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5 Things I Wish I Would've Known When I Was Diagnosed With Depression

These are five things I wish I would have known when I was diagnosed with depression.

1. Depression is not a sign of weakness. I deemed myself as weak, as if nothing would get better because I had depression. But truly, this was not the case. Fighting my own mind has made everything more difficult to say the least. Depression isn’t something you wake up with one day or something you chose to have.

2. It doesn’t hurt just mentally. Huge amounts of energy are put into small everyday tasks such as getting out of bed, eating or taking a shower. I feel constant headaches, back pain and joint pain from the battle I face every day. Yes, it may be a mental illness but my illness has also affected me with stress eating, lack of sleep and the constant fatigue. For a 19-year-old in college, this becomes a challenge daily.

3. Taking medication is not a sign of giving up. I started taking medication when I was first diagnosed with depression, even though my doctor didn’t like prescribing that type of medication for me at 16. I was ashamed at first, that I was taking medication to make me feel numb. But this was hardly the case — the medication made it easier for me function. Yes, I was still depressed and had anxiety but it helped me cope better with certain situations and gave me the sense of help I needed at the time.

4. Pushing myself isn’t always the best idea. I learned this fairly quick. I was told not to let my depression get the best of me and to constantly push through, but of course, this was easier said than done. Once I started pushing myself, my depression worsened, and I went into a state I wish to never enter again. I now know that pushing yourself can be good, but when diagnosed with a mental illness, it’s better to take each step at a time and move at your own pace.

5. Sometimes you just need a break. Especially with a mental illness, try not to let the world around you overwhelm your situation. Give yourself some time to breathe when needed and always leave parts of the day designated for self-care. I needed these breaks fairly often and they began to calm me down in situations when I couldn’t control the outcome or what was going on.

I was diagnosed with depression at the age of 16 and now having with this mental illness for three years now, I want people to know it is nothing to be ashamed of. Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

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