Many of you know I’ve been dealing with depression and side effects from medications I’ve been taking. It’s tough, but I’m staying strong.
Say you’re a surgeon. While the job is stressful, requiring long days in the operating room, rounding on patients, and seeing others in clinic, the nice thing about it is it’s pretty black and white; i.e. if someone has right lower-quadrant pain along with nausea, vomiting, and point tenderness, it’s likely he/she has appendicitis and a CT scan with blood work can confirm this in a few hours. If a person comes in with a protruding belly button and says it’s painful there, a simple physical exam can determine whether it might be an umbilical hernia. Both operations are typically quick and result in few complications.
Things are not quite so easy with depression.
There are many kinds of depression and it presents itself in many different ways, with a variety of symptoms:
*decreased energy or fatigue
*difficulty remembering details and concentrating
*feelings of guilt and helplessness
*insomnia or excessive sleeping
*persistent sad, anxious, “empty” feelings
*frequent aches and pains, including headaches
*lack of interest in hobbies; lack of sexual desire
*fatigue and lack of energy
*poor appetite or overeating
Depression is often the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain. There are oodles of medications used to treat it, and the equation gets tricky: Which drug(s) + what dose(s) + which person = happier person? There is no “one size fits all” medication.
And then there are the things people don’t talk about. Which only adds to the stigma associated with depression. We’re all reduced to looney tunes, dark and twisty, raving lunatics who belong in the psych ward gorked out on psychotropic drugs. Or knitting in a bar, as the case may be.
I’ve written before about my experience with this blood-sucker of an illness. But I have to be careful about what I share here. I cannot say all the things I’d like to because when I do, there’s fallout. People talk, gossip. Whisper behind my back. My family is concerned about what people might think when they come here and read, or when they hear about this/me from someone else who has read. It’s difficult for me to silence myself because in so doing, I’m only reinforcing the negative stereotypes.
Consequently, when I heard about this new Kickstarter campaign about mental illness, I was incredibly moved and donated immediately. I urge you to do the same, and to share the campaign with everyone. It’s important. So I’m channeling some of my energy through these incredible women.
Please go read all about This Is My Brave on their Kickstarter page. Mad props to Jennifer Killi Marshall for putting this out there, and for others like Robin, Addye, and Laura, for being brave and sharing their stories in the trailer video. Thank you for speaking up for those of us who cannot or do not, whatever our reasons may be.