I have suffered with mental illness most of my adult life. I currently am doing quite well and it is because of some GREAT counseling help that I received.
I personally refused professional help or even seeking professional help for decades because I believed I was crazy. In my ‘schema’ of being crazy I was afraid that I would be put into a rubber room and never released. So I fought thru the depression, mood swings alone. Or so I thought. In reality my family walked thru every one of those minutes, days, weeks, months with me trying to fix everything so I would be okay. My children, my husband and my Savior.
I wish I could have known that counseling and taking anti-depressants would be so easy and healing.
I wish I could have been given a sneak peak at the reality of mental illness counseling, instead of living with false fears.
So I am including some of the worksheets that my counselor utilized throughout about 18 months of us meeting. I took anti-depressants for the first 6 months and then finished the last 12 months without them. We started meeting once a week and as I became more stable the appointments graduated to once a month. Then one time Jenna said how would you feel if we entered into the termination phase of counseling? I said I don’t know- I thought I was doing pretty good-you want to kill me? She knew I was joking and explained that we would wrap up the loose ends and make sure I had the tools I needed for life without counseling. It goes without saying I can always go back to counseling, but so far I have not needed to. I have had some rough spots- I will not sugar coat or hide that at times I feel that depression is barely surpressed and ready to spring up and take over again. But I sit down with the journal book I made and recall the tools and tricks that Jenna taught me. So far I have not spiraled downward out of control since I ‘graduated’ from mental illness counseling.
My hope is that my struggle helps someone else struggle less. My hope is that anyone thinking of suicide calls for help. People really do want to help! They don’t want to make it worse. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ‘1-800-273-TALK (8255)’
You can talk to your personal doctor. You can talk to your family-they already know.
You can call, email, Facebook or text me. I am not a counselor. I can give you honest answers about my depression and honest input of how counseling helped me, as well as what I did not like about it. It was not a bed of roses. It was tough to face my fears but it was easier than what I was torturing myself with.
Too many people hide because of their mental illness. They are ashamed and don’t want anyone else to know. Help me end the shame! I was never ashamed of catching the flu. I was not at fault for mental illness. No it is not contagious, but you can pass it to your children. My mother had depression and it was the only way I knew to live.
I also recognize that I passed a lot of the same issues onto my daughters. I have shared these worksheets with each of them. I have discussed this over and over in hopes of them grasping the good and throwing out the bad influences.
The last page is too dark to read except the business card of my counselor so the following is what the dark part states:
What is Depression?
1. Severe despondency and dejection, typically felt over a period of time and accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy.
2. The act of lowering something or pressing something down.
What is Clinical Depression or Major Depressive Disorder:
A condition of mental disturbance characterized by depression to a greater degree than seems warranted by the external circumstances, typically with lack of energy and difficulty in maintaining concentration or interest in life.
What are the SIGNS?
-Exhibiting a very low mood, or inability to experience pleasure in activities formally enjoyed.
-Overwhelmed with thoughts of worthlessness, inappropriate guilt, helplessness, hopelessness or self-hatred.
-Poor concentration and poor memory.
-Withdraw from social situations and activities.
-Lack of sex drive
-Inability to get out of bed, or suffering from insomnia
-In some cases delusion, or hallucinations.
-Thoughts of death or suicide.
How long does depression last?
-The median duration is 23 weeks. Although if untreated it may go on longer.
Do I have to take anti-depressants?
-NO! Though they can jumpstart your recovery, there are many different ways to treat your depression! Including but not limited to counseling and or therapy!!
If you know someone suffering from depression the only thing you can do is offer tools, time and encouragement. Help by finding local therapists, and only suggest these things in an endearing, compassionate, positive way, depression is not a joke, it is not something to ignore, it is an imbalance that must be addressed and corrected to ensure everyone can enjoy life to the fullest!