Love, Art, Life

Love, Art, Life

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Anxiety and Depression. My Story, My Finest Hour.

My story today begins with this video.  

This video moved me.  So much so that I thought I have to blog again after months of silence.  I must add my voice here.

I tend to be a strangely positive person.  That is to say I feel like I am, in general, a realist, or a negative person; but for some strange reason I am positive (foolishly so) when it comes to people and human nature.   My descent into deep depression happened gradually.  One trauma on top of another added to traumatic childhood events and a life full of commitments and stresses became too much for me to bear any longer.  Having to be too strong for too long was definitely the case.  I held on as long as I could, but in the end depression won.  It wasn't pretty.  

"We did not ask for this, but together we can fight this"  
                                                 ~Faris Khalifa

Being a reader, I searched high and low for answers to 'solve' this new dilemma.  How do I get back to being 'right' again.  Being 'me' again?  In the process I found information.  I found people who struggle as I do- lots of them.  And I joined a few groups to help support me in my new way of being. Trying to find new ways of coping with my present reality.  

 A lot of what I find online these days talks about stigma.  The stigma of mental illness.  Here's where the strange positivity comes in.  Stigma?  What stigma?  I often thought.  See I like to give people the benefit of the doubt.  

Over this past few weeks I've been interacting with people more.  People who don't know me and my challenges.  Some strangers, some new found friends.  And I've discovered that yes, stigma still exists.  I guess it's always been my sincere hope that people will try to understand others, even if they be strangers.   Try to understand that even though they cannot possibly 'understand' everyone's behaviors and motivations that they too would recognize that most of us are really just trying to do the best we can. 

Then I saw this video.  

The courage of this man astounds me.  Putting himself out there in such a vulnerable way to try to help.  To try to stop the stigma.  I realized I had to add my voice.

This video was painful for me to watch.  I know where he's coming from.  I know that dark place all too well,

"This is not for me....  But for those not as fortunate.   Those who feel like they don't have a voice."
                                                                         ~Faris Khalifa

Lately I've heard opinions expressed about people with mental illness that at first I was tempted to accept.  "After all the one expressing it is a doctor", I thought.   But something wasn't sitting well with me.  I heard things such as "People need an identity, they NEED to be special in some way".  "They wear these diagnoses like a badge".  and "I think what's behind depression is self-pity."

Over the past week I've had some very rough moments.  Moments I thought I might not make it through.  Moments I realized that yes I am much better now than I was- my current holistic treatments are working wonders,  But maybe I will have moments such as these for the rest of my life.  Moments that are too dark to describe.  Moments I think I wont survive, I don't want to survive.  And in those moments it broke my heart to think about what others had said about people with mental illnesses.   Stigma is still alive and well, even among health care professionals.  And this is why I have chosen now to speak up.

 I was diagnosed with a Major Depressive Disorder, PTSD, PMDD (Pre-menstrual Dismorphic Disorder), Body Dismorphic Disorder, Adult ADD and have general Anxiety as well. I have been medicated for all of the above and am still on some meds to this day.   It is not a fact I go around sharing- even though at times it does seriously color my outlook and my life.  And at times I do wish people knew because I feel their confusion at my behavior.  It is not something I am proud of, or would choose to have to deal with.  Honestly it sucks!  And at times sucks the life right out of me.  I am able to appear ok in most circumstances.  And my whole life I have been able to hide my true feelings well.  But it is my diagnosis and something I have to consider everyday.  

The thing about opinions is everyone has one.  And that's ok.  But opinions are just that.  Opinions.  We all have our own based on our perceptions, and our experiences.  Perceptions  are that way as well;  no two people perceive things the same.  We each have our own reality and outlook.  The more I thought of those opinions expressed earlier in the week, the more upset I got.  I wondered what were their opinions based on?  Have they ever had the experience of being abused, physically, verbally or sexually?   Have they ever been in war?  Have they experienced neglect, trauma or broken homes?  Have they had the misfortune of  being homeless?  Or a combination of these things as many people have?   And how can they, having not experienced the full range of things one can experience in this life, make these statements about Depression, Bi-polar,  Anxiety or any disorder or dis-ease really?  In my opinion it is the height of arrogance to make judgements based on what we ourselves, personally know.  We have not experienced what others might have.  We each have our own journey. 

And here's something else to consider.  Why is it that these illnesses seem to be rampant?  What is going on in our society, in our world that has made life so hard to bear for some of us?  Isn't that a better question?  What can we do to help?  

This Stigma is unwarranted.  These mental health issues come from somewhere.  No one chooses them.  No one wants to be 'special' like that!  What about other expressions of disease?  Do we stigmatize cancer patients, or people with heart conditions?  If someone is on Blood pressure meds do we theorize that they wanted this outcome?  That they go around wearing their  diagnoses of Lupus, or Thyroid problems like a badge?  To garner sympathy?  We don't. 

 That would be cruel.  

1 comment:

Erik said...

Well said and well shared. People need to be slow to judge.