Modern Day Counseling

 

You Are Not Alone - A Real Life Depression Story

‘I’d always felt different when I was a child; I was very sensitive and introverted. I also suffered from insomnia from a very early age, without realising it wasn’t normal not to sleep,’ Julie says. ‘It’s these kind of things that make me think that my tendency for depression is something that I’ve inherited, and that it isn’t my fault.’

Julie had her first depressive episode when she was 15.
‘My behaviour was erratic, I was constantly upset, and I was preoccupied with thoughts of suicide. I just wanted to end it all. I didn’t want to leave the house, I wanted to stay in my room alone all the time. Looking back, I should have sought help then, but I didn’t really understand what was going on, and neither did my parents. This first episode lasted for about 6 months.’

Since then, Julie has experienced several severe episodes of depression, some of which she can relate to stressful periods in her life, and others that she cannot explain.

‘It’s unpredictable, which I think helped me understand that it isn’t my fault. It’s taken me a long time to be able to admit that to myself. What I am really trying to do now is understand it as much as I can, and not let it get the better of me,’ she says.

‘Taking that first step to go and try to explain to my doctor how I was feeling was really hard,’ says Julie. ‘I felt like it was the last option left to me. I think in the back of my mind I had put off going in case they couldn’t help me, and it was a waste of time.’

Julie first spoke to a doctor about her depression when she was 20, and was initially prescribed Aurorix (moclobemide) antidepressants.

‘It seemed like a really big decision to start taking them, it was like I was finally admitting defeat,’ she says. ‘But I was definitely hitting rock bottom and they couldn’t have made me any worse.’

Julie found the daily medication initially helped her depression. ‘The Aurorix first started to work about a month or so after I began taking it, and I really felt that things had changed for me. It was a new experience to wake up in the morning and look forward to the day. I think I finally understood what it was like to be normal.’

Julie says that her initial diagnosis came as a relief after years of wondering what was wrong.

‘It scared me, but at least someone was acknowledging that I had a problem and that it wasn’t in my head,’ says Julie. ‘The funny thing was, the doctor never actually said the word depression. The first time I saw that was on my medical certificate; it was a pretty scary moment.’

After initially being prescribed Aurorix, Julie stopped taking the medication after about 6 months when her depressive symptoms began to reappear. She acknowledges now this was the wrong way to handle the situation.

‘I didn’t realise then that it was a matter of finding the right medication for you: I thought that if they didn’t seem to be working, then what was the point? I was going to be depressed forever.’

Julie says this became one of the lowest periods of her life, as she tried to convince herself she could cope without the medication.

‘There was a part of me that still felt taking the medication made me a failure,’ she says.

It was another year before Julie spoke to a doctor about her depression, and she was again prescribed Aurorix. After about 3 months with no success, she was prescribed Zoloft (sertraline). Julie says she had a bad reaction to this medication, but tried to persist with it.

‘I felt like I wasn’t in touch with reality anymore; I was feeling weak and confused all the time.’

Julie persisted with the medication for about 6 months. ‘I wanted it to work so badly, it was like this was my last chance,’ she says.

Julie was then prescribed Cipramil (citalopram), which she continues to take now.

‘I honestly don’t know if this is right for me, but I do definitely feel better,’ she says. ‘It’s really a case of wait and see how I go.’

Julie admits she gets frustrated with trying to find the right medication, but has come to appreciate that the alternative is worse.

Medication combined with ongoing therapy can help alleviate the symptoms of depression.

 

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