As I was watching last week episode of ‘This is Us’ and Toby’s struggles with his depression, it took me back to the time when I heard the words uttered to me ‘you have depression’. No one never want to hear those words, let alone believe them. Studies have shown that 1 out of 12 people are diagnosed with depression every year and that women are more prevalent to having depression than men.
Before I started seeing a therapist, I saw the signs but ignored them. I was in a abusive relationship and did not realize at the time how detrimental it was to my mental health. I would wake up crying everyday because I felt like shit and honestly didn’t want to live anymore. I would wonder ‘why me’? Why was I put in this predicament with a man that hates me one minute and loves me the next? I wouldn’t eat, no desire to have sex with him (I felt disgusted when we would be intimate). I had no desire to tend to my children, let alone get out of my bed. I was always sad and mostly stay to myself at work and school for fear someone would start asking me questions and I would just bust out in tears. It was days, I felt like giving up. I thought that my children would be better off without me. It saddens me as I sit and write this because it’s a place in my life I hate to revisit. It’s hard to phantom that I use to be in a dark place in my life and no one knew it, I shut out my entire family and rarely hardly made any friends. It’s hard to open up to people in fear of being judge. How can you tell someone that you are internally spiraling out of control and don’t know what to do or that you feel alone in a world full of people.
See, I knew something was wrong with me but I was too scared to admit it, let alone admit it to others. I finally came to the conclusion that I needed help when my abusive boyfriend purposed to me. I felt nothing when he did it because to me it was too late. After months of threatening me, hitting me, humiliating me, I didn’t see myself loving him no more- hell I didn’t even like him ( I fucking hated him) but I reluctantly accepted his ring. Why was that? Maybe I thought being engage would change how he treated me and maybe changed my feelings for him. Boy, was I wrong. The abuse became more intense- to the point that if he even raised his voice I would flinch, I was terrified of him. The last incident, I told him I couldn’t do ‘this’ no more and try to give him back his ring. He wouldn’t accept it and went on with his sob story about how much he loved me and that he will not place his hands on me again. I convinced him that we should do couples counseling before deciding on moving forward with the engagement. Surprisingly, he agreed and we started counseling immediately. I remember the first session like it was yesterday. The whole time he sat there and went on and on and on about how he is such a good man and provider. He said that all I do is just sneak behind his back, cheating on him while he work all day and he is tired of being this amazing man that does everything for me. As I sat and listened to him, I became completely numb. I wanted to scream out- tell her how you just beat the shit out of me because you thought I had a man in the house or tell her how you just went to my job and humiliated me because you thought I was missing around with a coworker or tell her the many times you told me I was a piece of shit in front of my children- but I couldn’t- All I did was sat there and cried. The therapist saw how upset I was and asked if she could see me separately at another time. He was so angry about that suggestion- he told her that I will not be seeing her by myself and that we agree to seek counseling together. The therapist explained that she like to see couples individual to get a better picture of the problem. He reluctantly agreed but that entire week leading up to my appointment he sure as hell try to convince me that we don’t need to see her anymore and either went as far as saying that she going to cause ‘us’ to break up.
I knew deep down I needed to see her so I told him I wasn’t but secretly went. During my individual session with the therapist, I was nervous and didn’t know where to even start. She was amazingly comforting and explained to me that anything I disclosed was confidential. She asked me about my childhood, family and me. When it came to answering questions about me, I couldn’t. My responses always included my boyfriend and my children- I never had nothing nice to say about myself. This man had me believing that everything bad that was going on in our relationship was my fault. Every time a man was nice to me it was because I even was asking for the attention or fucking him. I drop out of college because he kept accusing me of not studying when I was and would call me every 30 mins while in class and I felt obligated to answer to avoid another nasty scene. At that point I wasn’t able to concentrate and lost all thrive to continue on with school. I starting feeling this way about work and would call out constantly which cause me to loss more jobs that I could count.
After several sessions with the therapist, she recommended I see a psychiatrist because of my symptoms. When the psychiatrist announced that I had Depression- I was completely numb. I was in denial because how could I have a mental Illness. I blamed how I was feeling on the situation I was in but in reality I was depressed for a very long time before this situation, this just intensified my symptoms. I initially refused to accepted this diagnosis and walked out. I honestly don’t know what made me changed my mind- maybe it was when I broke down one night and couldn’t stop crying after another ugly argument with my boyfriend. My children kept asking me what was wrong and I just couldn’t stop crying, I felt like ending my life right then and there. My oldest son, who was about 7 at the time, gave me a big hug and told me that everything will be alright. From that exact moment, I knew everything was going to be okay because I had to make it okay.
I went back to the psychiatrist a couple days later and she prescribed me a antidepressant called Bupropion. I never been a believer in medicine and it’s healing affects but when I tell you that once this medication started doing it’s job- I begin seeing everything clearly. I was able to focus again, sleep soundly and the crying begin to decrease slowly but surely. The only problem I had with the medication was that I felt numb to everything. I had started to become emotionless in which I didn’t mind when it came to dealing with my boyfriend but when interacting with my children, it was devastating. The doctor had to keep tweaking the dosage until it balanced out in my system.
People don’t believe that Depression is real but trust me it is as real as you see portray on television. Depression can hit you at any moment without any warning and it is the worst predicament to be in. Some clinical signs to look out for are:
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
- Mood swings
- Sleep pattern changes
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive crying
- Lack of concentration
- Social isolation
- Weight gain or loss
- Aches, pains, headaches or cramps
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts