I suffer from major depression. I was finally diagnosed in 1991 and have been on anti-depressants ever since. The medication changed, and saved, my life. My first bout of depression was long before 1991. In 1978, I suffered from postpartum depression for at least three weeks. I probably was depressed before that. In 1991, I felt as if I was in a tunnel with no exit. I had trouble coping with every day living. I was a wife and mother of two small children. How could I be depressed.
If I had not gone on anti-depressants in 1991, I do not know where I would be now. I have a psychiatrist who I see every 6 - 9 months for a few months to make sure my meds are working. I no longer suffer from major depression anymore. I have not suffered a major depression since 1991, but I wonder where I would be without modern medicine. Thank goodness for medical science!
I write this because yesterday Robin Williams killed himself and it has affected me tremendously, as it has many others. We treat mental illness in this country as a dark little secret. I do not know why I am prone to depression. I believe my grandmother suffered from depression that ultimately, indirectly, killed her. I do not know if I inherited depression, but I do not care. I suffer from a mental illness that is in remission because of modern medicine. I want to shout about my depression from the rooftops. Maybe, if someone else suffers from crippling depression, if someone else realizes that having a mental illness does not mean that he or she is a bad person, that person can get help.
Too many people are ashamed of their depression and fault themselves. My depression is a medical condition which I treat with medical care. I want others to get the help that I got years ago and continue to get to this day. Depression is an illness. Depression is not a personal failing. When life seems pointless and hopeless, there can be hope. I know I am lucky that the meds work. If you are thinking about ending your life, or you exist with constant self-loathing, I hope you will seek help. Suicide may be a solution for the one in pain, but it hurts so many survivors. Please do not give up.