Name: Annalee (name has not only been changed but been pulled from thin air!)
Occupation: SAHM and other part time stuff
1. Have you ever been officially diagnosed? How do you classify your depression? (i.e. post partum depression, anxiety/depression, clinical depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, etc.)
I have been diagnosed. i think if i remember correctly i was diagnosed as being moderate to severely depressed, seasonal affective disorder, OCD(I count things. I used to count my fingers to make sure I had 10. And I count random things at least three times), and tendencies of schizophrenia. And I'm a cutter.
2.How long have you been depressed?
For as long as I can remember. Maybe from the age of five. I can always remember hating myself. That is when I started counting my fingers. When I was around 10 I started to count other things. I noticed that I started to count road mile markings and windows on buildings. Right around this time is when the self abuse started too.
3.What are you like on your worst days?
I stay in bed and sleep all day. It's too much work or an effort to shower and I think about how to hang myself in the closet. I'm angry and sad all at the same time. Very short tempered. And I cry very easily. I abuse myself. Mostly with just my hands. In the past, I have cut myself with razor blades, scissors, anything sharp really. But I tend to lean towards the scissors. I also hit my head on things--walls, doors, anything hard that is close to me. I have given myself black eyes before.
4. What are you like on your best days?
You would never know that I was depressed.
5. What kind of treatments have you pursued?
I didn't get help till I was 16. I started on Prozac and it mad me a zombie; no ups or downs. I flat-lined. Then I switched to St. Johns Wort, but heard of long term side effects and stopped using that. Then I went on Zoloft and was off and on this for a few years. I then went to Lexapro and from there I went to Wellbutrin 150. I have always been inconsistent with my meds. I stop and start on my own and have huge withdrawals. It took me awhile to come to grips with my depression. I got in a huge low where I started to see things again and just couldn't function with daily tasks like showering, eating, taking care of the house, family. I then went to a psychiatrist. He is the one who diagnosed me. He started me on Lexapro and Wellbutrin 300.
6. How have those treatments worked for you?
Since being diagnosed I have come to terms with my depression/disorders. I felt for a long time that I wasn't myself on meds. That I wasn't really me. That I was supposed to be an angry person and that's who I was. That people couldn't get to see who I really was, like I was just pretending all the time. Since coming to terms with it I have been so good at taking my meds regularly. I was seeing my Dr. every week for two months and then it went to every other week to once a month to every three. Once I went to every three months I felt like i didn't need to see him anymore. It was a waste of my time and money to go see him to say,"Yep, everything is working just fine. I haven't really had any episodes--only when i forget to take my meds for a couple day can I notice a change. But that happens very rarely." Then he reminds me to take them and sends me on my way.
8. How do you feel your depression has effected your spirituality? How would you describe your current relationship with the Church?
To be honest I don't connect the two. I never really thought of it. I guess that I am more in tune with the Spirit when I am on my meds and doing well. I tend to want to do the right things and everything that I'm supposed to be doing. With the Church right now I'm in a good place. Everything seems to be making more sense now that I have gotten myself to a healthy place.
8. What do you wish other people understood about depression?
That it's not a made-up thing. That people don't choose to be depressed and that we can't just be happy. It's not that easy.
What I really appreciate about Annalee's story is, first off, her honesty and, secondly, how she has been dealing with this her whole life. I see a lot of courage in her. It also gives me hope for the future. Thinking about my depression as a chronic condition is so scary. I can't imagine dealing with this year after year after year. But Annalee has and she is HAPPY. Amazing! Thanks so much Annalee! You are awesome!
If you would like to share your story here (as anonymously as you want) please email me at lolapalooza AT hotmail DOT com. Every story counts. The more we share, the more we learn, and the better-equipped we are to help ourselves and each other.