Monday / September 05 / 2011
Dealing with depression: a personal story
News of social media guru Trey Pennington’s suicide spread rampantly across social media channels last night, forcing me – and thousands of others – to look squarely at dealing with depression. And for me, it’s personal…
I Have Depression, Too.
Most people assume because I’m upbeat, expressive, friendly, and outgoing that I couldn’t possibly suffer with such an illness. But I do. I first noticed my symptoms of depression about four years ago, but it wasn’t until late last year I was left with no choice but to deal with them.
I was not myself. It all felt so foreign. Not only was I sad to the point of frequent sobbing, exhausted to the point I could lay down anytime, anywhere and sleep for hours without ever feeling rested — but too, I had grown completely apathetic.
Depression was like kryptonite to my usual ‘handle-whatever-comes-my-way’ ability and they battled each other fiercely. I needed help. And with the loving guidance and encouragement of my husband, I sought it.
Professional life-shifter (love that title) Bridget Pilloud penned a very brave post about depression yesterday following the news of Trey’s suicide. That blog post is no longer available online, but she shared the battle of her own depression, the illness that so many deal with, often times in secret. “It’s not something that people need to just get over. It’s not something that people can help.”
I wonder if you realize:
* 54% of people believe depression is a personal weakness
* 80% of depressed people are not currently having any treatment
* 15% of depressed people will commit suicide
* Depression will be the second largest killer after heart disease by 2020 — and studies show depression is a contributory factor to fatal coronary disease
We need to stop perpetuating the myth that depression is “all in your head” or “only affects the weak”.
I, like Bridget Pilloud, do everything I can to keep my depression under control. The first and most important thing I (finally) did was seek help. Exercise, yoga, prayer, guided relaxation (especially before sleep), walks with my pup, breathing exercises, a healthy diet – along with authentic conversations with my therapist and the right meds – work for me.
I had come to a very good place and my depression was under control. It was like the sun had come out and a new day had dawned. It was truly like I had been reborn. The freedom was exhilarating.
These past few months, however, I’ve become quietly pensive. If you know me at a deep level, you’ve noticed.
Here’s The Sad Truth.
My battle now is with the new anti-depressant medication I’m forced to take because my new health insurance company won’t cover the med that’s proven to WORK GREAT for me. “It’s too expensive” they said with clinical precision – and they don’t see the value in it. I’m left wondering why health insurance administrators yield more power than my physician over decisions so acutely affecting my health and well-being. Why are they empowered to override the recommendation of the licensed physician who knows me so well?
It pains an extrovert who is truly energized by others to once again start avoiding social situations, find excuses to not participate in activities, and be apathetic about reaching out to and sharing life with loved ones. I wrestle with making it better and it’s often a battle I don’t… more aptly, can’t win.
I don’t want to mislead you and make you think I’m on the edge of suicide, because I am not – at all. I do battle with great sadness and apathy, but am one of the fortunate not to be pushed toward suicidal thoughts. And when I’m able to once again balance the chemical piece of all this, I will once again relish the sunshine on my face.
I’m learning more and more about this disease called depression and, well… it’s ugly. Please. Reach out to those you cherish. Listen. Learn about dealing with depression. Care. THANK YOU!