Mental health/depression

I’ve been clinically diagnosed with chronic major depression. It sucks. If not properly managed, it’s debilitating. The feeling that it’s always ready to rear its ugly head if I slip up even slightly in managing it makes me uncomfortable. I rue its effects on my marriage, my family, and my other relationships. It’s affected my work, and I’ve been hospitalized for it. It’s been a major factor in my life since age 11. Hell, it’s why I picked my college major.

Sadly, I’ve come to grips with the fact that depression and the ensuing symptoms are part of who I am. Anyone who knows me or who has interacted with me on a regular basis can probably say that it’s affected my relationship with him/her at some point. At the very least, s/he has seen the symptoms affect me. I withdraw. I become irritable and snappy. The slightest thing sends my mood into a tailspin. I sulk, I don’t move, I stop eating, I sleep a lot (except when it decides to give me insomnia instead). In my mind everyone either despises me or doesn’t care about me at all (sometimes, paradoxically, at the same time). This of course results in a vicious cycle when I push people away and they in fact stop wanting to associate with me.

I currently have the beast under control. I have the right combination of medications and a good therapist. Not the therapist of my choice, because my insurance provider sucks, but a good one. I’m still searching for a solid, competent, personable psychiatrist. I do have a great network of friends and family who support me, even when I don’t think they do or should. That’s a lot more than most people have.

Not shockingly, mental health has become a bit of a pet issue of mine. The mind and body are not separate health-wise. What affects one affects the other. Yet mental health is treated differently by our medical/insurance system and is stigmatized. I hope that one day we can live in a world where insurance pays for significant treatment for mental-health-related problems and they’re treated no differently than, say, diabetes or cancer.

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One Response to “Mental health/depression”

  1. Amen! Great post. Although I am sorry for your ongoing struggle, I applaud your strength and earnestness, and your choice to talk honestly and openly about it.

    We all have our “things” that interrupt our lives and touch those around us–not always for the better. Depression is yours, and that of countless others. You’ve just made the world a better place by sharing the truth, dealing with it best you can, challenging the medical/insurance system to GET WITH IT, and despite it all, seeking and finding the joy in life–things like family and publishing.

    GO, SIR DON!

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