I was sixteen when I was diagnosed with clinical depression. I remember that part being important, the clinical part. I’d gotten mono and couldn’t swim for two weeks. Two weeks of not training in competitive swimming, which was at the time, the center of my world. It was the catalyst, I suppose. Looking back it’s like a flip was switched in my brain. I slipped and never came back. I was the only one who was surprised. My doctor told me they’d basically been waiting for me to come in. My uncle slapped me on the back and said, “Welcome to the family kid,” while we compared medication around the kitchen island. There are certain drugs that were ruled out before I’d even stepped foot in the door because my parents didn’t do well on them.
I get it honest with a history of depression on both sides of my family. Armed with that knowledge and the fact that it’s a chemical imbalance I’ve never been one of those people who has a problem taking her meds. My brain works differently. It’s not a crutch or an excuse, just reality.
I’ve been on and off antidepressants for fourteen years and for reasons I don’t understand it was a lot harder to start up again. I’m more comfortable talking about depression that I’ve ever been, but making that phone call to my doctor was harder than it should have been. And it’s different this time around. There’s an anxiety that follows me around that wasn’t there before. In the years that I was off medication I started jobs, moved, lost jobs, experienced panic attacks. So, we’re approaching it a little differently. It makes sense. I’m not the same person I was.
It feels like I should have this all figured out by now. I’m better at recognizing the signs of when I’m slipping, like I am now. I’m trying to get better at taking care of myself. Of letting others take care of me, too.
Depression is lonely. It’s isolating and nearly impossible to remember that you’re not alone (one of the best posts on depression ever). It’s a vicious cycle of wanting to be left alone and feeling abandoned when people actually listen to you. It’s learning to push aside that voice listing all my faults and remember that depression lies.
It’s a constant and every day thing. There is no one fix. That switch won’t ever be un-flipped, but I’m hoping to find a balance soon. I’m working on it. I’m just not there yet.