How I Came to Admit I Had Depression
Like many others, I am independent, stubborn and strong-willed. Despite being a very candid individual, I’m also fiercely private. Those things combined can make opening up and saying “I need help” very hard.
To contextualize that, 2.5 years ago — prior to my depression diagnosis — I ended up in hospital as I’d ignored a growing problem. The change had so been subtle over a prolonged period of time that I convinced myself it was OK. It wasn’t.
Similar story last year. I’d been having a tough time at work, a few personal challenges and I knew I wasn’t in great shape. However, I was working through it and trying to take care of myself — or so I thought.
The challenges stacked up, got bigger and then a real family crisis hit. I thought I had myself in check. I didn’t and instead, I capitulated further into despair.
It wasn’t until the third bout of vomiting, diarrhea and full body aching and a conversation with my wife that I admitted self-help wasn’t working.
That was a really hard conversation. Frankly, it sucked. I cried a lot and it hurt. It may sound cliché, but admitting I needed help lifted a weight. This kickstarted several months of assessments, doctors appointments and starting therapy.
Each of these conversations hurt. They filled me with dread, real physical and emotional pain. I’d feel terrible before and during, I’d be exhausted after, but each time a little more weight was jettisoned.
I cried a lot during this time. I almost felt like I was sinking further, but actually, all I was doing was admitting what I’d been denying for months. It sucked, but it was important. It put me on course to start addressing what I realized was a lifelong issue with anxiety and depression.
At this stage, I told a few friends, colleagues and family members and every time it was the same — it sucked. But it made a difference, it helped me make peace with myself and created a network of knowing and supportive people.
And the more I have done it, the easier it has become. Sure, it takes a lot of strength and bravery and it is emotionally draining, but it really helps and I know I’m not alone.
I hate that I’m reliant on doctors, medication and the support of some wonderful people, but I’m proud of myself for allowing it and grateful to all of them. I still have a lot more soul searching and growing to do, but I’ve come a long way and talking has been key to that.
So yes, talking about depression sucks, but it’s important — really important. So, stay safe and speak up.
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Thinkstock photo via KatarzynaBialasiewicz