An Update On My Depression
A few months ago, I wrote an article about my realization that I had some form of depression. Due to a lot of complications with depression and anxiety over the course of the first half of the year, I went to the doctor to try to fight this thing. On Thursday, June 29, 2017, I was officially diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder.
Many people find it hard to share their medical conditions with the entire world, let alone their friends and family members (especially when it comes to mental health). For me, however, this has never been a problem. I just want to bring awareness to the importance of mental health. It’s just important as your physical health. So, I just wanted to share with you guys an update on how everything’s been going with the diagnosis and treatment so far.
An Update On My Depression
As I stated in the previous article about my experience with depression back in April, work had gotten extremely difficult for me. After a while, it had gotten to the point to where I would wake up and start balling my eyes out, because I thought I couldn’t make it through the day.
Doing simple day to day things such as showering, brushing my teeth, combing my hair, cleaning my house, cooking… all of the things that a woman does to take care of herself and her household, was now nearly impossible for me. I felt so low and my view of myself as a wife and a woman was that I was incapable. Like, why would my husband want to stick around for this? How would I ever be capable of caring for children one day if I were to stay like this?
But my mental capacity at this moment, quite frankly, had me stuck. Like I couldn’t get out of this funk, no matter how hard I wanted to. So I quit working to focus on my mental health.
A few weeks after leaving my job, I was at a birthday party for two year olds and I had a breakdown in front of my grandmother and my great aunt. I can’t even begin to tell you how embarrassing this was, y’all.
I felt like I was acting like a child. I couldn’t control my tears. I had no idea what was wrong with me. My aunt, Alicia was there for me that day! I’m glad she was there to calm me down.
But in my head, I just knew that my grandmother and her siblings have been through so much. They lost their mother at a very young age as well as a brother. And I had never seen them break down. This made me feel small. I literally had nothing to be depressed about.
Looking back on this, however, I know my thinking was off. Of course they had, had their breakdowns. They have just learned how to handle it, I guess. And my depression wasn’t necessarily caused due to circumstance or situation, this seemed to be more chemical.
This wasn’t how I was thinking at the time, so I started to try to hide my depression once again.
By May 2017, I had taken a month off of work and I thought that was enough for me to try to start working again. Franklin, my husband, tried to talk me out of it. He wanted me to seek medical treatment before putting myself out there again.
I, however, being super depressed, felt like I was being a burden on him. Like me not working was hindering our progress. I knew that we had planned on trying to start for our first kid soon, so I needed to do my part to be able to help financially.
As always, I should have listened to Franklin.
Two weeks into this new job, I would wake up tearful again. I was having anxiety attacks on the highway on the way to work. It just wasn’t good. But I couldn’t give up. I would only have to drive into work for training for 5 weeks and then I’d be working from home.
But then, I started having anxiety attacks during training when we had phone calls. On June 29, 2017 our trainer ended up sending me to HR to inform them of what was going on with my health and they ended up making special allowances for me, such as taking more frequent breaks.
You guys have no idea how embarrassing it was to have that happen to me at my new job. Positive thinking, a healthy diet, and exercising wasn’t working. I had to seek medical attention if I wanted to be of any financial help in my household.
June 29, 2017, I saw my doctor.
All of my vitals were impeccable (I take diet and exercise pretty seriously), I was physically healthy. However, I had to take an assessment to determine my level of depression and anxiety. My anxiety was severe (my doctor thinks it was the fact that I had just started a new job) and my depression was moderate.
The diagnosis: Major Depressive Disorder (or unipolar depression).
The diagnosis was both upsetting and relieving at the same time. I was just happy to know that I wasn’t being crazy or a hypochondriac. Now I’m able to recognize where my problem stems from and it does make life slightly easier.
Major Depressive Disorder
People sometimes confuse Major Depressive Disorder with Manic Depression (bipolar disorder). One of the differences between Manic Depression (bipolar) and Major Depressive Disorder (unipolar) is that Manic Depressives have [extreme] highs and lows (bi-) and people who suffer from Major Depressive disorder usually only experience lows (uni-).
With Major Depressive Disorder, I wasn’t experiencing any consistent ups at all. No matter what good happened in my life. Now I know there was nothing I could do about that without the help of some type of professional.
My current form of treatment is medication. Last month, my doctor put me on a certain medication and wanted to see me back in a month. I came back on July 24, 2017 and my newest assessment showed that my depression and anxiety had not yet improved. It was actually the exact same.
You would think that a medication would have made some type of improvement in my condition. But maybe it was just that life happened once again, making everything a little harder. A couple of days after my diagnosis, my husband’s 5 year old cousin passed away unexpectedly and there was just so much sadness and confusion in that.
I didn’t really know where my feelings fit in this situation. I was heavily depressed, but my husband was depressed too. He needed me. This loss hit him hard and it was hard to watch him and my in-laws struggle with this. I didn’t want to tell anyone about my diagnosis when something so tragic had just happened to people that I loved. I felt like I just had to snap out of myself out of my depression. We all know it doesn’t work that way, but you fake it ’til you make it, right? And that’s draining.
So I slept a lot.
All day and all night. I was only awake maybe 8 to 10 hours a day to work. Some days not even that, ’cause I wasn’t always able to make it through my entire shift without my anxiety flaring up! I would wake up, struggle to get ready, drive to work, do what I could there, drive home, and knock out on the couch.
Since she saw no improvement in my condition, my doctor took me off of that medication. I’m currently on a medication that is supposed to give you those “ups” that you don’t experience when you suffer from Major Depressive Disorder. I think it increases your dopamine levels or something like that. I’ve only been on it a few days, but I haven’t experienced any of the side effects that I did when I was on the previous medication. No migraines. No sleeping all day. Just gas. But I’ll take that over a migraine any day! Franklin also seems to notice a little bit of a difference.
I have to see a therapist soon (which in the black community for some reason, this is something that a lot of us fight or are embarrassed about but could benefit from).
My doctor recommended a therapist that I should see before my next appointment in August. This will be to see if a combination of medication and therapy helps. I’m extremely hopeful and though I’m experiencing this, I do try to remain positive and lift up those around me. That’s something that helps me feel better, when I know that the people around me are not worried about me.
When I can, I try to focus on the future. I plan to only be on this medication for six months (which is what the doctor recommends). After the six months is over, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to have a normal life free of anxiety attacks. Free of medication. (For those of you who know me, you know that I am anti-medicine)
I do, however, plan to continue therapy even after I’m off of my medication.
I hope to be able to have better, more consistent relationships with my friends and family members. I’m not sure if you know it or not, but having any type of relationship (friendship, family, anything), with a person who suffers from any type of depression and/or anxiety is really difficult. Because we’re inconsistent. And it’s unintentional. In the future, I want to be free of that!
If you guys would like to stay up to date with how everything is going, I’ll definitely keep you updated here on the blog! Thanks so much for taking the time to read about how everything has been transpiring these past 3 months since I told y’all about my experience with depression.
And if you think you may struggle with depression, seek professional help. I think that seeing my doctor about this has been the best decision I’ve made all year. Take care of yourselves! Talk to you guys soon!