What Happened When I Found the Right Doctor for My Depression
Please see a doctor before starting or stopping a medication.
Everyone handles their mental health in different ways. Some people turn to the gym for stress release and waves of endorphins. There are people who turn to meditation, mindfulness, spirituality and religion for peace of mind and body. Therapy is another way people find clarity and control over their demons. There are people who take medication to help treat their mental illness, and people who do one or more of the above. Whatever path you choose to find healing is your decision, and it is no one else’s job to judge your path. We are all different people and therefore need different things. Healing is not a one-size-fits-all deal, and we should all be encouraged to find what helps us.
I began my healing in 2013 when I first graduated high school and was off to college. I always knew I had depression, but I never saw it for the monster it was. I had been in therapy since I was about 8 years old due to my parents’ divorce and I felt like I was doing fine. I went to college in the fall and started to experience extreme panic attacks and fell into a deep depression. I dropped out a month later and moved home to “solve” this hiccup in my path. A few appointments later, I found my way to a new doctor (since I was too old for my pediatrician) and was put on antidepressants for my depression. This continued until 2016 when I found a new physician, since mine was getting me nowhere, and decided to find an adult therapist. I was put on three different medications, went to intensive therapy on and off and found myself at college graduation three years later. Honestly? I was proud I made it that far because during that time I was drowning. I was taking medicine, working out every day, going to therapy… but why wasn’t I better?
I moved home and began the search for a full-time job. The transition to adulthood is hard and it is very real. My anxiety and depression were still there in full swing, but I was able to get through a few months without a total meltdown. After weeks of interviews, I was offered a job; and two weeks into it, I quit. I spiraled right back into the deep end and immediately ran to my general doctor for a medication change. A year went by, I thought I solved it and was offered a similar position to the one before. Two days after accepting the job offer, I spiraled into a manic episode and crashed. I started my new job and shortly after, almost landed myself in the hospital from violent panic attacks. I quit. I had to start all over, where was I even supposed to begin?
This was me August of 2019. This was me two months ago. In those two months, I have found more answers than I ever have before. Do you want to know how?
I found a professional in the field.
Not a general doctor.
Not a family therapist.
But rather a psychiatrist who specializes in treating mental illness day in and day out. A therapist who met me where I was and continues to challenge me in ways I can understand.
I share this story because mental illness is no joke. It is not fake, it is not something that people make up. It is real and it is raw. My brain is sick and I had spent the last six years searching for answers from people who were not qualified to give me any. It is vital to find someone who specializes in what you are searching for. Do you want to know how I know?
My psychiatrist spent my first appointment talking to me about my life, then ran a DNA test to see what medications would work with my genetics. It turns out, the five different medications I tried and was rotated on did not work for my genetics. Not one. Chemically, they were not a match. I spent six years spending money and searching for answers in people who did not have the background to help me.
If you want to change your medication, or start taking it, find someone who specializes in it. If you want to start working out and don’t know where to start, find a trainer at a nearby gym. If you want to learn meditation, find a class or research it. If you want to delve deeper into spirituality, find a spiritual guide to help you.
Healing is important and hard, but I can promise you finding someone you can trust and someone to guide you will make the largest difference in the world. I have made more progress in four months than I have in six years. I owe it all to the professionals who work hard to help people such as myself for a living. If you are struggling and looking for help, ask around to your family, friends or community. There are more people than you know who are in the same boat and they may have some insight to help get you where you need to be. Your path is not a one-size-fits-all and every journey is different. Find what gives you strength and dive headfirst into it. Healing is hard, but it is so worth it.
Getty image by Aleksandra Golubtsova