My life these days feels like an upturned rubbish bin. You know the kind; we’ve all been there: You accidentally throw out something important and tip the bin upside down to find it. In the process you scatter useless wrappers and shit everywhere. Amongst it all is the thing you need but now all you can see is the stuff in the way. This is my head most days.
I don’t remember when it started to get this way. At 15 I was diagnosed with depression and sent for counselling. I wanted medication but I was on Ritalin for my ADHD and they told me they didn’t mix well. So off I trudged to cry in a stranger’s office and tell them my life story. Again. Life was a constant cycle of telling some new psychologist my life story when I was being treated for ADHD. I was so sick of it that the idea of getting counselling made me more depressed than the stuff that made me depressed to begin with.
Anyway, by 16 I was kind of okay again and I stayed that way until I was 19. And then I started to drop. I dropped and dropped and dropped until I hit rock bottom around 22. And boy was that hole deep. It was at this stage I was diagnosed with what I assume to be generalised anxiety disorder on top of my depression. I say I assume because my GP at the time refused to label me. In fact, he barely medicated me. I was given 5mg a day of a common SSRI and it did nothing. My confidence was shot and I was a shell of my former, vivacious self. After a lot of crying and prodding I was prescribed Paroxetene and things started to come right. But I fought those demons for 2 years before I sought help, before I sought medication. That’s a long time to battle a hydra on your own armed with nothing but a stick and some self-determination.
I still have GAD and a propensity for depression. Self-care has been an amazing discovery: I can now moderate myself to ensure I remain at a functional level most of the time. There are peaks and troughs but exercise, diet and meditation have worked wonders. I still take my Paroxetene every day. In fact, I’m on 20mg a day now. My new GP upped my dose when I said I was struggling to cope. It’s not a secret that adulthood is more stressful than we assumed as children. The medication takes the sharp edges off and allows me some clarity. It allows me to see the stuff I’m looking for in amongst all the rubbish.
Day job: Investments administrator
Diagnoses: Depression and Generalised Anxiety Disorder, discovered ages 15 and 22
Game plan: I live every day for the things that make me happy. There is too much sadness in life to put up with it when you don’t have to.
Stephanie runs her own blog at http://stephaniemarija.co.nz. When she’s not discussing mental health, a topic close to her heart, she rambles about poetry, pop culture, communications, and tells stories about awful dates she’s been on. Follow her on Twitter for unfiltered insanity.