WHERE WOULD YOU BE IF IT WEREN’T FOR MENTAL ILLNESS?
WHERE WOULD YOU BE IF IT WEREN’T FOR DEPRESSION?
This thought has crossed my mind many times over the years, forever questioning what my life would be like without mental illness.
Beginning in the mid-1990’s, this illness first tossed me into a life of bleak depressive despair, feeling hopeless and helpless, coupled with hospitalizations, countless medications, and ineffective ECTs. With it came a loss of so many things, as well as myself. I found myself apologizing for being ill, but why? Apologizing for an illness?
For one, I kissed my livelihood goodbye. As an accounting supervisor, I had a well-paying position, enjoyed my job and colleagues, and imagined I would have continued with my career with that company.
A misfortune, becoming so ill with depression and hospitalizations, I ultimately lost my job, then hanging on for over two years frantically waiting for government disability to kick in. You discover swiftly to become thrifty.
Back then, both hubby and I lived on comfortable salaries and jetted off to balmy climates once or twice per year; it was a routine. Peculiar how you take vacations for granted, as of today we haven’t been on a genuine vacation in almost 20 years. (Not a priority actually).
Luckily, I was capable of returning to the working world after years absent. Not a preferable job, a call center position (collections), but with a prolonged absence from working, at least this company gave me a chance with a spotty resume. Six years later, though, I’m once again unemployed and on disability, but at the same time, wouldn’t have realized the enormous extent of stigma in the workplace.
I wouldn’t remain on all of the costly psychiatric medications, yet, with meds and therapy, I have progressed to the point that I’m no longer hospitalized and can function daily. Extensive psychotherapy has resolved the heaps of painful issues that have been haunting me most of my adult life.
If not for mental illness, I’m uncertain I would be the compassionate, understanding, and accepting person that I am towards others now. I have enormous patience when speaking with anyone struggling with mental illness or other illnesses. Also, a thirst for knowledge on subjects related to medical information, and if not afflicted, I may not have been prompted to research.
I continue to struggle with depression on the odd day with frustration, regrets, and tears – but that’s to be expected, I suppose. We’re courageous, but must forge onward, and be strong.
We’re in this together, you and I, and we must never apologize for our illness.
Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy/2017 originally posted on niume.com