This is a very relevant topic for my life right now. I have been on an antidepressant for a month now for depression and anxiety. It's working and I feel like myself again at 31 years old. I wish I hadn't waited so long, but I did have feelings that I was weak for trying medication. However, I just couldn't care about that anymore.
I know I have struggled with depression for a long time. Coming from an abusive home with a family that doesn't believe in psychology had lasting effects on me. My younger sister tells me to just get over it, it wasn't that bad, and "other people had it way worse when they were kids". That doesn't make my experience invalid. I lived in fear of my father and it still haunts me sometimes. Me and my mom think my sister doesn't remember a lot of what happened when we were kids. I remember a lot.
Middle school and high school were the worst times for me. I was suicidal for many years, but I brought home good grades because I was terrified of what would happen if I brought home bad grades. People made fun of me all day at school and I would come home and my dad would tell me I was stupid. He would tell me I was lazy because I never cleaned, but I was the one who did most of the housework. I just couldn't do it around him because he would yell at me and tell me I wasn't doing something "right". He once slapped me in the face and dragged me by my hair for not doing something "right". My parents also fought tirelessly but they stayed together "for the kids". I remember wishing my parents would get a divorce at 5 years old. I told people this and they were horrified, but I hated living with the constant fighting and yelling. Instead, my parents waited until I was in my 20's to get a divorce. I was pretty mad that they waited so long.
My dad isn't solely to blame, my mother had a way of driving him crazy by spending all of the money constantly. She never tried to keep him from hurting us. I know she was also afraid, but I will never forget watching her watching him hit us and doing nothing to stop it. He was no kinder to her, though, and apparently she had to endure things that she will not talk about. I don't want to know. My dad isn't like he was now and I have done my best to forgive him, but I don't know if I ever can fully. He has apologized several times, but I will never forget him hitting me, whipping me with a belt, watching my sister pee on herself over a bag of groceries because she was so scared of my dad and then him yelling at her for peeing on the groceries. I will never forget the house being trashed, things being broken, like my nosy bear lunch box that he shattered when I was in kindergarten.
I did my best to get through it. I started coming home from school and going to sleep, eating dinner, and staying up all night making collages or listening to the radio, or talking on the phone. I would go to school and sleep through my first couple of classes and do the whole thing over again. I started self harming for a while and then things came to a head after I went to a church retreat and I broke down and told others of my depression and suicidal thoughts. Christianity did a lot to get me through those times, I will admit, though I am no longer religious. I told my mother about it after that trip. She cried and said it made her sad, but it was never spoken of again and I never saw a counselor or therapist. I had to doctor myself and, somehow, I was coping without realizing what I was doing. However, I developed compulsive behaviors that I still have to this day. This is part of the reason I was put on an antidepressant. I knew something was wrong because I didn't feel anything anymore and my compulsive behaviors were getting worse. I have degrees in psychology and counseling, so I really should have known....and deep down, I suppose I did. I just didn't want to admit that I needed help.
After being on the antidepressant, I now realize how bad it was. I am not sure how long my depression has been there, but I feel like I have awoken from a coma. I notice that I am more talkative and at ease with others. I know people have noticed the difference. Me and my husband are getting along so well, like we did in the early days. I think things got worse for me after my husband's grandmother, who I was closer to than my own grandmother, passed away suddenly. I became melancholy and started to become very introspective. Then, I didn't get a couple of jobs I applied for and I have been having an identity crisis as far as what I am going to do with my life now that I have finished my master's degree. I would encourage anyone who might be struggling with mental health to seek help and support. You do not have to do it alone. There are many others who know how dark it can get at the bottom.