What you’re dealing with is depression… and Mallory, I think it’s time we start exploring treatment options.” That was how my first therapist ended my final therapy session with her back in 2015. I let her office door close behind me and thought, “Of course I’m depressed! My husband is deployed for the second time in a year, I’m far away from my family, I’m raising two small children alone, and there’s no room in my life to seek out joy. It’ll all change when my husband gets home and I have some room to breathe. That lady is crazy. I’ll be fine.”
However, things didn’t get better for me after his homecoming, and I waited years to accept the words of my former therapist.
I lost pieces of my life in the time it took to accept the fact that my depression was legitimate. It took more time to cycle through all the things people say can help you deal with depression (exercise, meditation, diet change, etc.). While some of these techniques did help, I was still choosing to treat my depression through ignorance and denial. I was raising kids, I was working full time, I was a wife – my life wasn’t anything to be depressed about, and I simply didn’t want to deal with it all.
In December 2018, I walked into my doctor’s office, sat in front of her with tears in my eyes, and said the words, “I am anxious, and I am depressed. I would like to start taking medication.” I had spent three years afraid to admit I was struggling – three years! My symptoms weren’t the typical depression symptoms. I didn’t stay in bed all day. On the contrary, I was working A LOT and staying very busy. I was agitated, not constantly sad like the little blob in the Zoloft commercial. I didn’t sleep at night, but I attributed it to the fact that I had young children who needed me during the night. See what I mean? Deny, deny, deny… ignore.
If you or someone you know is dealing with depression, please learn from my mistakes and don’t wait to seek treatment. With more and more people openly discussing their struggles with mental health, the stigma that once surrounded these issues is melting away. Talk to your doctor to see if taking medication is necessary, and find a good therapist who can help you process the things going on in your head. Even if therapy hasn’t made much of a difference for you in the past, perhaps the introduction of the right medication could help you to better process your sessions. It’s almost as if a therapist tried to tell me these things before… oops.
If you need to talk to someone immediately, you can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and/or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 7417741.
Mallory Moser is a freelance writer