It’s OK not to be OK and it’s OK to need help sometimes – something I’ve been trying to accept over the past few weeks.
It all started about a year ago when I began feeling different. Something was off and I just didn’t feel like my normal self. Of course, I was still bubbly and happy on the outside, but on the inside I felt deeply saddened. I started feeling guilty over things that didn’t even matter, and I felt ashamed of everything I did. I found myself crying all the time, not enjoying activities as much as I used to, and having troubles sleeping. I was definitely lacking self-love.
At first I ignored it but then it started to affect my relationship with my now-husband so I talked to him about it. I’ll never forget that moment. We were sitting in my car in the driveway having an argument and I started to cry and said, ‘I think I’m depressed.’ Neither of us really knew what to do about it – we just carried on and I felt better knowing I had someone to talk to about it.
Things gradually got worse over time and it recently got to the point where I couldn’t even bear to be at work so I went home, had a melt down and called my family doctor’s office to book an appointment. They told me they didn’t have any openings for three weeks but I told them it was urgent and for a mental health assessment, so they got me in the next day.
Sitting in that doctor’s office for nearly an hour waiting for my doctor to come into that small, bright room was terrifying. When she finally did, I immediately broke down and told her I thought I was depressed. After an evaluation, she prescribed me with anti-depressants and told me to take some time off work. In the newspaper world, that’s not an easy thing to do – especially around the holidays when we’re working on short deadlines. But there comes a point when you have to put your mental health first.
The anti-depressants made me extremely sick for the first week, which was terrible to go through at a time when I was already feeling down. I’m feeling better now but I’ve got one more week to go until they kick in. Although I have to wait and suffer through the side effects, knowing there is a light at the end of the tunnel is relieving. There is hope.
Telling people close to me about it has been eye opening. There definitely needs to be more awareness surrounding mental illness and the stigma associated with it. Some of my friends have been shocked because I’m known for my bubbly personality, always smiling and trying to make people happy. But that’s the thing about depression – it can be hidden. I have seen this in people I’ve lost to suicide.
If you are struggling and you think you need help, don’t be ashamed and don’t be afraid to reach out. You are not alone.