MENTAL ILLNESS: Should I Apologize for being Depressed?

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An odd question. However, this thought has crossed my mind countless times over the years, forever questioning what my life would be like without mental illness.

_____________________________________________

Where would you be if it weren’t for mental illness or depression?

In the mid-1990s, mental illness first tossed me into a life of bleak, depressive despair, feeling hopeless and helpless, coupled with hospitalizations, countless medications, and ineffective ECTs.

I found myself apologizing for being ill, but why? Apologizing for an illness?

I felt guilty for my deteriorating attitude, the considerable burden I placed on my husband, absence and imperfection at work and primarily failing myself.  The slightest bit of self-confidence achieved throughout the years coupled with the status at my current job dwindled now appearing threadbare.  I was losing myself.

Depression focusses on the negatives.

For one, I kissed my livelihood goodbye. As a well-paid accounting supervisor, enjoying my job and colleagues, I imagined a lengthy career with this company, but, unfortunately, due to the constant absences caused by the illness and hospitalizations, I had no alternative but to leave my position.

Government disability followed after a lengthy two-year wait.  You discover swiftly how 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. I was able to afford fashionable apparel, household furniture or other articles on a whim without fussing over budgeting our money. Peculiar how you take vacations for granted, as of today we haven’t been on an actual vacation in almost 20 years. (Not a priority actually).

Positives

Luckily, I worked through some issues in therapy, medication was stabilizing my depressive moods, and I was capable of returning to the working world after nine years absent.

The job I accepted was a call center position (collections), but with a prolonged absence from working for nine years, it was a daunting, rocky road in the beginning.  I was appreciative that this company gave me a chance at employment even with a spotty resume.

I survived six years with this company, only to find myself ill with depression and severe migraines, leaving me with no choice but to accept long-term disability.  But at the same time, I wouldn’t have realized the enormous extent of stigma in the workplace.

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.

I envisioned participation in the writing field in some capacity. It has forever been a passion of mine since I was a child, jotting daily in my diaries.

It’s doubtful I would have been invited to appear on a radio show, speaking engagements, ghostwritten articles for other bloggers, or requested articles as a guest writer discussing mental health, depression, bipolar, etc.

I also wouldn’t have this fantastic blog (since 2007) that has allowed me to express my feelings about my experience struggling with PTSD and depression.

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 invisible illnesses. Also, a thirst for knowledge on subjects related to medical information, and if not afflicted, I may not have researched.

I continue to struggle with depression on an odd day with frustration, regrets, and tears – but that’s not unexpected, 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.

(edited and reposted)

Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy/2019

 

17 thoughts on “MENTAL ILLNESS: Should I Apologize for being Depressed?

  1. As soon as I read the title I thought ‘well I wouldn’t be nearly as compassionate & kind if I hadn’t had periods of depression’. It’s a smart & brave question. Thank you for asking it & revealing your struggles, G ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so welcome. Many people, such as myself, felt embarrassed to even say they had a mental illness fearing the response. After years of living and breathing depression and mixing with so many other people and bloggers who experience the same issues, it now angers me at how I felt that an apology was ever considered. I was so hesitant to begin this blog, debating whether other people would be interested in a person who has struggled with mental illness, hospitalized and unemployed due to it. Thanks so much for commenting. Deb 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Deborah@TradeRoutz

    1000%. NEVER apologise for our illness/s. We seem to spend our lives saying ‘sorry’, because we didn’t cook, or clean, or bathe for 2 days. Well, bugger that I say! We must love one another, understand, but I think, mostly, love ourselves. Knowing that it’s OK to not be like everyone else. I too left the workplace, where I was running my own very successful business. My brain went on a root march, and that was that! I am sorry that you’ve had such a tough time, but so proud of you for dealing with it so healthily. x x

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Deborah

        Hey there. Today’s got me in such a spin I could puke! Tried changing my site’s name, but did it work??? ooooh nooo. I don’t even know if you’ll get this. But the new and ha ha ‘improved’ site is called Deborah@crazyandsane. x x
        Oh and saying sorry all the time, just makes you look guilty. Stuff ’em if they don’t ‘get it’! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Deborah

            Hi love
            Thanks. No, I just posted on StreetPsychiatrists blog, to tell my followers and those whom I follow, that my blog name has changed. Hope it’s worked. LOL, caused me to spin out of control….hmmm, on my list..’Things to avoid when you have Bipolar and Borderline’…:)

            Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad you can see some nice positive among some negatives.

    I have found it difficult to have to apologize for being sick too, but sometimes I’ve just done it because if I didn’t the situation would be worse. Some people can’t look past behavior, regardless of whether it was beyond control. Luckily the people in my life that really understand don’t force me to be eternally sorry. Those that do I’ll admit that I’ve distanced myself from.

    I’ve been on SSDI for about eight years now. I can imagine when I finally try to work again I’ll have to explain a lot. I, too, am hoping to do some freelance writing to dip my feet back into the work world. At least I do have plenty of writing samples. I do also have some volunteer experience to refer to.

    Like

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