I had what can best be described as a depression attack today. At first I wondered if it was an anxiety attack or panic attack, and I’m not actually sure if those things are the same things, but after self-diagnosing via Google I realized that I didn’t have a lot of those symptoms.
The best, long story short version of what happened to me that I can come up with is that I had all of my usual depression symptoms, all at once, but more intense than I have ever felt them.
This wave came over me, and I was filled with a certainty that I am a terrible, worthless human being. That everyone’s lives would be better without me. That I needed to do something, anything, that would ruin my life so that I could remove myself from the lives of those around me, and they would be better off. And I couldn’t breathe. And I was sobbing uncontrollably. And it felt like when you have to cough something up, and you just keep coughing because you can feel it moving and you know if you cough enough that you’ll get it out. Only instead of coughing, I was sobbing. And I could not cry hard enough to get whatever it was out.
And then, as quickly as it came, it was over.
And I immediately called my old doctor’s office to get a refill on my antidepressants. Because I’m out. I’ve been out for a while. But between moving, being depressed, and just generally being lazy, I haven’t gotten them refilled. But I have been crying for reasons I am not even aware of, constantly. And today scared me.
Since my doctor hasn’t seen me in more than six months, which is pretty common since I only need to get blood work done for my thyroid problem every 6 months to a year, they will not refill my prescriptions. So, now I have to find a doctor here, and hopefully we’ll be able to get my prescriptions after a first visit, and not have to pay for multiple office visits so that they can get to know me and then actually treat me.
Living with this disease is difficult. And I think in a lot of ways it’s difficult because you feel like this is not something you should talk about. This isn’t a “real” sickness. I’m not dying of cancer, I just have some fucked-up chemicals in my brain.
And you feel like you’re not allowed to blame any of your behavior on this sickness. Because you’re aware of it, you are aware of what is wrong with you, and shouldn’t you be consciously making decisions that are right instead of allowing yourself to use your depression as an excuse? But if it were that easy, it wouldn’t be a disease.
And it’s important that those of us who do live with this talk about it. So that people who don’t know that they’re living with this might realize that they don’t have to keep going without help.
So that people who have a “depression attack” or whatever the hell I experienced don’t succumb to it and kill themselves, or shoot up a school, or turn into a serial killer. Part of that was a joke. I’ll let you decide which part.
A major part of reducing the stigma about mental illness is to talk about mental illness.
And please know I am always here to listen.
Image credit Graesen Arnoff