It is the silence that kills

I have suffered for most of my life with depression and anxiety. The depression was identified but not controlled for years. There just wasn’t any effective diagnosis or prescription treatment of either depression or anxiety until recent years.

When I was in my teens, I was told by “experts” “pull yourself up by your bootstraps and get on with things”. The general consensus was that if you got involved with activities, worked at getting friends, and “showed some interest”, you’d shed that depression. The fact that depression prevents you from doing ANY of these things was lost on them. Sure. they MIGHT have worked if I had not been depressed AND shy.

Correct diagnosis, appropriate medication, and insight has gone a long way. But it is silence that kills. I have learned that I have to be aware of the signs of impending crisis and being open about when I am heading into and in a depression or feeling anxious. Sometimes, it is a matter of deciding I need to take my Ativan (the “crisis” medication that has saved my live more than once) when and for as long as I need to take it. … once or for a few days or a week. Other times it is a matter of telling family and friends… or my doctor… that things a a little or a LOT bad. “Not wanting to bother anyone” not just CAN be dangerous, it IS dangerous.

I’ve been lucky — very lucky that when I have had a serious crisis that I have been able to count on the love and concern of family and concrete help from my doctor.

I have also failed to get the help I needed and hit bottom. Bottom is not a place to get to. My most serious bottom was in August 2001. Pure luck… serendipity, as I prefer to call it… saved my life. In this case, it was serendipity in the forms of a Great Blue Heron. I survived. I might not have, otherwise.

Today os a bad day. However, I was able to cry, which I haven’t been able to do in some time and a friend has offered to have me over to watch a movie. Hopefully, that’s all I need.

I were able to offer advice to anyone suffering from depression or anxiety:

Recognise the signs in yourself.

Speak up and speak out to family and friends.

Let your family doctor know what the problem is. If they can’t or won’t help, be persistent and ask for a referral until you do find someone who can help.

Don’t be afraid of being medicated but if your medication isn’t working (it takes a while to work) be persistent about getting something that works.

Don’t be afraid of therapy. It can work. Be aware… In Ontario, psychiatrists are covered by OHIP, psychologists are not and they can be expensive.

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