Self-realization, therapy ease depression


By Gabriel Quiroz, Staff Writer

Imagine you’re in your room feeling significantly sad for no particular reason — crying, frustrated and thinking everything bad that’s happening is somehow your fault.
You have no idea why this is going on, but it happens a lot and is getting worse.
It seems impossible to even think at times, leaving your wandering mind to ruminate on everything bad that’s happened over the years — sometimes leading to suicidal ideation.
You look up what you’re going through online to try to figure it out.
All of the answers point to the same diagnosis, but you don’t really want to believe you have depression, anxiety or another mental disorder.
After a couple days, weeks or months you’re finally in a better mood and ask your friends and family for help, but they tell you that you don’t need it. That you just need to get your act together. They say you should eat healthier and work out or that what you’re going through isn’t real — it’s all in your head.
I’ve experienced all of these situations and listened to “family and friends” who embrace misunderstandings and stigmas about mental health disorders and treatment.
Unfortunately, I believed them and thought for a very long time that I could will my symptoms away with diet, exercise and the right attitude. However, this was very wrong.
Many people do not know there is a difference between being depressed and having depression. These are two different beasts that many people are misinformed about.
When after suffering a breakdown I told my father I wanted to seek help in the form of therapy to combat my symptoms.
He used his own experiences with depression to deter me from reaching out for help so, sadly, I held off getting help for a long time.
I told friends about wanting to go to the hospital when my suicidal thoughts became overwhelming, but they convinced me not to go because it could make things worse. Other people told me not to take medication because it didn’t work for them.
Both forms of advice turned out to be terribly wrong and I got worse as time went on.
And I thought it was my fault.
Many times, I have seen friends not seek mental health treatment for similar reasons. I have seen Instagram posts saying, “I don’t need the medicine. I can do this on my own.” These posts are followed by the excessive use of alcohol or other forms of self-medication out of fear of how they would feel on medication.
What I failed to realize was that none of these people knew anything about mental health or, worse yet, were against the idea of seeking mental health treatment.
It took me many years and the help of a lot of people, to finally decide to go to therapy after being brainwashed by those who told me it wouldn’t help me.
I didn’t want to seek traditional treatment because I didn’t think I needed it.
Finally I went and talked to a mental health professional and realized I had not been taking care of myself. The result? My medication has made me feel like a person again.
I went through many years into my 20s trying to figure out different ways to deal with depression But getting professional help was what actually helped me. It’s the only thing that has consistently helped me. I know I will never be completely well — but this is a real beginning.