I Felt Guilty for Being Depressed
It’s rough and long, but here’s my story. Some will probably think that it is simply the story of children fat shaming me all throughout school and most of my life, and while this truly is the foundation of my tale, it is by no means the full picture.
I’ve come to learn that when people speak ill of me or someone else, it is usually because they haven’t been shown how to love properly.
Over the years I have learned that it is my duty as a decent human being and a Christian to show them how to treat not only me and but all others as well. That isn’t what I want to talk about though.
My real story is a little darker and much less talked about.
I was professionally diagnosed with depression at the age of 20, although I had been with the disease for many years before that. I was medicated for a short time however I began to ween myself off of the meds because so many people told me that it was all in my head and that I “didn’t need that stuff.”
Several years went by and I spent every day struggling to cover up my sadness, making excuses for why I sometimes cried for no apparent reason.
These excuses and “explanations” were not purely for the sake of everyone else. Deep down I knew I was truly trying to convince myself. I seriously contemplated checking myself in to a mental hospital, merely to take a break from society, because by their explanation, I was simply nuts.
It didn’t help that I was in an emotionally abusive relationship with someone who led me to believe that I wasn’t good for anything. This lasted from the time I was 14 until I was 22. When I finally broke free of that relationship I thought that all of my troubles were over. Perhaps I was depressed because of him. Perhaps I’d contemplated suicide on several occasions because of all the heartache but I would be fine now. Of course, after I got over the initial shock and mourning stage of leaving an eight year relationship, I became one of the happiest people on earth, seemingly. I had so much more to smile about. I had so many friends and so much more time for my family and loved ones.
However, that dark cloud that I was so familiar with from my past still loomed over my subconscious.
I still felt that, somehow, this world would be better off without me and contemplated, yet again, how I would make my departure; only to decide I was too much of a coward to ever pull the trigger anyway.
It didn’t stop there. After meeting my now husband, and planning a wedding in seven months, it was like a dam broke loose in my brain. I began to have strange symptoms, like the inability to breathe, numbness and tingling in my arms and legs. I honestly thought I was having a stroke. After several visits to the ER and a doctor visit I was diagnosed with anxiety. I spent so many nights praying to feel normal again.
I just wanted to go one day without being in total fear.
I couldn’t be alone but I couldn’t be around people either.
It was treacherous and terrifying to say the least. I began taking another prescription medication to ease my anxiety. This medication made me feel very detached. After attending the funeral of someone I was close to and finding it difficult to cry or even feel my own mourning, I decided that I would rather learn about my issues and deal with them in a different manner than feel like a drone. This isn’t the case for everyone. Some may manage without medication but some may need it. That is a personal choice!
It’s been nearly two years since my professional diagnosis of anxiety and eight years since my diagnosis of depression. I’ve learned how to manage and live with it rather than fight it and pretend it isn’t there.
You see, even now as I’m writing this, in the back of my mind I’m wondering if people will read this and think that I’m doing this for attention. I wonder if people will undermine it and chalk it up to another sob story. After all, I’m an able bodied, white female who is married to the love of her life and has obviously never gone without food or shelter, what could I possibly have to complain about?
I feel guilty for being depressed, like it’s something I can change.
However, I know that if I feel this way, then someone out there must feel the same. Someone out there must need someone like me to speak up and say “hey, I hear you and I know how you feel.”
We need to know that we are never alone in this.
There will always be someone out there with a different but similar story.
It can be easy to forget you are surrounded by support because it’s easy to feel completely alone in a struggle with depression and anxiety. You are never alone, no matter how alone you may feel. Whether we feel guilty or just embarrassed by it, feeling alone can come from not feeling comfortable speaking about it in a society that tells us what normal should look and feel like.
After praying for deliverance from my struggles for so many years, I’ve learned that perhaps God has allowed me this trial as a way to reach and help others. He has brought me through so much, and when I felt like this world would have been better without me, He reminded me that I had a purpose in life and that is why He hasn’t taken me home yet.
All my life, people have attempted to label me. I’m a punk, I’m a hippie, I’m the holy roller, the Bible thumper, the country bumpkin. In reality, I’m every bit of those things all at once. I am unique with a purpose. If just one person reads this and realizes that they aren’t alone then my journey is not in vain. God has a purpose for me and I promise He has one for you too.
Even if you are not religious: YOU have a purpose.
– Kayla B.