Hello, and welcome to my very first #MentalHealthMonday post! This is a weekly (or however often, honestly) discussion I discovered through one of my favorite book bloggers, Wendy @ what the log had to say. On my old blog, I really enjoyed the opportunity to talk more honestly about my mental health in a way that I don’t feel comfortable or safe doing in real life. I hope to do several of these posts in the coming months. I figured I should start by talking a little bit about my
hisherstory of depression, and how it’s affected my life so far.
I have been dealing with clinical depression for the past 11 years, give or take. I first noticed depression around my junior or senior year of high school. I was going through a bit of a rough time socially; not only was I always slightly on the outside with the majority of my peers, but at that time, one of my best friends had begun to drift away from me for reasons I couldn’t discern. I had always been pretty introspective, but the vacuum left by my closest friend meant I turned inward a lot more.
While my voracious journaling helped me to keep my head on straight, it also meant that I was dwelling a lot more on my emotions than was perhaps healthy. I became extremely melancholy and lost all interest in normal activities. I remember coming home from school, plugging into my iPod’s endless stream of sad music, and crying until I fell asleep. Eventually, my parents caught onto what was happening, and I was able to get help. I got a prescription for Lexapro from the family doctor and I started seeing a therapist in the early spring of my senior year of high school.
Since then, I have been in and out of therapy about five times, and I’ve been on and off medication about as many times. I am fortunate, in that I have relatively mild to moderate depression that mostly gets bad in the winter and fades around springtime. I tend to get a lot better and go off meds/therapy for a while, only to get hit with the brunt of my depression in the fall. Depression makes me feel like I’m incapable of handling even the most basic of tasks until I slowly build myself back up again. Still, I have access to resources when I truly need them, as well as a family that supports and encourages me along my path to growth as a person. Compared to a lot of people who struggle with depression, I am extremely privileged. I recognize this more and more as the years go on.
Currently, I’m on a pretty low dose of Zoloft, which keeps my mood stable and my emotions manageable, but I’m not currently seeing a therapist since I don’t have health insurance. I started doing regular yoga about two years ago, and this past fall I added in a daily meditation practice to keep myself grounded. I feel blessed to have reached this level of stability, but, like any good depressive, I know that my next downswing could be right around the corner. And this, to me, is the hardest part of living with depression: even my good months are somewhat clouded by the fear that it’s all temporary, that I will always be someone living with depression, even when I’m living in recovery. Which is why I refer to myself as a “depression warrior”—no matter how I’m doing in this moment, my mental health is always something I have to fight for. I am fortunate in that I have the tools to fight for myself and I know now that I’m worth it.