That Selfish Depression: By Quick Silver Queen
HA note: Quick Silver Queen blogs at The Eighth and Final Square. This story is reprinted with her permission. Also by Quick Silver Queen on Homeschoolers Anonymous: “All My Fault, Not Good Enough” and “My Regret”.
Depression, in my folks’ house, was deemed “selfishness”.
It was a result of thinking too much about yourself and not enough about other people. (All mental disorders, according to my parents, were just a product of bad/selfish choices.) Of course my dad was allowed to be depressed, but nobody else was…we were supposed to put on a happy mask all the time, regardless of our true feelings.
I thought when I left my parents’, everything would be great. And it was, for about ten months. For those ten months I was the happiest I can ever remember being. Then I got unexpectedly pregnant when I didn’t want to be (I wanted to wait a few years), and I immediately fell back into depression. Partly because of the pregnancy hormones I’m sure, and partly because that wasn’t the direction I wanted my life to go at that time.
I felt guilty because I shouldn’t be depressed; life wasn’t as bad as at my folks’, so I didn’t have a right to be depressed, right?
After Ari was born my depression got even worse… it was so bad that I didn’t even want to move or get out of bed. Ari was literally the only reason I got out of bed in the morning, because I had to take care of her. I realized that something was seriously wrong and I needed to get help, so I set up an appointment with a “therapist”, who I never went back to — she spent half the time talking about her kids, and half the time actually talking about me.
After that I was really skittish about trying to go somewhere else.
Unfortunately, depression is a disorder where one of the symptoms is also the lack of motivation about getting help! Partly, I was afraid that I would go and they would tell me I was fine, since everything that happened to me at my parents’ was supposed to be not as bad as whatever happened to everyone else! Everything just felt useless, and I just barely got through the days. I wasn’t suicidal (like at my parents’), but it was still really bad.
About two months ago I just got fed up with it.
I was so tired of feeling tired and depressed with no energy or motivation.
I was always frustrated and irritated and I cried frequently. I just got sick of it. So I got up at 6 am to be at the Family & Children’s building at 8. Family & Children’s helps low-income people with many things including mental disorders. I went through the orientation and intake, and went back three days later to talk to one of the doctors. I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD, or just clinical depression), and given Zoloft.
I’ve been on it for six weeks and the difference has been amazing!
I have energy, motivation, and the ability to actually feel happy. I’ve lost 10lbs so far. I’ve been cooking more and keeping the house clean. I’ve also been less irritable and frustrated. Of course I still get depressed sometimes, but it’s not nearly as bad, and it never lasts as long.
When I do get depressed now I think to myself “holy shit, how did I ever live like this for years?!”
The thing is, people like my parents don’t understand that mental disorders are actual physical differences in someone’s brain. Most times it can be helped through medication, just like other physical ailments. It has to do with the balance of chemicals and hormones in one’s brain, and that’s nothing you can consciously fix any more than my dad can will away his ankylosing spondylitis (which he takes medication for). It’s nothing to be ashamed of, though many people are because of the culturally negative connotations of a “mental patient” and people being “crazy”.
As for me…it’s a part of me, whether I like it or not.
I unashamedly take medication for a physical condition I can’t fix. Just because that condition happens to be in my brain and affect my emotions and mood doesn’t make me any less of a whole person than anyone else. I’m writing about this today so hopefully someone will see it and be encouraged to get help for their own mental disorder.
It’s not your fault.