Thank you, everyone who commented, shared, and sent encouragement. I sat down and read it all and I'm truly thankful that I'm still around and I also genuinely hope from the bottom of my heart that all of you who shared that you're suffering are doing better. I felt equal parts humbled and inspired by some of the things you've written, and I do want to be a better person for it.
I've been on medication for a little over two months now. It's been a rather turbulent recovery, as I expected. I didn't take too well to my initial prescription, and consequently I suffered from frequent panic attacks and anxious fits and spent many days a week breathing into a paper bag.
I'm now on a reduced dosage, however, and I'm pleased to report that I'm doing much better. I found that counselling and therapy isn't really for me; I couldn't really trust or open up to the therapist no matter how I tried, but I learned effective self-talk, so I'm kind of counselling myself, in a sense. While I'm still struggling with my self-image and I still don't know what I'm going to get out of life, I've found peace in living for the moment. The panic attacks have also stopped; I haven't had one for two weeks now, and I haven't entertained suicidal thoughts for a more than a month. It's significantly easier now to get out of bed in the morning to start the day.
It doesn't sound like much, but it's really a world of difference to me.
I don't harbor any illusions of being able to help or save anyone, or change lives, or make a huge difference. I'm just a person, after all. But I really hope to show that recovery is definitely a possibility, and I hope that everyone's getting by, or getting better.
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I don't really know where to start.
For anyone who's ever asked me if I'm okay (thank you) and I told you I was, I'm sorry, but no. I'm not okay. I'm not okay now and I haven't been okay for a very very very long time.
For as long as I can remember I've been plagued by extremely low moods and anxiety attacks. I would try to do things to make myself happier, and immerse myself in various fun activities, have an active social life, and then after that, every night when I went home I would loathe and hate myself doubly for those times of enjoyment. I hated myself for laughing, I hated myself for every word that came out of my mouth. I hated myself for trying to live, and I couldn't help it. I had no control over anything in my life. Suicidal thoughts were a regular occurence- it would have been so easy to take the elevator to the highest floor and take the plunge. And then I would hate myself even more for being weak.
Every few months my mood would hit rock bottom and I would live in a near-catatonic state, and spend whole days just lying in bed, numb and doing nothing but hate myself. I couldn't get up to eat, I couldn't bring myself to step out of the house to go to school. I felt hideous, worthless, and utterly alone, and constantly plagued by debilitating self-loathing. I knew without a doubt that I was sick and that I desperately needed help, but attempts to reach out were met with either rejection, painful indifference, or at best, mild concern. It was always the same thing - depression was commonplace, everyone gets depression, everyone gets blue moods once in a while, talk about it and you'll feel better. Not what I needed to hear.
Today, I decided that I'd had enough. I wanted to live, I wanted to be normal, and above all I wanted to be happy. I made up my mind to reach out once again for help, and this time, I would keep trying until I got what I needed. I left house in the morning and walked into a family service center. I was immediately referred to the Institute of Mental Health, and despite all the negative connotations about the place and being classified or labelled as mentally ill in general, I found that I was too numb to care what anyone thought anymore. After suffering for almost a decade I was finally diagnosed today with dysthymia, or chronic depression. During this period I have been cycling continuously between dysthymia and major depressive episodes, tormented constantly by suicidal thoughts, and it's left me a confused, miserable, mistrustful, and anxious wreck.
At this moment, I'm still severely depressed, but I now have something that I previously never thought possible. I have hope for myself and for my future. I now believe that, as impossible as it seemed previously, I have a chance at recovery and a normal life. I have access to medication and I'm scheduled for psychotherapy and counselling sessions. I have control now. Just with this knowledge, I feel free. No, I'm still not okay, but I now know I will be.
I chose to share this here instead of my personal accounts not because I feel that I need the attention, but because I hope that people read this and understand that depression is an illness that is TREATABLE. I know that definitely, there are people suffering like myself out there, and if even just one of them reads this, I would have achieved my purpose. Please don't ever feel that there's no hope. Seek help IMMEDIATELY if you are suffering. Even if you feel that the people around you don't understand, try and try and try. Please don't give up. If you're thinking of dying, don't. Whatever country you live in, there WILL be options for you to turn to, professionals that you can seek out. Try, try, try. Never give up. Don't ever give up.
It's going to take a lot of time, and I'm expecting a lot of ups and downs, but now I'm looking forward to joining all of you in living. ♥