Yesterday the tabloids were filled with “Breaking News” about Pete Davidson, Kanye West, and mental health. While people have differing opinions on those celebrities themselves, I felt the conversation opening back up about mental illness was an important one...one I would like to be a part of.
I wrote this blog post about a month ago, but wasn’t brave enough to share. Now that I am doing better each day, I realized while the National attention is on mental health, this could be a small part of a larger solution......
That’s what I feel. Not necessarily sadness, but simply nothing.
“Go for a workout.”
“Pull yourself together.”
“It’s just a lack of motivation.”
For those who have never experienced severe clinical depression, their words are misguided.
Normally when I blog, it’s because I’ve reached the other side of an experience. I have words of wisdom, a positive ending...
But this is different. I’m still in the middle of it.
A few weeks ago it was a monumental task to brush my teeth. And that’s not an exaggeration. Getting myself in the bath felt like lifting a ton of bricks into the tub.
Yet, how could I be so depressed when I have so much to be thankful for? A job, friends, family, dog, apartment, etc. Well, because depression isn’t a lack of motivation , gratefulness, or desire to be well. It’s chemical.
Think of all of the celebrities who have ended their lives because of depression. They had fame, family, and more money than they could ever spend. But depression doesn’t discriminate, and money doesn’t fix everything.
My depression isn’t a new development. I believe it was triggered by the passing of my best friend in college, and has hung around since. I began taking antidepressants around 2010, and have since been on a roller coaster of doses and brands.
My most recent episode left me with painful frustration, not just at the fact that I realized this will be a lifelong battle, but that our healthcare system is still so unequipped to address mental illness.
A few weeks ago I had hit a new low. My physical pain was so great that I had simply lost the drive to fight. I had no intention to hurt myself, instead I had lost the ability to feel joy and excitement about my future. I knew I needed help.
I found myself in the ER addressing my physical issues, but when the subject of my mental health came up, there were no follow-up questions or solutions. I saw a separate doctor who told me he doesn’t “address mental health”. When I called to make an appointment with the psychiatrist he recommended, they said they were only booking patients for July. As in, July 2019. The next psychiatrist didn’t take my insurance. The next required two appointments before addressing antidepressants. And on, and on.
I’m blessed to live in a time where I feel comfortable discussing mental health, but I still believe we have a ways to go. Even as a privileged, educated individual, I felt disgusted by this system.
Eventually I was able to find a doctor to change my medication, but even then there are hurdles of side effects that come with those changes. I have an incredible therapist, but unfortunately the cost is simply too high to go as often as I need. Add that on to the crushing hospital bill and it leaves one in an even more depressed state.
I wish I could wrap this up with a pretty bow. I wish I was on the other side of this telling you now I’m in a happy, balanced state. But not yet. For now it’s simply a blog to tell those of you going through something similar that I GET YOU. That we WILL be okay. This is temporary, and this too shall pass. That I am confident of.
And for those of you who are blessed to not relate to anything above, I offer this food for thought....
A forum I read likened clinical depression to shoveling snow. Some days you shovel the snow effortlessly, back your car out, and go to work. Other days the weight of the snow is too much to pick up. You’re tired and can’t do it alone.
If you see someone struggling to lift their shovel, my plea is to take ahold of theirs and help start digging.
If you need help, please call 1-800-273-8255.