Welcome to the first post in the new series called, “Mental Health Monday”. Today I’d like to share my mental health story.
I was diagnosed with depression when I was in Grade 12 and 17 years old. I hadn’t eaten properly in 2 years (my parents had gotten divorced when I was 15), slept way to much, had become withdrawn and had suicidal thoughts, among other symptoms. My father was concerned, and rightly so.
Thankfully our family doctor had known us for many many years and knew something psychological was up. After speaking with me and asking, what I thought, simple questions, I was diagnosed with depression and put on the medication, Fluoxitine. I am still on this medication today, though the dosage has been changed since then.
Just after high school, I moved to a little town in the Free State called Bethlehem, to be closer to my mother and brothers. I had stopped taking my medication after moving out of my father’s home and as a result, I had a major relapse. There I started seeing my first psychologist after I started experiencing panic attacks and she really helped me with some things I had been struggling with.
I had been on and off my medication during the years before The Hubby and I got together, mainly because I didn’t have the finances to buy them. During this time, my life felt like it was out of control and I struggled to pull myself together. Being a single mom having to send my child to live with my mother in a different town didn’t help at all.
My life has changed for the better over the last 11 years since The Hubby and I got together. Life is not perfect, but because I have the support of this amazing man, I can honestly say that I am doing so much better managing the depression and it no longer rules my life as much as it used to.
Don’t get me wrong, its a daily struggle to live with it.
I have to make a conscious effort to remember to take my medication. Missing one day can throw me off for a week and it takes a toll on my family. It really isn’t fair for them if I forget.
I have heard so many times that I “need to get over” or “just deal with” my depression. That my medication is an unnecessary step. I can say, under no uncertain terms, that I simply cannot function when I’m not on my medication. The Hubby can attest to that as well.
If you, or someone you know, suffers from depression, or any other mental health issues, and needs help, please contact the South African Depression and Anxiety Group. SADAG is Africa’s largest mental health support and advocacy group. On this website you will find comprehensive mental health information and resources to help you, a family member or loved one.
Should you wish to share your story, please feel free to contact me by clicking on the green email icon on the top right side of the blog.