So here’s what happened:
My body became used to the anti-depressants I had been on for a couple years and they stopped working. I started having days where I felt absolutely exhausted. My body felt heavy. I felt like a horrible person. I couldn’t keep a thought for very long. I started taking sick days. My psychiatrist and I talked and she prescribed one that was similar but “reverse.” It takes four to six weeks to fully understand how an anti-depressant will affect you, so if the first and second drugs don’t work, you’ll have been going two to three months at half potential.
While trying out new medications, I started to have more lapses. I would have arguments in my head: how many days did I have left? What did I have to complete today? Did I have a meeting? However, even those days where it was out of the question I needed to go to work, I didn’t care. I didn’t care about me, my life, how I screwed it up, nothing. Then the next day I would feel guilty. I would feel like a horrible employee asking myself why on earth would I do that? Why would I ruin my own life? Realizing I won’t be able to go home for Christmas if I keep this up. The shame and guilt would be so bad, I would end up staying home a second day because I didn’t want to show my face. Eventually, I ran out of days and about a month after trying the first drug and adding on a second, I had to come clean to my boss.
This is my most recent experience having to confess I have Depression. With more exposure, advertisements, and education, telling someone I have Depression isn’t so scary. The first time I confessed to my friends I was seeing a therapist, I was a senior in high school and I waited two months. The only reason I told them was because I had recently learned a friend of mine had gone to the hospital, had surgery, and left the hospital, all without me knowing. If I had known, I would have visited and been, well, a friend. Since I was so upset over it, I wanted to make sure my friends knew what was going on.
Things didn’t go as well as I thought they would. The stigma of seeing a therapist was still too strong. Even with the commercial about supporting friends with depression running all the time. The one where it would show a door and you heard constant knocking. Then the person whose point of view we were following would walk closer to the door and by the end you realized the person was avoiding their friend who had admitted to having a problem sought treatment. I still had two friends who did this. Some were very supportive right from the start. A few didn’t talk to me for a couple weeks, trying to process. My mom always describes me as a “happy child.” I laughed, goofed, smiled. Those who have problems work very hard to hide them. Unfortunately this only gives people more of a shock when they find out.
With roommates and boyfriends I have been upfront with my struggles. These people are choosing to be very close to me so I feel I should give them all the information before totaling committing. Those I’m not so close to, co-workers and so forth, I don’t go out of my way to inform. Thus, my boss didn’t know what I was going to say and it showed on her face.
There are still people who don’t understand how being sad can be a disease. Depression is considered a synonym for sad after all. There are others who accept it’s a disease and admit they don’t understand. There are those who are understanding and glad to hear you are getting the help you feel you need. Finally there are those who are completely supportive and it rings in every word they say.
I have personally found the best way to handle having Depression is to not treat it like it’s a big deal. Some people hear depression and automatically jump to drugs, self-harm, or suicide. By just passively mentioning I’m on medication or see a therapist, when it fits in a conversation, it becomes more of a part of who I am, not the only thing I am.