I am no stranger to mental conditions. I have been medicated for ADD and anxiety since elementary school, and battled a major depressive episode my sophomore year of high school. It should have been no surprise to me when my therapist told me, about a week ago: "What you're describing is called dysthymia--you have dysthymia." It was a term I had never heard before, although I looked it up and quickly recognised its more common name, chronic depression.
I assumed, after I went on depression meds back in 10th grade, that with those meds and more psychotherapy, I was going to get over my "major depression" gradually. I wasn't really aware that my continuing feelings of apathy and general "blah" were due to a separate issue. I thought major depression and chronic depression were kind of the same thing. So apparently I have had dysthymia for years, as I cannot really remember the last time I was truly happy. The major depressive episode was a temporary, debilitating worsening of my chronic depressive symptoms. And the medication I was prescribed for that major episode, which I am still taking now, is not helping much at all with my dysthymia.
It was actually a real relief finding out that, once I get some new medications, I can start feeling better and start learning how to come out of my shell and live my life. And this realisation came not a moment too soon--I am in my senior year of high school, have been accepted by my first-choice college, and will very soon be on my own.