti-depressant.

Making the move to Savannah was the best thing that could have happened to me, and it's made a world of difference to live somewhere I really, really love.

Kate the Peon said...

Dysthymia was described to me once as the "walking pneumonia" of depressions. Which means lots of folks go untreated for lots longer than they should.

The diabetes example is one that has been tossed my way a lot: if you were diabetic, you wouldn't hesitate to take medicine, so why do you hesitate with depression?

Thanks for your post, Erin.