I generally tend to stay on the up and up when it comes to my blog. I like to keep things positive for those who come and read my stuff. Also, I don't think that you guys want to read about the terrors of my life. When I do write about something unpleasant, I try and keep it as small as possible. Today however, I want to write about something that is deeply personal to me. This is something that I've been thinking about for quite some time. Today's blog is SUPER serious...lol....seriously it is! *stink eye*
This is a sensitive topic, make sure to get all of your laughter out now, I suggest shaking your whole body! Also, this is a long post.
In 2007 I was diagnosed with clinical depression, also known as major depression. This was really hard for me to take but understanding my history it wasn't surprising. Today, I want to share with you my past, and present with my depression. I want to share with you how it was that I was finally diagnosed with it and how I'm coping with it now. I know a lot of people who have it, and this is also my hope that it helps them. I know you feel like you are alone but I want you to know that you aren't.
In order to start we need to go back to High School. I was a senior, supposedly having the time of my life. I had a tight group of friends. I was involved in extra-curricular activities. I had a high school sweet heart. I was having the time of my life, right? Wrong! I had a secret that I hid from everyone. No, despite popular belief, it wasn't that I was gay. Sorry to burst the bubble for everyone who still thinks I am! It was something that I had tried to suppress everyday. It sounds really dramatic, but unless you go through it, you honestly wouldn't understand. I was extremely sad and confused. There were most days I didn't want to get out of bed. It got to the point that I'd pray to God that I wouldn't wake up at all.
No one knew about it, or if they did they didn't talk to me about it. I also wasn't about to walk up to my friends or parents and tell them that I had planned my own demise. I was an adolescent and that was extremely uncool, and I already thought that I was uncool. So, I kept it to myself and tried my hardest to find an outlet. One of them came in the form of helping others. It was extremely hypocritical but it helped curve the thoughts a little. I would listen to others whenever they needed me. It got to the point that one of my friends called me her "therapist" because when she had an issue she would talk to me about it. I would tell myself that I was sucking out all of their issues and taking them into myself. I had a terrible god-complex! If I couldn't fix myself I might as well fix them.
Writing became a great outlet for me as well. I'd constantly carry a notebook, or two or three, around with me and jot down notes about this or that. I started my first blog where I dedicated it to my life and poetry. It was a great way for me to cry out for help without actually doing it. I'm pretty sure no one but the other severely depressed teenagers understood what I was writing about. Others simply saw a normal angry teenager. You know, they all go through that stage.
I found it hard to motivate myself after High School. That's why going to Culinary School was such an extremely amazing thing for me. It was me stepping outside of that depressive box for a few minutes. When I prepared to serve a mission though, I had no time to think about my depression and I simply let it slide to the back burner, or I ignored it. It was amazing, I didn't feel depressed, sad, miserable, angry, frustrated, or anything else for a long time. I didn't even become depressed when I got sent home from my mission the first time or the second. I didn't become depressed when my then girlfriend sent me my dear john letter and wrote "there are other fish in the sea". It seemed like it went away! I was cured and I couldn't have been happier. Boy, was I wrong.
I was in Covina, California. I was a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I was going out everyday helping people feel closer to God. I felt so much love from the people in Covina. There wasn't any other time during my mission, Puerto Rico included, that I had felt at home. I felt like I belonged in Covina. I loved going out everyday and spending the day riding my bike through the California heat. I loved it until one night. I was in bed crying. I didn't know why I was crying but I was. I felt so much dread. I started to pray and asked for comfort but nothing came. I was in a pit of despair. I hadn't felt this way for over a year and it came back like a ton of bricks.
As much as I liked to say that these feelings were a fluke, sort of a one time thing, they weren't. I received a transfer notice a few days later. I moved to another city on the other side of the mission. This is when my depression hit it's worst. It got so bad that I told my mission president that I wanted to go home. I didn't want to get out of bed. My companion and I weren't doing much of anything. He told me to set up an appointment with a therapist and see what we could do from there. I went and spoke to him. I hated every minute of it. We sat in his office in these huge office chairs. He didn't say one word to me for an hour unless I stopped talking then he's just say "continue". He didn't offer any advice or give me any council. When the hour was over he gave me medication and told me to set up an appointment to come back. The meds. helped out a lot. I was me again...just not me. I don't know if that makes sense. I knew that I was happy but it didn't seem real. I knew that the only reason I was happy was because of the medication. I felt extremely fake, and I've always hated fake people. I met with this therapist one more time. I lied to him and told him that I didn't need the meds. anymore. He gave me a different kind. I was transferred to another area, away from the companion who was watching me take them. I stopped taking them.
When I stopped taking the meds. I was able to manage my moods quite well. I was out of the situation I was in and when unpleasant thoughts came in I would quickly change what I was thinking about it. I did this until I got sent home again. The next few years were a wave of extreme ups and downs. I remember writing an 8 page text to my roommate explaining how terrible I was. I remember all of the girls I hurt because of my depressive episodes. I remember sitting there crying for no good reason. I remember not getting out of bed because life just seemed so hard. I remember spending nights just talking about how much I hated life and how I didn't understand what was going on. Brady and Trevor, I want to thank you two especially. You guys put up with so much of my crap. I probably would have dropped out of college had it not been for you guys. You'll never know how highly I think of and respect you guys. Thank you! Also, sorry I put you guys through so much!
That leads us to today! How am I doing today. Well, I still have periods where I don't love life. My depression has evolved to becoming angry and sad. You can really see that I'm having a depressive "episode" when I become angry and then sad. It's not as often as it was when I was younger or even right after my mission. I owe this to my family. Melissa is such a big support to me. She understands me so much and is there whenever I need her. My kids, although they are small, understand when their daddy isn't feeling very well. I have such an amazing support system now that I can talk with that I didn't have when I was younger.
I wrote all of this for a lot of reasons. I've never written my depression story. I hate saying the word depression, and I'm trying to get over that. I have it and I need to realize that. I also wrote it for you guys. It's like I said in the beginning. You might feel like you are alone at times, and it's in those times that you need to realize that you aren't. You are never alone. There is always someone out there who understands you. I will always be there for you if you ever need someone to talk to you.
Until tomorrow my love chickens