That First Depression Diagnosis -- A Blessing and a Curse
Depression, and mental illness in general, has gotten a lot of attention in the last few years. The internet and social media abound with knowledge and support for the myriad disorders from which we suffer.
The same could not be said twelve years ago when I received my first official diagnosis for my depression.
It was early January 2001. My job, at the time, was immensely stressful; I worked in information technology in a support role and was on-call all the time. I was available 24/7, tethered to my work responsibilities by a pager, a cell phone and a laptop.
It had been a particularly horrible weekend; pager going off non-stop, participating in crisis calls at all hours, on my laptop trying to fix whatever it was that got screwed up. I’d had very little sleep, was kept awake by mugful after mugful of strong coffee. Hubby kept me fed and kept the kids at bay.
By Monday morning, all systems and processes had been repaired and everyone involved had recovered.
Except for me.
That weekend was the beginning of the end for me, for what seemed like a lifetime of denial of what I was feeling.
Surrendered to Depression
Within about two weeks of that stressful weekend, I was curled in a ball in my bed. Unable to move – unwilling to move – in a state of surrender. I hadn’t a clue what I was surrendering to, I just knew that whatever it was, was stronger than I was… and as strong as I was (Super-Mom/Wife/I.T. professional), I finally succumbed.
Scared out of my mind, I eventually hauled myself out of bed to my doctor. In tears, my feelings spilled (more like gushed) out of me.
“What is wrong with me?” I cried. “I just can’t go on.”
I felt like such a failure! I felt stupid, useless and guilty. I felt like a faker, an imposter, a conjurer of the nonsensical.
My doctor took my vitals and asked me several questions, not the least of which was, “How long have you been feeling persistently sad?”
“I’m not just sad!” I wailed at my doctor. Through sobs and hiccups, I said, “Something is seriously wrong with me!”
My doctor readily agreed, explaining that this unending sadness, for lack of a better all-encompassing word, was indicative of depression, which was indeed very serious. She asked if I had ever thought of hurting myself, to which (at that point in my life, anyway) I responded that I hadn't.
"Liana," she said, "you are suffering from clinical depression."
And in that instant, having just received my first official diagnosis of depression, I felt both blessed and cursed.
Blessed because it had a name! It wasn’t in my mind – well, it was, but proverbially, it wasn’t just in my mind.
Cursed because it was real and with it came the dismal comprehension that there was a long, arduous road ahead.
My journey continues.
Scott, L. (2013, July 21). That First Depression Diagnosis -- A Blessing and a Curse, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/copingwithdepression/2013/07/that-first-depression-diagnosis-a-blessing-and-a-curse