Monday, April 22, 2013

My illness

I've wrestled with whether or not to divulge this information about myself for awhile now.  But I'm so tired of the stigma, and me keeping quiet about it only reinforces stigma.  Some of you may know that I was in and out of the hospital back in the fall/winter time but I wasn't clear about what was wrong with me.  Well, I have major depressive disorder and was suicidal and so was in a psychiatric hospital.

Sometimes major depressive disorder can be misunderstood as being the same as the emotion of depression.  There is a difference between the normal emotion of depression, and being diagnosed with major depressive disorder.  The emotion of depression is a common response to a loss, failure, or disappointment.  The diagnosis of major depressive disorder is a serious emotional & biological disease that affects a person's thoughts, feelings, behavior, mood and physical health.  The criteria that professionals use to diagnose this are as follows:

  • Depressed mood.
  • Reduced interest in activities.
  • Changes in appetite.
  • Sleeping too much or too little.
  • Feeling agitated or slowed down.
  • Feeling worthless or excessive guilt.
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions.
  • Suicidal thoughts or intention.
People who have a mental illness are not crazy, they just have an illness.  It is no different than someone who has diabetes...it is a disease that has to be managed and coped with for life.  It shouldn't be something to be embarrassed about, yet many people hide their condition for fear of being judged.  

It hurts....alot.  It's a different sort of pain then someone might feel who has cancer or a broken limb.  Not quite physical pain, yet it is.  You know the pain that most of us feel when a loved one passes away for instance.  Imagine experiencing pain, hopelessness, etc., with no reason for it.  That's what it's like to be depressed.  You feel these things yet can't explain why you feel the way you do and can't do anything to stop it.  I experience a severe lack of energy to do anything including household chores and even personal hygiene.  I have difficulty concentrating and sometimes lose interest in activities that I usually enjoy (even spanking).

Wanting to die.  Suicidal.  When people hear this about me, they usually say, "But you have so much to live for!  You're so talented, pretty, etc., why would you want to kill yourself?"  It's not that simple.  It's a symptom of an illness.  Not everyone who's depressed has the 'symptom' of suicidal thoughts, but it so happens that I do.  We all know of celebrities who've committed suicide...they seem to have it all, yet they see no reason to continue to live.

I not only suffer from major depressive disorder, but also post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social anxiety.  I got help from my many back-to-back hospitalizations and medication, but still experience symptoms to a lessor degree.  Unfortunately for me, my illness has resulted in not being able to work a full-time job so I have alot of time on my hands now.

If you think you may have a mental illness, don't be ashamed of it.  There is plenty of help and resources out there so seek it out.  These illnesses are treatable and professionals can help make the symptoms less intense by therapy, medication or other combinations of treatment.  I've included a list of national resources to get you started.

Resources:
National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI)
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)
Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-TALK
Psychology Today - Find a therapist in your area

10 comments:

  1. Just saw this so perhaps I'm one of the first to comment.
    Ok...you're here and haven't as yet made a successful attempt. So that's a start. And you have elucidated as much as anyone needs to know in order to understand your illness. You are in the hands of capable professionals and I sincerely hope you are being given a reasonable prognosis for recovery over time. I am so sorry to hear you are unable to work full time and I hope you nonetheless have a support system as you navigate you way back to health.
    You and I are geographically close (neighboring states) though we have never met and I wish there were something I could do to help you through this, even in some small way. You are well known in the scene and I can only imagine that you have those close to you who will watch over you as you endeavor to restore your emotional and physical well being. This disorder has a known organic basis and there are established therapeutic modalities for its management, both pharmacological and via psychiatric intensive care. I pray for your recovery and return to a productive life, filled with joy, as well as longevity and excellent health. Be well, my dear, and please know, Alicia, that you are in my thoughts and those of many others. -JJ

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  2. Thanks for your support JJ. My prognosis is 'guarded'. But I have a VERY good doctor who has me on the right cocktail of medication which significantly helps. There are various support groups that I attend also.

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  3. Well for women the cock tail needs may change faster than a man as your chemical make up changes with your cycles and age faster then mens, as well your liver and kidney and bowel functions need monitored as well wieght gain threw constipation can cause over doses, , working out 3 days a week is a good thing for persons with depression of that nature as well even if its only 10 minutes a day each time a 5 minute walk one way and five back. at least your getting some kind of care we are here on twitter if you ever need to chat xox sleep well

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  4. I would like you live a long and happy life. No doubt, many people think the same. So you have better to think about the suicide never. Even don't begin to think about it. I see you get a good medical treatment. However it would not be an excess thing to add some ideological foundation. Be aware a simple formula: "The society and the happiness are incompatible". It is easy to remember. Keep this formula in your mind always. But it would be not enough of this. So I recommend you to read books, which are written by the great teacher of the 20-th century Osho Rajneesh. There are all about our mental world. This is more than a psychology. Good luck. My best wishes for you.

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  5. A good resource that talks about how to help someone who has a mood disorder. http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=help_friends_family

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  6. Kudos to you for your courage. We are only as sick as our secrets, as the expression goes.

    I have suffered from clinical depression for most of my life, and have been on meds for nearly 20 years. I would no sooner go off them than I would insulin if I were diabetic, to use your analogy. Screw the stigma. I wanted a life; merely existing wasn't good enough.

    Best of luck to you.

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  7. @Erica - It's been most of my life too. Except I went through a long period where I didn't 'believe' in medication, so I went untreated for years and years.

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  8. I'm glad you were able to take a the steps in the right direction towards a recovery plan. I met a "friend" off alt.com whom I became good friends with. It turned out she had severe depression and was on several medications to cope with her daily life. Her issues were so severe that I had to break off contact with her...but I do keep tabs on her just to know she's safe.

    As an ageplayer, ABDL, and a abuse survivor myself, I know dealing with depression on your own isn't easy.

    I hope you the best in your recovery and commitment to controlling your illness. Be cautious of your medications as they can have severe side affects to your body. Something worth checking into is alternative medicine like Thai message, meditation, etc. Not as replacement, but as an addition to stress relief. Best of luck. DaddyChristopher on FL. Lees Summit

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  9. Mental illnesses do have a stigma around them. I'm sorry you've had to deal with that and worrying about what others would think on top of everything else. I haven't ever dealt with the issues you've described so can't comment on that. But I'm glad you've been able to find the help you need and hope things stay steady for you.

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  10. I think it's very brave of you to come forward and post about your illness. Even living far away I think a lot of you, I just should talkt to you more often. I wish I could come over to give you a hug every once in a while (or a smack)...

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