Post
Experience Project iOS Android Apps | Download EP for your Mobile Device

The Stigma

There is a reason the subject of mental illness is so vitally important to me.  I know it intimately.  Having lived with chronic clinical depression most of my life, I've learned to deal with it, to function, to manage.  In that way, depression is similar to alcoholism, another topic I know a great deal about.  Just like I'm not sure people realize how many seemingly well functioning alcoholics there are, I doubt they see past the barriers we erect to simply make it through another day, depressed.  I've told my story in other posts so I'll try not to repeat myself here.  I'll tell another part of the story, the part I don't talk about openly.

I grew up knowing about suicide.  There were uncles and cousins who took their own lives.  No one talked about it.  When they did it was only in a hushed, shameful voice.  I grew up understanding shame quite well.  As an adult, I understand there can be a genetic component to depression.  The fact there are so many suicides in my family is not simply a tragedy.  It's impossible to ignore the genetic link.

I've always tried to be open with my kids about everything.  Besides, you really can't hide stuff from your kids.  When my son was 13, he was struggling greatly in school.  He would come home in tears daily.  One day there was a commercial on tv, a public service announcement about depression and your local mental health clinic.  He looked at me and said, "mom, I think that's what's wrong with me". I remember the moment because I'm quite sure my heart stopped.  I knew I couldn't ignore it or make light of it.  I took him to a local counselor and we got lucky, they hit it off great.  Turns out his problems in school were related to some learning disabilities that had gone undiagnosed earlier.  His struggle ate away at his self esteem to the extent, he never fully gained it back, as far as school went.   The counseling helped him a great deal though.

A few years ago  my son came into my office at work early one weekday morning.  He was pale and shaking and asked me if I could take him to the emergency room, he didn't know what was wrong with him.  I talked to him as we made the 20 minute drive to the doctor's office.  I recognized the signs...he was having a panic attack.  I tried to calm him down, and fortunately, there was a doctor available to see him.  The doctor calmed him down further, explained what was happening.  He now also takes medication and sees a doctor on a regular basis.  He's doing well now.  Depression and anxiety occur quite often in unison.

My son and I are alike in many ways, including sharing the mental illness of depression and anxiety disorder.  My daughter and I are like many mothers and daughters I suppose.  We are often at odds.  As I said, I've tried to be open with my kids about my depression and their father's alcoholism.  The discussion flows easily with my son.  My daughter however, doesn't want to talk and has done a good job at burying her feelings.  I recognize it so well because at her age I was much the same.  Except my mother wouldn't have wanted to talk about any of it.  We have a pretty good relationship, we can talk about lots of things and enjoy spending time together.  But I've been aware for the last several years, there's a delicate balance to maintaining our relationship.

I've only told this story to two people in my life I was very close to.  But I want to tell it again now.  My daughter is the opposite of her brother in most every way.  She was a straight A student, she has lots of friends, is involved in lots of activities.  She seems to have it all together.  She's always seemed more mature than her years.  I so often look back and wonder what I didn't see.

When she was around 13 I received a call at work from her jr high counselor asking me to come in for a talk.  It seemed one of her friends had gone to the counselor because she was afraid my daughter was going to harm herself.  Apparently she had mentioned suicide.  Another moment in my life I will always remember clearly.  The world stopped.  I met with the counselor who could only give me vague details of what had gone on.  I met with all her teachers and asked if they had seen anything or knew of anything going on.  They were all as shocked as I was.  I made an appointment for her with a private counselor.  I tried talking to her but she was angry.  Angry I'd talked to the counselor and teachers, angry I was making her go to a counselor and angry I was making her tell her dad why I'd been called to school.  A lot of 13 yr old girl trauma going on back then.

For a few months I took her to the counselor.  She either wouldn't talk or only talked about things that were fine.  She told me it had all been a big misunderstanding, a joke that got out of hand.  However, I knew her friends well, the same group of girls are her friends today.  There was something they heard or saw that gave them reason to be very concerned.  Eventually, things calmed down.  I couldn't find anything in her behavior or notice any changes to give me a clue to what had been going on or was going on now.  She continued through high school with a 4.0 GPA taking honors classes.  She was very involved with the music programs and has always been  responsible and trust worthy.

Yet still, I worry.  I don't know if depression will be something she must deal with too.  As mature and responsible as she is, I know in some ways she's still a little girl.  I don't know if she will come to me if she needs help.  I'm not sure she wouldn't be ashamed of it if she did need help.  She's used to being very independent and she is headstrong, with attitude (I don't know where she got that).  And there's nothing I can do, but be here whenever she needs me.

So there you have it.  I have two children.  My son is now 25, employed as a mechanic and a truck driver, married and has a child on the way.  My daughter is 21 and in college, getting her accounting degree.  They were each at risk of being a teenage suicide.  I could have lost one or both of them.  Every time I hear of another suicide, especially a young person, my heart breaks a little bit.  And it makes me angry.

Why can't we talk about mental illness freely and openly?  Why do people feel ashamed of having an ILLNESS?  It's not a weakness of character, it's not laziness, it's not feeling sorry for yourself, it's a disease people.  It's not a joke. 

I want to repeat that for anyone who may have missed it, it's an illness, not something you toss around lightly to disparage people's beliefs or make them feel small.  And damn those of you who do it.

Things are gradually getting better.  The stigma still exists.  I dare anyone to try to prove to me it doesn't.  I feel it's only fair to warn you.  I am a mother first, and I will always do everything in my power to see that my children lead happy and healthy lives.  Speaking up and speaking out is the least I can do.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.

 

SeriouslySappy SeriouslySappy 51-55, F 144 Responses Sep 16, 2009

Your Response

Cancel

I and my family have a very similar background to yours. My son's are 22 and almost 20 and I worry about them alot. I managed to stay as calm as possible around them but wish they would open up more to me. My youngest has been more open recently, since I opened up about myself and the past, and it has really helped us. My older son is more of a closed book. They are both studying after my younger taking a year out and my older dropping out of his original course. They both live away from home. I want their ultimate happiness and peace of mind but know I have to let go a little to allow this to happen. There are dark things on our past that I don't want to see repeating.

Here is a link to a Free Personal Development Audio Book - I hope you can gain something from it :-)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWDiXN8nAx4&feature=youtu.be

I soooo sympathize with you. I have a diagnosis of panic disorder, major depression, bipolar 2 and borderline personality disorder. My biggest problem in my life besides all of this is that my wonderful "family" refuses to even acknowledge that I am mentally ill. I think it's all about guilt with my parents. They think that my problem is immaturity, poor behavior and that I have no desire to "change." If they would just LISTEN to me and face the fact that I am ill, they would begin to understand me. I can dream, OK? My family is VOID of compassion, good thoughts, and has sent me nothing but negative signals all of my life. No wonder I'm ill. No wonder.
I have been in psychotherapy since the age of 20, been given all manner of medications and such, and only get marginal relief from my symptoms. I am now in my late 50's without a wife (ever) or even a relationship. All of my relations with the opposite sex become train wrecks in a matter of weeks, because of my illness.
Yes, the stigma has to lift so that people understand that we don't choose to be this way. They just don't get it.

Talking about it is a taboo yet people are more aware of depression these days which is great. Some people are not keen to admit their problems just like alcohol or drugs users and some find it easy to share their problems. Once I told my friends about my depression they either took advantage of me or they avoid me so I don't bother with them anymore. They think depression means crazy people which is untrue of course. They are just bloody narrow minded people and those who are like that, I hope in their later life, they suffer the same fate and i wouldn't be there at all.

I know this post was written more than 3 years ago but the message it's trying to get across still applies. It truly is well written and all the replies have contributed to my learning from this post.

I have suffered from depression, that I am aware of, since I was 15. Mine is ocassional but when it hits it's pretty obvious to me that I'm dealing with it. I can relate to alot of the posts and I too feel that there is a stigma attached or ignorance or a preference to just ignore it and it'll go away and the person will be fine. There were several things in the posts that go my attention, the first being was the topic because as I am writing this I am dealing with it once again, and just in time for the holidays. Someone asked why it seemed worse during the holidays? well I think it's because we're expected to be happy and cheerful and engaging and the everything should be perfect....but often it's not and trying to live up to the expectations of family and society during the holidays is dually challenging and we often fail, I know I do. I SO do not want to put up Christmas decorations it reminds me of what I'm not feeling and of what I am unable to do. I would prefer not to decorate but my kids insist upon it, they don't know I'm depressed. They may sense something is wrong but they don't know what.

For me my first episode of depression came and went completely undiagnosed but I remember it well. At the time depression was not something you talked about and I had never even heard of it. My whole depression, the worst of it where I was acutely aware of being in terrible pain lasted about 3 months. I was able to get out of it by getting myself out of the situation and making changes. But that was all I knew. And each succeeding depression was about the same, it hit hard when the worst of it came and it seems to come every few years. I have analyzed my depressions and have found some patterns to them. Which helps, I can recognize when I am slipping into one, though this one really caught me off guard. And if I can see them coming I can head them off and they are less severe. But it hasn't always been like that. But I am just now looking at what might be my triggers and I can already see some similarities in each episode.

Most recently in my life I learned that I was involved in an emotionally abusive marriage to a Narcissist. Some of you mentioned circumstances and the descriptions you gave tell me you've probably been dealing with a Narcissist. I have learned more about Narcissism than I ever wanted to and yes it's a mental illness and it's one of them that can't be changed and the Narcissist usually is unaware and/or has no desire to change, it's the victims that suffer from this disorder and often accompanying is it depression. During my marriage I had at least 2 maybe 3 episodes. Two for sure were connected to post partum depression but stil it's a form of depression and it annoyed my x that I was depressed and couldn't snap out of it and that I couldn't attend to him etc. He would often use my depression to bully me, telling me I was a useless mother and that it made me weak or look weak and I was incapable of doing the smallest thing.

So dealing with the recovery from being in an abusive relationship I've had to do some serious looking at myself, my past and my relationships, everything so that I could understand why and how I got involved with such a bad person. By and large my X was tame compared to what some Narcissists do bu I was still affected greatly by his behaviors. I don't talk much about the depression. Most people that I encounter don't want to know, all they do want to know is when I 'll be better and that I have alot of live for and yada yada. I haven't learned to live with it well, I wait for it to go away and most of the time I have to do it myself without support.

I have done therapy but I don't find it very effective when I'm not given help to deal with that's in front of me. I get told to be happy, think positive and stuff like that. I had one counselor tell me when I was about 16 or so that I need to be making others feel better by giving them compliaments and such and I should stop being so needy, well something to that effect anyways. I've tried the drugs, a few different kind but I could not stand the side effects they make me more anxious and jittery than the depression itself did. I have found some natural stuff that works when I am consistent. The thing is when I feel better I do stop using them. I usually don't need them again for a few years.

So what is the answer? I think educating it great and I hope that some day the stigma goes away but it's hard to talk about because I do believe I have lost a few friends because of it and because they truly didn't understand or couldn't accept what was happening to me and couldn't deal with the amount of support I needed. But at this moment I have been involved in a relationship with a man that I truly believe is perfect for me and things had been going really well but then it seemed like overnigiht things changed and looking back I can see roughly about that time I started changing and I think that I've been slowing falling into this depression for nearly 6 months, if that's the case I have to figure out if that's consistent with my history and try to determine what the trigger is. But anyways, this man knows nothing of depression and asked me to educate him on it, and he says he won't leave and that he will support me, but all the same I am afraid of loosing him and that causes me anxiety which just adds to the depression. It just hard to believe him when everyone else in past has given up on my and left.

I wish this was a forum, because I have been on a Narcissism recovery board and it's made a HUGE difference having the immediate feedback and a community that can truly relate to what you're talking about and some place safe to come and vent and know that you will not be judged.

Thank you for posting, all of you. and I apologize for this being so long :) Thank you for taking the time to read, it took me nearly two days to get the energy to write it.

Good for you, good for you!
It seems that you've found the right person to love you and help you with life.
Good luck to you.

Sadly this man that I thought was the right person, just said all the right things. I would come to learn in just a few months after I wrote this that he too was/is a Narcissist. I have since left him, had closure with him, if that's even possible, and have moved on to complete No contact with him. And things have been better since. So it's the people you surround yourself with too that can contribute to depression.

Thank you for the response, Kat. It's sad but it's a good thing that you were able to find-out early-on. Take good care, dear. My "relationships" with women usually last but two months......So I can certainly relate in some ways. And, yeah, the people you "hang-out" with can really mess-up an otherwise good day. GB and HNY to you, Kat.

I totally get where you're coming from with the stigma of depression. Back in year 11, I had finally given up with depression and stopped fighting. I planned suicide and when I told a friend, she told the teacher, who told the school counsellor, who told the principle, who kicked me out of school for two weeks because they didn't want the drama and apparently I was 'traumatising' my two best friends because i told them. <br />
<br />
My two 'ex' best friends were not allowed to contact me and had counselling and support because of the trauma I had inflicted all the while I was shoved to the side like a pile of rubbish. My parents were so angry and upset at me as well and put me through the whole 'guilt' trip and I never really got any support at that time. <br />
<br />
When I went back to school my two friends didn't want to have anything to do with me, they said I was too much of a burden and they told all my other friends what had happened which was humiliating for me to come back to. <br />
<br />
So yeah I get there's a stigma to depression. Never again did I mention the word depression to anyone.

I don't understand. How could telling your best friends that you were planning suicide, traumatize them. Were they that fragile! Why were you sent home for two weeks rather than confronting the issue for your benefit. You must live in a different universe than I live:(

AVOIDING THE STIGMA <br />
as a kid I prided myself on being able to show only the emotions that I thought others wanted from me. I could cheer my mom, make my sister calm down, listen to other people and relate and give insight. this was very empowering but eventually caught up with me. I started taking pain killers to not show anger, as a teen I took anything to numb the pain that I didn't want to show to others, not realizing that I could admit to suffering from depression because the stigma seemed so huge. At having is point after finally seeking help for depression for a few years and putting my fear of mental health stigma aside I have seen all forms. I have gone through times of denial, times of close to no function, times of thinking that I was "past depression or anxiety" and also times of feeling very suicidal and hopeless. <br />
<br />
For me their is hope in knowing that others that struggle with a similar road learn to live with it, I don't see that as giving up, I see that as "life goes on" mentality which isn't always easy to do. <br />
<br />
Thanks for writing this. I am glad you bring up the mother daughter/family element when coping with depression, as well as the stigma around mental illness. I am thankful that my mom through out my life has been open to talking about managing depression and I think it may be due to her life experience with dealing with people who have committed suicide. <br />
Through out my life I haven't ever been close with someone who has committed suicide but I have lost friends to violence (been shot and killed), and I have had people close to me threaten suicide. This makes me not ever want to share my inner struggles with people who I care about because I anticipate the pain it could put them through, which I am seeing has led me to let it build up to the point that I am at now...<br />
I have noticed that as I am going though the ups and down of depression I reach out to family as well as push them away. I don't want my family to see me at my worst but I also try to be transparent with them. Especially with the family that like to gossip or share with the world my personal business. I relate a lot to people not able to talk about it. I can't seem to shake that if something didn't traumatically happen to make my day bad then if I talk about it the way I really feel I will be complaining. I know this is thinking but it also seems the more I talk about depression the worse it gets. So I find myself very much believing in all forms of support for those suffering from mental health illness problems but not able to help myself. I don't let friends in on my struggles because I feel like they will view it as self sabotage. Anyways I shared all this to possibly hear feedback, give feed back that I very much like your post...

Thankd for writing this. I can tell you put alot of you in there. In life with all my adventures ive cried the suicide card well who wouldent when they were kicked out of here in /3. Couldent deal w my tomsyndrome. s a whole diff storyta

I hear you. I so agree and can relate about the fact on how we can still manage, function, force ourselves to do things that seem so hard when you have depression. I know I will always talk about it to my children and I am hoping they will never have to suffer from this.I would feel guilty but I know I will be there for them because like you hearing about teen suicide just really breaks my heart for we can relate to this despair that comes at this time of life when you wish you could be understood, seen, heard for who you are and still learning about who you are...

Thank you but please don't misunderstand my previous reply. Many people who responded had read previous stories of mine and understood some of the references I made in this story.<br />
<br />
Let me address significant points of your initial reply I take issue with. <br />
<br />
Yes, my son was definitely at risk. My daughter's situation was very different and required a different approach. I have never pushed anything on them, simply tried to let them know I was available, would listen & help in any way I could.<br />
<br />
Yes, I have received treatment beginning with therapy. Upon a therapist's insistance, I saw a psychiatrist who prescribed Wellbutrin. After some time, I was convinced I was fine and shouldn't need the pills. A few years later I was a mess and back to the therapist and then the psychiatrist. This time it was much more difficult to find a med which would work. Whatever term you wish to categorize it with, my depression has been lifelong. While suicide may not have a genetic factor, depression can have. Untreated, severe depression can lead to suicide. I attempted it at 21. At 45 the depression I was dealing with was so severe, my doctor was considering trying an anti-psychotic medication to kick start my brain chemistry into balance. Fortuanately, before we reached that point, a combination of Effexor, Wellbutrin & Xanax for the accompanying anxiety was effective.<br />
<br />
The reason I know so much about alcoholism isn't because I self-medicated with booze. My husband is an alcoholic. His 2 brothers are alcoholics. His parents were alcoholics. I won't debate that alcoholism is the accurate term, it is. Yes, I have been to Al-Anon & AA meetings to increase my understanding & to learn about that disease. I can not fix him. I can not control anyone else. I can only work on my own issues and control how I react to those around me.<br />
<br />
What do I do to address & change the stigma? I speak openly about my depression & treatment among my own family, among friends, among co-workers. I never shove anything down anyone's throats. I know better than anyone, I do not have all the answers. However, I will listen and point people in directions to seek their own treatment. Many people have come to me for such attention & advice. In real life & EP. My personal philosophy is never to judge because I hate being judged myself.<br />
<br />
I have not learned to live with anything because I've given up or because I'm waiting for a miracle. I've learned to accept this is a disease I can only live with if I am self aware and willing to follow the treatment regimen. I'm not lazy or sloppy or feeling sorry for myself. I have an illness which requires medication & treatment. I will never forget that again.<br />
<br />
I apologize for the harshness of my previous comments as I can see you meant no harm. However, I am accutely passionate on the issue of mental illness. Due to my recent loss, I'm overly sensitive to most things. Grief is a much larger monster in my life these days.

Serious,<br />
<br />
There's mo implied criticism of any single thing you wrote. You wrote it with great intent and look how many positive responses you have received. You've done brilliantly in fact, found something in most everyone that needed touching and brough it out of them.<br />
<br />
Truly you could not have written a more effective post as is succeeded magnificently. I said I had some comments but that did not detract from what you wrote and how well you wrote it, to appeal o all.<br />
<br />
I think it's a truly honest, heartfelt and meaningful post which nobody could be negative about.<br />
<br />
No, you're not an expert, but then again, nobody is, including the entire medical profession. It is my firm opinion that we know much more than they and the only way they can learn is from us. Without our feedback, they know nothing at all. More of us need to be more honest to help them help us and the future Us's. For some reason many think it's clever to hide things and trick medical staff. The only person they fool is themselves when they do that. You have to let it all out or you get nowhere, right?<br />
<br />
So sorry to hear of your loss. You must be strong to be still doing what you do. My condolences, if they mean anything. I too have suffered great personal losses in my life and it never goes away but you learn to live with it. Remember the good and forget the bad.<br />
<br />
Actully the reason I wrote to you is threefold. One, to laud your standing up to stigma, two in fear you may do what I did and turn my son against me, with your daughter and 3 to congratulate you on your support for your son. You family was lucky to have you at it's core and they know that. Let your daughter make her mistakes, as long as she knows you are there when she finds out you were right and you wil help.<br />
<br />
Brilliant post Serious.

I read your story and I believe you have said a few things I might offer comments on.<br />
<br />
Please don't reject my comments until you have read all the post.<br />
<br />
The first is to NOT shove it down your children's throats as you are no expert yourself are you. You say you have learnt to live with it? Is that it? You've given up on improvement? Really? Or are you just waiting for a miracle.<br />
<br />
Having had it all your life you should know one thing. If left alone it will deteriorate. Always. So you must keep the meds and treatment up regardless of how strong you feel. And do look for improvement, it it's avaiable.<br />
<br />
You say you've had clinical depression all your life. Sorry but that's not possible nor is clinical depression a depression type. It's just depression. The name can change once a clinician, a doctor, begins treating you but it doesn't change the depth or strenth of the depression one iota. It is still the same condition. Surely you know that by now.<br />
<br />
And likening it to alcoholism is a crock of rubbish. Drinking booze is a voluntary action, Depression is an illness, not a disease and it' snot vountary. So how long did you drink for and were you treated whilst doing so? As that would be a waste of everybody's time and money, nothing to be proud of there.<br />
<br />
If you were drinking your treatment was negated. Full stop.<br />
<br />
I had a similar issue when I was in my early twenties. I knew there was something wrong but had no idea. I found drink made me feel good and happy, soul of the party.. No meds at all aty that stage.<br />
<br />
So I drank for nearly 30 years, but only when I was awake. Best solution there has been until the last decade. I never drank by myself and kept no booze at home. It was about a 3 day turnaround. One big night, a day of feeling hungover badly while working and a day to recover then do it all again. For 30 years. I was a happy drunk, always laughing and having an absolute ball. Until that last night when I became violent. So I stopped right then, not a drop or even a want since then. Lost every friend and never went near anywhere that has booze since. I regard those places now as outpatient wards for mental health sufferers.<br />
<br />
Which meant depression surfaced, blew me apart and I had to get serious about treatment, which I did with an intensity. Never missed a dose, appointment or anything related. Did what I agreed with the doc and slowly moved up until I feel I am now sitting on the edge of the black pit, looking down to see who I can assist.<br />
<br />
I still have the habits of depression, 50 years, including the drink period. Since age 10 I found. So I stay vigilant and will have to for life. I have tried no meds many times and 6 weeks is the best while I changed drugs. Now, I'm stable on the only drug that helped me, Effexor. I have also had a few episodes of hypomania so I'm officially BP but that's easily controlled with meds.<br />
<br />
Stigma? It used to upset me too and I'd be hurt by what people did. Until one day when I was starting to feel strong again. I just felt "I'm not going to take that". So I got up and followed the guy, stopped him and gave him a mouthful he'll never forget. The idea being that he would remember it and hesitate before trying it on anyone else.<br />
<br />
I can do it, so I do. Nobody gets away with it around me. Old lady or bikie, they get told and lectured about it. I'm tall and look like a bikie too so I'm never challenged. If they see that glint in my eye they know to shut up.<br />
<br />
All puff and no bite but it does the job. Aggression is needed else they laugh it off and keep doing it.<br />
<br />
You are to be applauded loudly for doing your bit in your way. Don't ever let anyone put u=us down for having an illness. Thank you for that, I wish there were more who would do so but I remember the fear and the wish to just curl up so I can't blame anyone for saying nothing. I'll try for them, and me. As you do too.<br />
<br />
Growing up with suicide around us is quite common actually. Most just don't mention it as it scares them so much. I tried twice and pulled back, I decided I would live and take anything this illness has to throw at me. Had a second family since then! 19 years together, longer than my first disaster, wedding that is.<br />
<br />
Also never let anybody tell and make you feel depression takes away our IQ. If anything I believe is raises it as we face such difficult things and have to deal with it ourselves. When we are at the bottom it seems like it's gone but it's just inert for a time, being protected from this illness. As we come up it asserts.<br />
<br />
Hypomania has proven to me the human brain is capable of so much more than we accept daily now. It's so powerful and fills you with energy and joy. Falling back to earth is like dying though so it's best to settle for average having felt the heights.<br />
<br />
There is NO genetic connection to suicide at all. About 1/3rd of people may have genetic depression but suicide is not aitomatically a part of that. Thet depends on getting tretment. No treatment, that's where we all head. Treatmen? It goes away. Not genetic. Forget about your relatives doing it, nothing to do with you.<br />
<br />
Society IS changing, in the West at least and becoming more accepting of an illness they used to jail us for. Due to people speaking up, like you, and me. Say it in public, quietly is fine, but firmly. My way is aggression as I use my appearance you see. Works well.<br />
<br />
Good wishes to you and yours.<br />
<br />
My son has depression, bad. But we can't talk and have had no contact for over 4 years now. We can't be together as we are too simliar. We spark each other. Sad but we've both accepted it now, I hope. When he wrote to my partner and said too much, including "He makes me feel like dying" I decided enough and insisted on space for both. Of course I didn't MAKE him feel that but he is as stubborn as I but I have experience too and always find answers he can't handle you see.<br />
<br />
I tell you that in the hope you don't have the same situation with your daughter. She sounds like most humans. Refuses to accept it and won't listen to anyone. Let her find her own way and you'll stay close. I learnt the hard way. I have 3 daughters who are all fine and they know not to poke the monster, me. I'm usually fine but some days.....You know all about that too.<br />
<br />
Keep up the good work and, as stupid as it sounds, try not to worry about your kids until something happens. Then you swoop in and see what you can do.<br />
<br />
Good story, thank you.

Well, I guess you told me. For what it's worth, yes, I have received treatment in the form of both therapy &amp; medications. I still take meds. What a coincidence, Effexor is one of the meds which has worked for me. The last 10 years have been a period of great personal growth.

Perhaps, my terminology was clumsy and I did not explain myself as well as I could have done. My primary purpose in writing this was to try &amp; help people understand this disease is very common and there is help available. No one should ever be ashamed of having a disease.

As you clearly stated, I am no expert. I was simply sharing my experience in the hopes someone else might relate to it. I prescribe no meds or treatments for anyone. I do encourage them to reach out for help.

As for me, my childrern, grandchildren &amp; life ... it's progressing well thank you. Considering I just recently lost the love of my life, I'd say I'm doing good all things considered.

Thanks for sharing your experience.

One must wonder if the children were ever really at risk. Most people have such thoughts, even if fleetingly.<br />
<br />
Do you have treatment yourself?<br />
<br />
How do you speak out and what do you actually do to help break down the stigma? What do you do if some idiot says something like "You're just lazy"? etc.<br />
<br />
Impossible but you need to stop worrying about death so much and let things be. It works much better that way and having treatment is the way to recovery.

It's okay with me if people just don't get it. They are human therefor flawed in superstition,ignorance,and the psychological defenses are up to their neck. When and if a person is open to learning and they are ready,then they will accept. It's hard enough for the person with depression to even realize what the problem is. I understand your position and you have good reason to feel the way you do. I do understand because I am in your shoes also. I am sorry you have suffered along with your children. If it's any comfort to you, you have helped me today because i just wanted to end this pain but it does pass.

I shared this story with another, and I'll share the short story with you also. Long story short, my son and I have been the victims of the most heinous judicial, CPS, and beauracratic crimes you can never imagine whereby his drug addicted, abusive, and alcoholic father got custody of him when he was a mere three and a half years old such that I knew nothing about the initial change of custody until it was all said and done. Since then, these monsters supposed to protect victims have tried to falsely allege that I was mentally ill only to cover their butts for what they did, but my son is the one that suffered. Where he has been, for the last twelve and a half years the victim of domestic violence at the hands of his father, and denied inspite of evidence to the contrary by CPS, he has now got low self esteem, he acts out at school, has got into substance abuse issues, and so forth. I recently got him back after fighting for him all those years, making these fools know I wasn't going to go away. As a result of all we've been through, I have found in the past that I had panick attacks, would be stressed and depressed, my son has low self esteem, depression, and we're just tore up from all that's been done to us. I'm very anti medications and so we turned to natural products. The products we take now have not only helped us, but people with worse ailments than ours swear by them. They have helped me with depression as well as my son, I no longer have panick attacks, my son is not so anxious and fidgety anymore, and the one product helps him naturally focus in class and gives him energy and mental clarity but has no caffeine or sugar. Where I am unemployed now, I decided to get the income from products that I and my son love and that has helped restore us. I'd be glad to share with you if you'd like me to, just let me know. In the meantime, I hope my sharing our experiences has helped you some, and I feel for all you've gone through. God bless.

Thanks for your story. I would totally agree with there being a stigma.<br />
I tried telling my mum on various occasions that I think I'm depressed, but she'd tell me i was just having a down day and to stop being so silly.<br />
<br />
I tried to think that she is right, but i knew she wasn't.<br />
<br />
one of my friends has depression, i always though she did and she was diagnosed. i used to worry alot about her because she self harmed. I tried to tell her i was depressed but before i did another friend of mine told us she had depression. behing her back my first friend used to say "what has she got to be depressed about". this made me angry, i don't really talk to her anymore, i can't tell her i'm depressed because she'd probably say the same thing about me.<br />
<br />
but i thought that as she suffers from depression she should know that many different things cause depression.<br />
<br />
i feel that even she is judging those with depression who's reasons aren't as bad as hers.<br />
<br />
i just wish someone would take me seriously when i say that i'm depressed. my boyfriend knows though, only recently though we've talked about it. i tried to tell my doctor but i could already feel the judgement and lack of sympathy or any feeling coming from him that i chickened out. <br />
<br />
thanks for sharing your story, and i definitely feel that there is a stigma attached to mental illness even though there are many peole who have a mental illness.

I truely hope forr you that you get a better relationship with your daughter, as for all with your son it is great you can have such an open relationship.<br />
<br />
I am a mother of 2 girls, only 3 and 4 years old, come April. In my youngest, I just see her as the spitting image of her father, exact replica. My almost 4 year old, worries me to a point where I get completely panicked and freaked out. <br />
<br />
I have several mental illness, bipolar, panic, split personality, and several personality disorders. I am so scared my 4 year old is following in my steps, she is completely my replica. I watch her behaviors, attitudes, everything, and all I see is me. <br />
<br />
I was a drug addict and alcoholic for 13 years, so I feel your pain with your husband. I was functioning the first 10 years of it, then it was really down hill the last 3. I am recovered since 2003. <br />
<br />
Also, I am very empathetic towards all people I see. I can lookin someones eyes and FEEL exactly how they are feeling. saddened, joyful, etc... My 4 year old also does this. If she sees someone crying she cries. <br />
<br />
I dont know what to do. she is only 4 years old. I know she needs to mature more for anything to really occur or to be seen. I am steadily watching over her as a baby would be looked after to the point it looks i favor her over my 3 year old, but I am so fearful for her. I do not want her to go thru what i have gone thru and what i still go thru.

I was clinically depressed from childhood. I attempted suicide at 12. What a damning life experience I had.<br />
<br />
Then I found the root cause of my depression. I wasn't looking for it - it just came upon me.<br />
<br />
The worldview that I had been accepting as "normal" was radically insane and cruel. And there seemed no way out of it. The more I struggled, the greater the depression and the more I longed for death.<br />
<br />
Then the worst/best thing that could ever happen, happened. My worldview crashed. I saw the lies and deceit. I saw how I had been imprisoned by beliefs that did not serve me well. I rejected all the obvious lies.<br />
<br />
This meant that I rejected love of God and love of country, and - for the first time - I began to aspire to love of self. (In our country, it is wrong to love one's self - which is how we are kept in our insane prisons).<br />
<br />
I was lucky that I escaped. I have a brother and sister with schizophrenia and a brother and sister with bi-polar disorder. My other siblings have been on, or are on, anti-depressants, or alcohol - not that pot is illegal.<br />
<br />
I think that there would be a lot less mental illness if there were a lot more pot available. Had I not been able to see outside of the lie, I would still be captive to it, and would still be depending on anti-depressants to keep me going until I found a better way to die than old age.

Thanks for your comments everyone! <br />
<br />
The stigma is alive & well today. Mental illness is still mis-understood & treated by many as a dirty, little secret. Don't let anyone do that to you. Get treatment of some sort, live your life and never, ever be ashamed of having an illness. Fortunately, treatment does work in the vast majority of cases. It may take awhile to find what works for you, but don't give up.

Thank you Sappy for posting this. The stigma will always be attached to Mental Illness because people fear and judge others that have it.

It's a long roady you have travelled for sure. I've walked a parallel road maybe not as hard as yours but plenty enough to understand. I think it's important to also say that it's not a mental illness as they used to think. Depression is a physical illness that affects your brain. .<br />
Holidays are extra hard and I'm not sure why. Peace to you xo

I love your story, i wish more people would take the time to learn about about mental illness. i like your son have a learning disability. and in high i was ashamed about it about now that i'm older i know now that everything has something wrong with them, and you shouldn't be ashamed of it because that makes you who you are.

I love your story, i wish more people would take the time to learn about about mental illness. i like your son have a learning disability. and in high school i was ashamed about it but now that i'm older i know now that everything has something wrong with them, and you shouldn't be ashamed of it because that makes you who you are.

For 9 years I've struggled with depression. At times I would be fine, then at some point I would snap. I never knew what exactly would trigger it. I always felt ashamed of it, I felt weak. I couldn't understand why I couldn't cope with everyday life like everybody else could. Most of the time I try and hide it as best I can. My husband and sister know I struggle, but until now I did not even know there was such thing as chronic depression. My dad has struggled with it throughout my life, and my mom off and on. I tried talking with her about it once, she (in a not so direct way) encouraged me to "get over it". I only wish there were more people like you out there. I've learned structure and routine help me deal, but I hope I never do anything rash and I hate that I can't be sure if I can stay above it.

Thank you for sharing your story, and you're right: WHY can't we talk about this openly? The same way we can't talk about death openly, and especially suicide. It take tremendous strength and courage to write about these issues, but we need to, with the same openness that you have with this post...<br />
Human beings in our culture have some strangely bizarre and unnecessary expectations to live up to. It take a lot of courage to admit that we have challenges of any sort. We could all stand to gain new skills in authenticity, and by sharing your story, I'm sure many of your readers will learn a TON. It's the best way to build community and affirm that WE'RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER-

Great post. <br />
<br />
Good point about the stigma. I'm a grown man, and I don't feel it's safe to share my condition (as obvious as it may be) with my family or coworkers.

i really liked u cuz u re a good and protecting mom , i wish i had a mom like u but unfortunately i haven't.i'm struggling depression by my own till i end up so totally broken without any strenghth to support my awfuil life , i'm a miserable teen :(.any way u saved ur children from many bad things tht could happen to them and tht 's so great for them , they're really lucky to have a mom like u , May God bless you and your family :)

Thank you Soccerbarbie. I didn't feel brave at the time, I was scared out of my mind ... lol. But somehow, you just do what you need to do.<br />
<br />
Hardstrong, your comment is much appreciated. Thank you.

Thank you for sharing. People need to understand that it is the invisible disease and yet it is not to be taken lightly. So brave of you to not have ignored signs that some may have mistakeningly brushed off with their own children. You most certianly might have saved their lives by taking immediate action. Bless them and you!

Thank you Eris. You sound like a lovely young woman. One thing I've learned from being a parent is that we don't always have the answers. I do the best I can & say a lot of prayers ... lol. Your parents might be more understanding than you think if you give them a chance.<br />
<br />
Thank you CRGenes. Only those who have lived it can truly understand. I sincerely appreciate your comments.<br />
<br />
Quintesse, I agree it's shocking that the stigma is alive & well in the world today. But it is. I think the only way it can be broken is to continue to speak about our illness openly, with no apologies or shame.<br />
<br />
Venus, your words have touched me greatly. Thank you.<br />
<br />
Commongroundseeker, my kids have grown up to be adults now & are living their lives. My daughter finished college last spring and got a great job. My son & his wife have an adorable 18 mos. old son now. I think they're all doing well and I couldn't be prouder of them. Thanks!

You have tough kids who have conquerd many valleys in life. You must be so proud of them.

I am always shocked that the stigma still exists, but it definitely does, and that is wrong.<br />
I have the same diagnosis you have and I have dealt with it all my life. I have a handle on it now, and talk openly and freely about it with anyone who will listen as if I feel the need to show them that ii is possible to live with and manage depression; that it is nothing to be afraid of or more importantly, as you said, ashamed of.<br />
Thanks for this story. It was heart-wrenching but beautifully written and profound.

As an adult, I was diagnosed with Severe Reoccurring Depression, among other things. But I have had depression since I was a very young child. This was not discussed, except to point out that something was wrong with me. Nothing was done, the stigma was not wanted. <br />
There were signs that depression existed in some degree on both sides of my family, but it was never admitted to. When anyone we knew, even very recently, was hospitalized for depression, it was mentioned in hushed tones, almost like it was something shameful. So I grew up pretending that I was just fine. I could never talk about it. I doubt that anyone in my family knows that I attempted suicide in my room. Even now, when being treated for depression seems almost a fad, there is a very real stigma attached. Just go to a new doctor for a physical aliment and tell him you're being treated for depression. I basically got told it was all in my head and got no help. <br />
While I feel deeply for the suffering your children must have gone thru, I rejoice for them that they had a mother who got them the help they needed. Long life to you and yours!

This is an AMAZING story. Thanks so much for giving me some hope. I'm a teenager and it's amazing to me that you were so supportive of your children. I've been depressed since I was 12 or 13 years old and I have yet to tell my parents, because I know they would not be nearly as understanding. It also sounds like you really understand depressed teenagers, and that's truly wonderful because I've encountered so many adults who claim to understand but really just do not. So again, thank you for your story.

Thank you 1964steveep. All I ever wanted was to just be a good mom. I'm afraid I've been less than one though.

Well done to you, if you were less involved and less available it might have been different. You are a good mom and that is no small thing when dealing with depression daily.

Thanks

Thanks for commenting Johnny. Be well. : )

Thanks for helping us understand our disease.<br />
<br />
Johnny

Watch out about that whole suicide thing. I suggest you do some research on it and discuss it with a psychiatrist. It can become a contagion.<br />
<br />
PS I feel your pain. I've had Chronic Major Depression since I was six. I'm 2 years older than dirt now so I've been dealing with this for a loooooong time.

Thanks for sharing your story Cabby. It's tough enough to be a parent . I know how hard it is to help your son while watching him struggle through this. Your knowledge & understanding will help him even more than you know. All the best.

My darling friend, your post has touched me deeply. As you know it's sdomething I'm battling too.<br />
My husband could never understand, I was told to pull myself together, get over it,<br />
count my blessings, stop wallowing in self-pity, etc etc.<br />
Well he has been suffering severe depression for a few years now, and of course it's <br />
all changed. He's done research on his condition and is well informed.<br />
My youngest was in his final school year, and writing mid-year exams when I had my accident.<br />
He is suffering from trauma, depression and a complete lack of confidence.<br />
He had been a very good student, top 10, maths prize, great ambition and expectations,<br />
well liked by fellow students and teachers. He almost failed the year. Hasn't been able to<br />
get himself motivated, or started, can't face moving away to study, just can't get going.<br />
He was the most opinionated, highly intelligent, well-read, well-informed, liked, confident, independant, well-rounded<br />
young man. It's terrible to see this, and be inadvertently responsible. He's been seeing a psychologist, who<br />
trained initially as an Educational psychologist, but is now a Clinical Psychologist.<br />
It's a hard thing to treat and overxome. If you're also trying to hide it for fear or shame, <br />
It is an enormous mountain to climb.<br />
Thanks for your story. Many blessings to you and your children, and lots of love x@

Thanks for your comments Jiggs. This is a subject I feel so strongly about, I can't stop speaking out about it. I've begun volunteering also. I really appreciate you sharing your experience.<br />
<br />
Several years ago a young teenage boy delivered our newspaper daily. He was a very polite and sweet natured boy. He committed suicide at the age of 13. I've never forgotten him. I won't be among those who remain silent, perpetuating the stigma. Kids especially need to know there is someone who will listen without judgment but with understanding. It breaks my heart knowing their are kids out there who believe the only solution is suicide. It's easy to turn a blind eye to it, thinking it will never be someone you know. When it is, it's too late.

Thanks for sharing your story, Sappy! Too many people remain silent and that is one of the reasons for the stigma. When all my problems started, I found an outlet in the local chapter of the Canadian Mental Health Association. I became a volunteer on the local board. Those on the board who knew me thought I would be an ideal candidate to represent them at the national conference. I went there alone & afraid, but I met the most wonderful lady who showed me the ropes! She encouraged me to attend as many sessions as I could. I learned so much about mental illness in this conference! People suffering from depression, abuse victims, schizophrenia sufferers, etc. stood up and told their stories to complete strangers. They gave a voice to their sufferings. Strength could be felt throughout the entire room as each one spoke. Attending the conference gave me new found courage to speak out. It is in the speaking out that the stigma disappears. The fear diminishes and society realizes, like you said, that it is an illness...like diabetes, heart disease, or cancer...and not a weakness. Just because it is an illness affecting the mind does not mean it is unimportant. Society needs to change in its acceptance of mental illness, and the change starts with someone like you who posts such a powerful story. Thanks again for sharing! There is strength in numbers. We must end the silence and in turn end the stigma.

This has to be the most well written story I've read so far on this site. I'm a teenager, and although I've never had to face an disease like this, I can certainly imagine the toll it must take on the patient and his/her family. I really admire your courage and determination :) It gives me hope.

whoops left out a word in last post ' I get through each day some how.....

Thanks for sharing glad to hear your son and daughter are doing well now. It is an illness that only those who have had it or those who know someone with it has an understanding and sympathy for those who suffer from it. Unfortunatly even those who are close to someone who is going through it can lack compassion talking from my own experience. Great to hear you got help quickly for your children when they needed it. My Mum and sister didn't have much compassion towards me when I suffered from it years ago and going through it again. They said 'what do you want us to do about it?' I did get help to talk things out but it upset me more expecially when my sister would get angry with me and said I was selfish and only thinking about myself. I have had panic attacks too and bad memory problems among other things. I get through each some how. I hope you have a good Christmas.

I was had depression in 2008 because I was a new mom. My hormone was out of order. I was so nasty my family. My daughter's dad didn't help it. He was a bullying me.

that was really great in a sad way. I use to struggle with depression terribly due to the lost of a loved one. I read a book called the Purpose driven life by Rick Warren and he introduced me to someone that gave me hope and peace of mind. Jesus! with the slightest bit of belief in your heart and in all sincerity ask him to forgive you. Ma'am im 22 yr old male and i will tell you from the bottom of my heart he will help you he give you hope, rest, and peace. Anyone who is dealing with the battle of depression, the answer to peace is right in front of you. Please just believe, please.

Thanks for the comment Robert. I also talk about my depression openly. In fact, I've had some very surprising & interesting conversations by being so open about it myself. <br />
<br />
The illness is far more common than most people care to admit. So I say we keep talking. Eventually, we'll get our message heard.

Great story Sappy and thank you for posting it. My first wife went manic and walked out on the children and myself. Until then I knew nothing of depression. I found out that it run's in her family so I know what it is to watch over your children. Today I deal with it myself but I dont have a stigma, I have depression. I dont hide it and talk about it openly. Does everybody understand, of course not. Yet if I can plant the seed that it is no respecter of person's or age then I have done somthing to move it forward. I have my hide day's when the black cloud is over my head but when my mind is in the right place I dont hide. <br />
<br />
You are right that we dont have somthing that we ask for and that IT IS AN ILLNESS, a cancer of the mind so to speak. I am not weak because I see a shrink each week and take medication to help control it. The hardest thing I ever did im my life was overcome my fear and check myself into the hospital for help and it was the best thing I could have done for myself. I too am a parent that will guard my children and watch for any sign's and they are aware of this and agree. But I also told them to live life and not live in fear of it. They are !!! Thank's Again. My Best.

Deborah & Kay, thanks for your comments.<br />
<br />
If you haven't lived it, you truly can not understand what it's like. All the more reason the stigma needs to be destroyed.<br />
<br />
I promise you there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You just have to keep fighting. It is worth it.

thank you, i have been searching for someone who can truly understand how the stigma really screws with us who are trying so desperatly hard to see the light...

Awesome story! I couldn't agree with you more about how the stigma needs to stop around mental illness. It's shocking how many average people out there still think depression is something you can snap out of if you want to--even if it's major or clinical! I've suffered my whole adult life, as well. Mine was so bad I could not even maintain a job for very long or a career ever. This has been heartbreaking for me. Now I'm 56 and I believe I am finally out of the depression; haven't felt this great since before it all started at 19! I may not have my whole life in front of me anymore, but sure do plan to make the most of what I have got! My son, 33, gets mildly depressed, but there's always been that worry that he'll get it as bad as I had it. Glad your kids are doing well. TY so much for sharing! ;-)

I appear to have a similar relationship with my mother as you do with your daughter. It sounds to me like you have a very caring daughter who doesn't want you to be any more upset that she has seen you sometimes. I know that in the past I have kept things from my mother, not out of shame, or distrust, but because I was concerned about the effect it would have on her. I know not knowing what is going on makes you worry - but is there a chance that perhaps your daughter is being strong for you?

The education system is broken, and it's screwing up a lot of kids. Depression, suicide, shootings, and anxiety attacks don't just happen for no reason. Everyone loves to blame the human element, is that why so few are railing against the system itself? The kids aren't the ones that are ****** up here, keep your drugs and gets those kids out of there, or it'll take another 18 years of therapy just to undo the damage.

I posted this in the forum, but it's perfect for your piece. I'm working to end the stigma, by starting a coming-out campaign -- the more of us who come out, the less shame there will be. But revealing mental illness is difficult, so members are anonymous at first, and our identities are revealed only once there are 1,000,000 of us. One million people coming out at the same time -- an instant, powerful community. It's called I Am 1 in a Million: http://www.iam1inamillion.net.<br />
No one can end the stigma you're talking about, but a million of us can!

Thanks for sharing your experience Max. I must say I relate to most everything you said. I've experienced all those things in my life. Very good point you made about the effects of the stigma on our own self-concept. While it's important to understand & believe in the validity of our own struggles, we also need support. There are people who will never get it, who will never understand. Like you, I would say **** em. I'm still surprised by the people who think my personal struggle is a thing of the past. The best we can hope for by sharing our stories is to break down a few more walls and gain acceptance for an illness too often left to languish in darkness.

I constantly worry about my young children developing depression. I am encouraged that you detected it in your children at an early enough point that they were able to go on to live better lives as a result of your vigilence. I understand that the earlier depression is treated, the lower the likeliehood of a recurence and the lower the severity of future occurences will be. Their mothers family (apostrophes and spell-check dont work on this French keyboard), with whom they spend the majority of time, do not understand this and believe sadness and unhappy events will be forgotten if ignored. They shunned me, believing that my depression is a weakness of character. My children face a strong biological chance of developing depression because my mother was profoundly bipolar alll of her adult life and there has been many occurences of mental illness in their mothers family. I have dealt with refractory depression since childhood and so, as much as try to hide it, their developmental environment is touched by depression.<br />
<br />
My oldest is 10 years old and they all know daddy is mentally ill. They also experience me being portrayed or at least regarded in a negative manner on a consistent basis. As appropriately as possible, I have attempted to explain my illness in a factual manner and I have strongly encouraged them to be open about their feelings. I have a little difficulty with the second part because of the stoicism of their other family. It is very important to me they understand depression is an illness that can be dealt with because I am still, after decades, not able to resolve in my case, that it is not due in part to a flaw in my character or weakness. I am often given to the suspicion that I am comfortable within my illness to use it as an excuse for my failings. Im afraid of them believing illness may be an excuse for avoiding responsibility for ones actions.<br />
<br />
It is obvious to me societys stigma is deeply wedged in my psychi even though, intellectually, I understand depressions biological and environmental roots. As will all illnessses of the brain, society identifies mental illness with the most sensational and negative manifestations of it. In general, society does not recognise the wide spectrum of its severity and its prevalence.<br />
<br />
I believe the effects of stigma on our own self-concept may be of much greater significance than societys ignorance of our illnesses. <br />
<br />
What Im trying to say is, if they dont get it, ****em. Its more imporatnat that we believe in the validity of our own struggles, for the sake of ourselves, and more importantly, for our children.

Sappy--I so get it. I so get it. Depression is a an incipient thing, you don't know what is wrong, until it is diagnosed. You don't seek medical help, to get diagnosed, until you realize that something is wrong.<br />
I have been diagnosed as depressed since 11/01. I believe that I have suffered from depression since 1972.<br />
I am now 50. I survived depression for decades. Decades. I found a way. I found a way to thrive and be successful. I was never happy.<br />
I still struggle with the 'rage' addiction. 'Rage' is just one way of inter-cranial compensation. Evolution, survival, will not be denied.<br />
Then, there are the tertiary issues. The 'protein pathways' of learning.<br />
I grew up depressed, Episcopalian, in Salt Lake City, Utah. With a 'Rage' depression survival response.<br />
I made it through, but not with my soul intact.

I totally understand you...<br />
http://cheaper-than-therapy.tumblr.com

I totally understand you...<br />
http://cheaper-than-therapy.tumblr.com

You are a courageous individual SS! Having said that, it is a blessing for all who read this to be made aware and understand the importance of this dis-ease we all need to help remedy. It seems nowadays more and more young people are affected. There must be a collective attempt by all of us to learn and propogate information on such an important issue facing us all. All my best to you and your family!

Capy, if your illness has a genetic link, it had nothing to do with your upbringing. At least you're getting real help sooner than I did. I was nearly 39 when I first began therapy. While it's true, our illness can make us difficult to live with at times, we can learn to manage it very well. Those who care for us recognize how important their support is to our recovery.

My mum has depression but she had a bad childhood so she cant see why I am suffering because my parents were not bad to me but that is not the reason in itself. Now I am 28, it was only a few months ago that I finally went to the doctors for help becuase it was affecting my relationship so I wanted to save it. Shame after the side effects and counselling sessions I was dumped, something I cant help but wonder was it related to my condition and he just couldnt handle it. Hopefully people will realise we are people too and quite unlikely to go round wild eyed hurting folks- we are far more likely to harm oursleves and need nothing more than love and support!

Julia & 7outof8 .... thanks for taking the time to read & comment. The important thing to remember is you can learn to live a very happy & fulfilling life in spite of depression. Fortunately, for some people it's a short term thing but for those of us dealing with it as a chronic illness, we need to educate ourselves. You also need to learn your triggers and how to help yourself when you begin that slide into blackness again. Meds have helped me a great deal, but you also must work on beating it yourself.<br />
<br />
Genius, thank you for sharing your story. As parents we always want the best for our children. It's difficult to watch them struggle with anything but we do have a responsibility to be supportive and provide them with all the necessary tools they may need to live a healthy & happy life.<br />
<br />
Capy, it's stunning to learn how many people have struggled with this issue since childhood. We blamed ourselves for what we couldn't understand. I'd never promote putting all kids on meds. But I do think parents can learn to be more aware of warning signs. The sooner it's caught, the better the odds are it will leave only minimal damage. As far as removing the stigma, I think everyone who has shared their story here, who has left a supportive comment ... they're leading the way. When we can openly discuss this with no fear or shame, the stigma's hold on us begins to loosen.

Very well said. As a teenager I too attempted suicide and the failure made me feel worse but did not tell anybody for fear what people would think of me. Today I still sufer from depression which I have had since I was quite young and even began self harming at about 6 years old and continued into adulthood. Nowadays I see a counsellor on a regular bais, I take medication to control my black moods and I am actually training to become a counsellor so I too might be able to help people who have nowhere else to turn. Starting counselling was a very difficult time as both parents could see no reason why I should need to go and tried to stop me. This resulted in me having to let them see a little bit of my world of pain and show them the scars including the one from 17 years ago when I tried to cut my wrist. Mental illness is soemthing which defiately needs more understanding and acceotance- my emplyers told me I would need a 'risk assessment' once they knew I was taking tablets. No sympathy that they were exacerbating my situation- just concern that I might be a risk to somebody I came into contact with. The question on application forms for jobs I very much feel is unfair is the one asking if I have depression and if I have couselling- I know that I can either lie and risk the reprocussions or tell the truth and risk loosing out on a job opportunity becuase I take a little tablet at 11pm every night. Will society change its view? I hope ofr so may people that it does

Sappy, fantastic post, felt like I was reading my own story, my family didn't talk about "it" either. But I do, and loudly, my kids are both in therapy and are doing very well, but I still worry, but they are my kids and that's just what I do, worry.<br />
<br />
With regards to your daughter (I do this with my daughter) is remind her, gently, every now and then, that I am always here, I am ALWAYS ready to listen and talk. Just putting it out there is sometimes enough so that when things get hard, she will come to you, but you have to remind her. ;)<br />
<br />
Well done on a great job raising your kids while having a mental illness yourself and positivly dealing with your kids issues straight away. I hope my kids get to 25 as together as yours.<br />
<br />
Thank you

WOW the way you put it was very well said, people are so often ashamed of things they are experiencing thinking they are the only one that is going through it, there are a lot of things that when growing up as children we really don't understand but depression is so real and as you put it: <br />
"Why can't we talk about mental illness freely and openly? Why do people feel ashamed of having an ILLNESS?" It's not a weakness of character, it's not laziness, it's not feeling sorry for yourself, it's a disease people. It's not a joke. (so real and very well put).<br />
so many people will try to throw it under the rug before trying to get the proper help for it..It has been so good for me to read something so real and straight forward such as this, continued blessings to you and your family. I'm so glad to have ran across this site this is my first day on this site. I myself am dealing with a lot of things I don't fully understand but after reading this I will take one day at a time and try hard to find answers to the many disfunctional ways that have been passed down to me in my life from generation to generation and hopefully find meaning to all of this.

Thank you so much for highlighting the point that depression is real. I feel like people around me think I'm a drama queen, ungrateful, a *****, miserable. That's not who I am!!! I fear that hole more than anything in the world. I'm so tired of feeling like a weight around people's necks. I'm so tired of being the "problem" person in the family. I'm so tired of being resentful that I have to work so hard at enjoying life - pfff, enjoying - surviving.

Thank you for your comment Lena. I think there may come a time for everyone when their sense of inner peace & happiness becomes far more important than what the world thinks of them because of it. The world is often wrong.

GoSmoke .... truer words were never spoken. No one understands what this is like unless you've experienced this. While we are stronger than our inner demons, at least for me, I never forget they're there. Sometimes we make the mistake of replacing our demon with something else that seems not as bad ... until it is. I only know I must always be aware & on guard.<br />
<br />
TheMadHatter ... thank you.<br />
<br />
Kthimm1 .... I'm sorry I don't know what help to offer you as I don't have any direct knowledge of the self injury experience. I'm sure there are other EP groups that deal with this topic. I encourage you to look at those groups because no doubt you will find an EPeep who can give you far more guidance on this subject than I could. I do understand the feeling of doing battle daily.

i always am fighting anymore its so hard not to self injure

I've battled depression my entire life and your story really touched me. I know exactly what it is like. Well meaning people keep telling you to snap out of it, and you just can't. It's like having living in a fog bank and you can't see or find the light. I used to go for days without seeing another person and some days I barely had the strength to get out of bed. I hit rock bottom and was finally forced into therapy by my family. I was told by my therapist that I would have died from self neglect. It's scary and debilitating and until you have experienced it yourself you really cannot understand how truly awful it is.<br />
SS, I am glad you and your family are doing well. You can-and will-survive. We are al bigger than than the inner demons that plague us.

I'm very happy things have turned around for you Go4alife. There is always hope.

Depression is such a personal illness i don't have answers. You write very well.My depression started awhile ago when I discovered I married the wrong women. You say to yourself, how could i make a mistake like this and you go on a ride deeper into darkness. You try to correct it , you have a child and you go deeper , buy a house and it now seems I'm walking into a very large trap.Worried about my health I go to many doctors, one works for 10yrs.Now the illness is gone ,my life has radically changed because it had to, i could no longer live the lie. I really understand depression.It is a long walk with a grey cloud on your head into hell. Nights I actually felt in hell.Excuse me I now tell the truth.I complimented the devil, he can't handle goodness and set me free. i was well.

LOL ... high five !!!

My brother and sister are also scorps when we are together we are sooooooo much trouble LOL my other sister is a leo and doesn't join in as much lol<br />
<br />
*claw and stinger high five*

LOL Tyco ... that's us alright!

ha ha now scorps and cancerians are like two peas in a pod!! thats possibly why we get on so well...<br />
and we both like a banter LOL!

You know Tyco, I'm a Scorpio and you also sound somewhat like me. I don't like to ask for help ... EVER. That's part of the reason it took me so long to get any help. Plus, I thought I was surely the only one who felt so messed up & confused. Let me tell you ... if there's hope for me ... there's hope for anyone.

UGH!! this is sooooooo annoying I typed up a huge reply to this and then it got lost in cyber space so I will make this brief and to the point<br />
<br />
This dose indeed make her sag<br />
I was gonna go with a water sign as I am a cancerian but they are actually very similar in a way neither like confrontation of any sort and we both tend to hide any kind of heightened emotion weather it is negative or positive.<br />
<br />
The reason I think for me is that I am pretty embarrassed by my condition...still.. and also I don't understand myself so don't expect anyone else to understand me... thus I don't bother trying to seek help?.. and finally because I don't feel comfortable burdening other people with my problems. (that said I don't actual know I am just picking at straws, it may seem odd, its even odd to me and frustrating but like many things I don't know the cause... a bit like I don't know half the time why I am depressed.)

Tyco, you do sound very similar to my daughter. Her birthday is Dec 11, she's 22 now. I think that makes her a Sagitarius.

Also before I plummet I distance myself from everyone around me.

wow!<br />
<br />
I suffer from depression and I guess I am very similar to your daughter! not many people know about it not even my parents as I know they wouldn't understand at all... I know their feelings on such matters and I would rather pretend I didn't!..<br />
with me only people who are very trained can spot it, or people who suffer themselves and weirdly quite a lot of my friends are sufferers..this is because I tend to hide everything away put on a brave face and an act of sorts, when really I am very low, I also act extroverted yet I am very shy and keep a lot back..<br />
I don't even understand myself in fairness.. lol<br />
<br />
I would like to ask what star sign she is.. :)

Yeah, I'm one smart woman ... try telling my kids that ... lol

"A great deal of our recovery is accomplished by unlearning our old patterns and re-programming our thinking. "<br />
<br />
That is EXACTLY what NLP is all about...LOL.<br />
You are one smart woman!

XTHC ... I do agree with much of what you said. Though I do believe in a genetic link with depression in some cases, I don't think it's true in all cases. A great deal of our recovery is accomplished by unlearning our old patterns and re-programming our thinking. For me, meds helped to clear my mind so I could focus on what I needed to do and begin new patterns. There definitely is an element of leaving our comfort zone and facing the unknown ... thanks for your comments.

Thank you for sharing this Sappy. As we come together and make our voices heard, things WILL change. There are great organizations fighting to make a difference but we must all speak up.... Meanwhile, please continue to be honest with your kids.<br />
<br />
Personally, I don't believe depression is genetic, it's learned, and can be un-learned.<br />
It was that way with me.<br />
It's a pattern, it's a comfort zone. It's what we know.<br />
And to be happy, well.. that's the unknown.<br />
So can we let go of the comfort that we know, for a trip into the unknown?<br />
<br />
Check out NLP and hypnosis...google it and learn about it.<br />
It really works for alot of people, including me.<br />
BUT you have to want it badly enough to let go, consciously, of the past, and start over.<br />
<br />
Sometimes I fall back, but I pull myself up. <br />
Like an alcoholic in a way, you have to stop the pattern and resist the temptation by<br />
making a conscious choice every time.<br />
<br />
thanks for your story.<br />
You make a difference with your words.

Thank you for sharing this Sappy. As we come together and make our voices heard, things WILL change. There are great organizations fighting to make a difference but we must all speak up.... Meanwhile, please continue to be honest with your kids.<br />
<br />
Personally, I don't believe depression is genetic, it's learned, and can be un-learned.<br />
It was that way with me.<br />
It's a pattern, it's a comfort zone. It's what we know.<br />
And to be happy, well.. that's the unknown.<br />
So can we let go of the comfort that we know, for a trip into the unknown?<br />
<br />
Check out NLP and hypnosis...google it and learn about it.<br />
It really works for alot of people, including me.<br />
BUT you have to want it badly enough to let go, consciously, of the past, and start over.<br />
<br />
Sometimes I fall back, but I pull myself up. <br />
Like an alcoholic in a way, you have to stop the pattern and resist the temptation by<br />
making a conscious choice every time.<br />
<br />
thanks for your story.<br />
You make a difference with your words.