I thought I'd start with a few facts from the World Health Organization.
- Depression affects more than 350,000,000 people, nearly 10% of the adult population?
- Depression doesn't discriminate by age, community, race, religion - anything.
- Only one-fifth of those with mental illness will receive treatment and care needed for the condition.
- 75% of visits to the doctor are due to stress-related ailments.
- More than three out of four employees who get the care and treatment needed for their condition see drastic improvement in work performance.
(more facts here)
My story is no different than thousands of others... and you can read about it throughout the pages of my blog, as it's an ongoing life experience for me.
I was 14 the first time I journaled about suicide. I was 16 when a clearly laid out plan was thwarted, thankfully. I've been in and out of therapy ever since, thanks to a teacher, who finally got my parents to see how much help I needed. They weren't capable of understanding me, no matter how much they tried. I don't blame them any more, but it doesn't make the longing for what could have been hurt any less.
I was 13 when my anorexic tendencies took over, though at that point, no one noticed. Graduating from high school sucked, it was a very traumatic summer. College was rocky as well, though I found my true calling as an educator, and while anxiety nearly cost me my college education, I managed to graduate and get an awesome job teaching in a school where I've now spent the last 10 years.
Fast forward through several other therapists (seen anywhere from 4 months to 18 months) and many, many visits to a variety of doctors for a variety of ailments (some were legitimate medical issues, others completely anxiety related.) With all those doctors appointments, it's kind of odd that no one picked up on my eating disorder until just last year. I kept it well under wraps, and it kept my emotions well under control, or so I thought.
Being blessed with multiple mental health issues, including major depression and anxiety, definitely has it's challenges. It is a constant struggle to take care of myself, and to do what needs to be done to lead a fairly productive life. Some days are obviously better than others, as I do have a great job that I love and often times, it's the only reason I do get out of bed.
But some days the depression takes over, and I want to roll over and stay buried under the covers until the weekend is over, and I get to go back to work on Monday. Strange, I know. I've learned over the years that I thrive on structure, and structure is very strong at work, but nearly non-existent at home.
Thanks to an incredible treatment team, including my doctor, therapist, and dietitian, I am doing better than ever. While I am not "cured" nor will I likely ever be completely rid of my depression and it's pals, I am more able to sustain good days, and not let the bad days suck me down as deep as they used to.
Cause without them.... without my doctor (who is amazing,) who sent me to my therapist (whom I adore,) who sent me to my dietitian (whom I also adore,) I'd become another negative statistic. And that is something I'd rather avoid.