Today I am happy to be introducing Melissa to you. She regularly blogs on her own blog at sugarfilledemotions.com
where she writes about living with clinical depression, diabetes, an anxiety disorder and asthma. You can also find her on twitter at @MelissaMashburn
This is my first time writing a guest post for anyone, and I could not think of a better person to do that for than Kris. I love her perspective of what life is like living with a family member who has a mental illness. My perspective is the opposite of hers because in my family, I am the one with the illness. My particular label is Clinical Depression, the other names for it are Major Depression, and Major Depressive Disorder.
Kris did not know this when we were talking about me writing a guest post for today, but on this date, exactly one year ago, is when I almost was successful at ending my own life.
I really do not have much memory of that day due to what I did in trying to commit suicide and the medications I was administered at the hospital. I do however, remember waking up and being really mad that I was still alive. What a difference a year and following a depression recovery plan has made in my life.
Today, on this one year anniversary, I am happy to be alive. Probably happier than I have ever been in my life. It is not because things are always wonderful, because they are not, but I think my happiness comes from loving myself. In all my 39 years preceding my suicide attempt, I do not ever remember loving myself.
When the counselor and I went over my history, we both came to the conclusion that I have probably been experiencing depression on and off since I was a teenager. Add to that some not so pleasant life experiences as a young adult, never receiving any kind of treatment for depression and it is no wonder that I reached the point where suicide seemed like a logical choice.
When I was younger and experienced what I now know were depressive episodes, I really did not know what was happening. I just knew that I did not feel right. As a result, I did not realize that I needed any kind of help. However, with this last episode that got so bad, I knew what was wrong. Especially, when I got to the point of not being able to function on a day to day basis. I still did not ask for help though.
Why didn't I ask for help? The reason is fairly simple. I knew if I admitted that I was "going crazy" then people, including my family would look and treat me different. We all know how society views and treats people who have a mental illness. So my depression got worse and worse, until I had no other option but to die.
Fortunately, my suicide was not successful. I realize now that I would have missed a lot of wonderful things, if it had worked. I also have come to realize, that I never have to get so sick with depression again. There is help, and the help comes from very kind people. I also learned that my family is more supportive than I had given them credit for being.
What I want other people to know, is that there is wonderful, non-judgmental help available. No one, and I mean no one, deserves to feel that bad, nor do they need to. Mental illness is no different than any other disease. It can be successfully managed.
Monday, May 17, 2010
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