My first experience with clinical depression happened when I was nine years old. I had no idea what it was or what was wrong with me. I felt so bogged down. I just wanted to sleep. I felt sad and lonely. My mother thought I was being rebellious because I wouldn't take baths. It lasted about a month and then I was back to normal. I found it hard to concentrate at school. My teacher made fun of me. After about a month it went away until I turned fifteen. I was depressed the entire year. I almost had to repeat the year in school. I didn't have to for some reason. I remember having trouble with math and chemistry classe. I made it to school on time but I had a hard time concentrating. Again, I had no idea that it was clinical depression. I figured it out later after I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
I didn't have another depressive episode until 1989 when I was in college. I was 21 years old then. I had several incomplete classes and had to take some over in summer school. I remember being very lethargic and slow and wanting to sleep. I couldn't get enough sleep. I would sleep in classe. I had a hard time concentrating. I was extremely sad and felt like a failure. I couldn't think very fast. I remember feeling such emotional pain that one night I wandered the campus screaming in agony. I tried killing myself with pills. I was extremely suicidal. I was involved in a campus ministry at the time. I studied with a girl and she and her sister became Christians. Then I studied with another girl who left the church with the first girl I studied. I felt so guilty that this happened that I locked myself in my dorm room for three days. I was so depressed. Then it went away and all through 1990 I felt good.I got depressed again in 1991. When I saw a doctor he diagnosed me with hypothyroid and gave me some pills for my thyroid. I continued to get depressed and became suicidal.
In 1992 I was suicidal and left school. I moved in to my own apartment after getting a job downtown. I got so suicidal that I set my apartment on fire thinking I would die in the fire. I got scared after setting my daybed on fire and left the apartment. I called a friend who took me to the hospital. I was arrested at the hospital for Arson. I spent two weeks in jail. I eventually got two years probation after which my record would be expunged. This was the lowest time in my life. I felt like such a failure. I was given prozac in jail. After I left jail I was diagnosed with unipolar depression. I was given an antidepressant. I had a bad reaction to the medicine and had a drug-induced manic episode. I was hospitalized over night and sent home the next day with the correct diagnosis bipolar disorder.
I had no home so I lived in my Dad's rented house. It was empty since he was living with his girlfriend. The nex three years were rough. I was trying to get back to work and learn about my illness.I was put on lithium which worked well except I couldn't drink caffeine for some reason. I was on lithium for 5 years. For some reason I don't remember I was put on tagertol which didn't work, lamictal which didn't work, Depakote which worked but made my periods irregular and Wellbutrin which gave me insomnia. My health insurance changed alot and I didn't always have the same psychiatrist. I went back on lithium after my most recent manic episode and have been on lithium for 8 years.
I have dealt with severe depression most of my life. It's hard to explain how debilitating it is. It's very difficult for me to be positive and stress of any kind can trigger it. I don't realize I have been depressed until I am out of it. While I am depressed my view of reality is skewed. I expect my worse fears to actually happen. It's easy for me to have alot of anxiety at times. Right now my husband is out of work and we don't have much money. I am having a hard time being positive right now about my husband finding a job in time. The economy is still bad and he hasn't had much luck. His brother sent us some money and I hope his mother will give us some money when we ask her. I am looking for work but I have to start sleeping at night. I don't know if I can change my sleep patterns I will try so I can get back to work. I am going to sign up with a state program that helps people with disbilities find work. I have been out of work for 12 years and I can't find work because I have been unemployed so long.
Clinical depression is dangerous because if gone untreated it can lead to suicide. I know that my brother was clinically depressed and that is why he committed suicide when he was in prison. I feel that going through that experience kept me from actually making alot of suicide attempts except the two I mentioned. I saw how his death devistated my mother and sisters. Some days I feel suicidal but I decide to live and face my problems. It's really hard right now because I'd rather be dead than homeless. I used to think how impossible it would be to lose a home but I have already lost one. I know it's possible so I am trying to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. It's really hard right now relying on the state which is overwhelmed with unemployed people. I wanted for my husband to keep his job until the economy improved but that's not what happened. I felt anger at him because he is angry for some reason and little things upset him and that's how he lost his job. I resent him for putting us in this situation. I haven't been in a situation like this for years.
Being clinically depressed is hard because it is difficult to think positive. I have a hard time believing that good things happen and we can avoid the bad things. I tend to believe if a bad thing happens to you once it can happen again. That's my experience. It makes for alot of anxiety which can lead to a panic attack. I had two of those so far. They are extremely unpleasant. I felt like I was dying and there was no way out. I can't explain the depths of despair I have felt while severely depressed. Psychological pain is worse than physical pain in that one doesn't see an end to the suffering. That's why suicide looks so good to a depressed person. I have had to make a decision ahead of time to live each day. Some days are harder than others. I have to force myself to think of loved ones and how they would react to my death. I have to tell myself that the pain I feel isn't permenant and that I will feel better. That can be almost impossible for me to do at times.
This year is turning out to be challenging. I am forced to face my fears and try to get through hard times. It's hard for me to be positive right now but I am trying. Hopefully I will be working again eventually and this will help me to be more positive and encouraged.