My Experience With Depression: How I Became Depressed
It was about a month after starting my new job, that I started having crying fits and felt out-of-sorts all the time. There was this burning ache in my chest that wouldn't go away. Even though my duties at work were light, everything seemed impossible to do, and just walking through the door was intimidating. I began confiding in a couple of friends that something was terribly wrong, and they just listened--which for awhile was very comforting, but it began to ring hollow within a couple of months.
By September, I was depressed nearly all the time, and didn't want to talk to anyone for any reason--mostly because I didn't want to sadden them. I was withdrawn, even at work. At some point, the notion that I'd be like that for the rest of my life became unbearable. The natural result of that was that I started thinking about suicide. I imagined all sorts of neat and clean ways to do myself in. After a week of intermittent suicidal thoughts, it finally occurred to me that this wasn't right. I recalled signs listing the symptoms of depression that used to be up in my college dorm hallway and I knew that I fit just about all of them.
By this point, I knew I needed help. Still, I put it off. The embarrassment of telling my doctor, and the fear that I wouldn't get better, nearly paralyzed me. But one day, I collapsed in a crying fit, at work and literally bawled for a half-hour straight. No one was around, thankfully, but the chance that someone might have seen me, was enough. The embarrassment of asking for help, couldn't be worse than having co-workers come across me like that. So I made a call and saw my doctor. (To show you how seriously he took it, when I asked for an appointment, his secretary initially set one for about 3-weeks away. She asked what was wrong. When I told her I thought I was depressed, she made it for the next day.) The doctor started me on Prozac.
Just this, was enough to cheer me a little. My doctor had been helpful and supportive and assured me that I'd be well. However, even though he suggested therapy as an option, I didn't pursue it. I didn't want to have to explain my past to a stranger. Moreover, I had been trying to forget it about my past for 20 years. The last thing I wanted was to dig it all up again!
I found out the hard way that this doesn't work. The Prozac helped for a little while, but I worsened again. This time, I was sure that nothing would help. If I was getting depressed while on medication, then ... well, that was it. There was no hope of a cure. So I kept going downhill, eventually getting even worse than before.
In early January 1997, I took a day off from work. I was just too depressed to go. The day grew worse until, in the afternoon, I put together a suicide plan. Before I could follow through though, my wife came home from her job a couple hours early and found me crying in bed. She called my doctor who asked to talk with me. And then came the golden question: "Have you thought about hurting yourself?"
That, I think, was a defining moment. I could've denied that I'd been planning suicide, but that would get me nowhere (except dead). So I broke down and admitted I'd made a plan and was a few minutes away from it, before I "got caught." My doctor sent me to the emergency room and I was admitted to the hospital psych ward, that night.
I was in the hospital well over a week. There were group therapy sessions and the nurses and counselors all spent time with me trying to find the cause(s) of my depression. It took several days, but I finally started talking about things that had happened 20-to-30 years ago. I remembered things that happened that I'd long forgotten. Such as the time some kids threw me down a flight of stairs at school, in sight of a teacher, who just laughed. There were many other things which I will not go into here. Suffice it to say that I arrived at the hospital in terrible shape, and actually got worse as these things were revealed. However, by about a week after admission, I started to see that none of it was my fault and that I was no longer that bothersome little knee-biter that noone wanted to deal with. Reality was not what I'd believed it to be.
Since then it's been a long, long uphill climb. Since that first hospital admission, I've been back there three times. These setbacks aside, I've slowly gotten better. But I have a long way to go yet, and probably will have a few more breakdowns.
Staff, H. (2008, December 16). My Experience With Depression: How I Became Depressed, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, October 2 from https://www.healthyplace.com/depression/articles/my-experience-with-depression-how-i-became-depressed