I’m not Depressed…am I?

Mental disorders aren’t uncommon among people with chronic illness. But I don’t have a chronic Illness…not really, so I’m not depressed.

That’s what I kept telling myself–for months I’ve acknowledged I have limitations but since I’m not on every day medications, lead a healthy life style and I’m a happy person so I’m not really sick. I lie to myself and everyone I see every day because I thought it would make me stronger.

But denying your illness doesn’t make you stronger–it makes you dumb.

I’ve been having a really hard time these past few weeks, emotionally and physically. I’ve known I’ve had anxiety for a while, but I have my own stress management plan so I never sought professional help. My dad kept saying I’m depressed, but I don’t feel depressed so I ignored him. I don’t have many phsycial symptoms everyday, and the few that I do have I’ve been living with them since I was 16 so I hardly notice them any more.

But now that I am in need of dyer help, it’s unavailable to me. Because I didn’t seek out help months ago when I noticed these feelings weren’t going away, that the panic attacks came more frequently and I often felt inferior to everyone around me, I have no one to turn to when I need to the most. Yes, I have family and friends, but I feel they’re biased and can’t offer any real advice on how to manage my symptoms. I’ve denied medication for years because I thought it would make me stronger and now I know how stupid that was. I’m proud that for four years I was able to manage my symptoms naturally, but diseases progress, symptoms become more severe and this is hard on your body. It’s okay to ask for help, it’s healthy.

Me, I have a pride issue. I don’t ask for help and now that I need it I don’t know how to ask for it. Part of me wants sympathy and the other part wants to suck it up until I can afford professional counseling in case I need to be put on medication. I have friends who have the same issues and they are ten times better for the help they receive, I even helped them get to appointments, reminded them to take pills, to eat and made sure they slept well. I put so much effort into taking care of everyone else I failed to take care of myself.

Guys, if you need help..ask for it. Please. Don’t knock off counseling or therapy because of stigmas, they’re there to help you. I know they’re costly, I know some insurance doesn’t cover psychiatric medicine, but there are other ways. Your regular doctor can prescribe meds if you need them, most campuses have free counseling services for students and there are several free or low cost community centers that offer therapy for just this reason. Please don’t be like me and wait till the last minute. I’m struggling every day to deal with the hardships of life and I shouldn’t be. Everyone struggles but not to the point of a mental break down. I’ve been keeping things bottled up for years, things that happened to me as a child, things I regret and habits I can’t get rid of and each day they ebb away at my happiness and create barriers around me that keep me from forming the relationships I desire.

It’s okay to ask for help. If I can do it, so can you. And remember you are not alone.

Love always,

Kat

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