We were the closest family possible. Our world was turned upside down on 05/03/09 when my best friend, the person I love most next only to our children, my sister Trina was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. Her body gave out on her on 01/09/10 but she will ALWAYS be a part of our daily life and will continue to be in my posts. I started my blog to chronicle our daughter's international adoption from Guatemala and have continued to use it as a journal.

What you will find is my family trying to adapt to our new lives that were handed to us.



Thursday, May 17, 2007

Thinking Thursday

So, Jane said it was Thinking Thursday and we are all to say what we are thinking about. Today I'm thinking about Mental Health. I know a little bit about the subject and am proud to say that I take medication for depression. There is so much stigma still attached to mental health "problems". I also see a therapist and together, they changed my life for the better. I was born with depression. I was always able to function, but it was very much a mask; I can remember thinking "today I'm playing the part of a happy person, happy with her job, happy with her life" and inside I was dying. I was 24 when I was first diagnosed with depression. It was one of the happiest days of my life! Finally! There's a reason and a name for what I feel!!!! It's not going to be like this forever!!! WOOHOO!!!!! There was a lot of work that went into getting better. I had to look hard at myself and see what I wanted to change and how could I change it and it was NOT easy. It's something I still deal with every day, but with the meds and tools I learned in therapy, it's very easy. The scariest part is when my meds stop working, and eventually they all do. For me, the pills work anywhere from 6-18 months and then stop and I have to change. I'm always terrified that I'm going to slip back into that dark, hopeless person that I was for so many years. Luckily I have my family to lean on and to tell me "hey, you're being more irritable, go see the doctor" or "you aren't happy, your eyes are dark, go see your doctor". Without my family I would be lost. I had to learn to open up to them, though. That didn't come overnight. Now I feel like I'm an open book to them. My goal, and my hope, by talking about my journey, is to take away that "ashamed" feeling. Having a mental illness doesn't mean you are damaged, it isn't something you can talk yourself out of, it's not something to be ashamed of. It's a legitimate illness that you can change, just like diabetes or a broken bone, you MUST get treated and then you deal with it, but also like a broken bone, it's never going to heal completely, you will always have scars, but I wear my scars like a badge of honor; depression didn't take my life, I beat the son of a bitch and will continue to beat it! I'll always have it on my back, but some days I forget all about it, some days it's there looming, waiting for me to fall. But with my family, meds and therapist, my depression doesn't have a chance of taking over my life again. I lost 24 years of my life to depression, I'm not about to let it take another precious day! Until later.......

6 comments:

A Special Family said...

that's a great post. As you probably know I work in health (emotional health, mental health, drug use, domestic violence, sexual health, healthy schools, immunizations, child care, child safety etc) and there is such a stigma!
Well done you for taking your life back!

Sonia said...

Good job, Cameo. I can't relate with depression,personally, but I know lots of friends who have suffered from it. I'm so glad you've done this for yourself.

Melissa said...

Thanks for sharing so openly about your depression. People talking about it and managing it just as you are is what is needed to get rid of the stigma.

Andrea said...

Good post, Cameo. I too, have faced depression and it's scary. The fact that you're taking it straight on is AWESOME. I am proud of you.

Got some GREAT pictures from Astoria today. I am definitely planning on bringing T. up sometime soon. It was great!!

JOY said...

You are SOOO strong Cameo and such an inspiration to each and every one of us.

I know many people can be affected by depression I just hope and pray they have the courage and strength to deal with it as you have.

Jane-Jane said...

mental health issues are scary for those who don't deal with it face to face. My opinion is that they are just in denial about their own insecurities and shortcomings. They can't deal with the fact that they are not perfect, so dealing with others issues is not possible since they are in over their own heads. We as people anymore just don't care about others.

Thank you for blogging about your past. As we are open and honest with one another, we realize that we are all human and dealing with similar issues!

Thanks! Jane