My name is Katy. When I was in Jr high I was diagnosed with Major depression. It was a hard blow. I didn’t know anyone with depression and no one talked about it. I felt very alone. Let’s face it; Jr high is difficult already, adding my mind fighting against itself made it unbearable.
High school was rough too. It was hard to keep up in my honors classes. If I got too stressed I would have anxiety attacks and cry in class. It was horrible and so embarrassing. I was highly involved in extracurricular activities and that helped a lot to keep my mind occupied, but not enough. My senior year my parents went out of town and I tried to take my life. I was in counseling a lot after that. Drs would just throw out a diagnosis without even trying to figure out the real problem. I knew I didn’t have what they were saying I did. No medication I took would help.
I graduated high school with honors which was a miracle and moved to Utah from Oregon to attend Brigham Young University. I was scared to leave home but I have siblings in Utah so I thought everything would be okay with their support. College started out smoothly. I lived in the dorms and made a lot of friends. During finals week everything was overwhelming, I knew I wasn’t safe and took myself to the psychiatric hospital. I had to withdrawal from my classes, the whole semester was wasted. Things got very dark from there.
I was in and out of the hospital for 5 years after that first hospital visit. During those years I wasn’t emotionally capable of returning to college. I did hold a job but it was all I could do to function as a “normal” person. Fortunately I had a very proactive psychiatrist. He took my case as a challenge and promised me he would help me feel better. We were changing my medications frequently trying to find the right ones and dose. It become very frustrating. Still nothing helped. My doctor recommended shock treatment, my family advised against it. Things were so bad in my head I didn’t even care what they said, I was willing to try anything. I had multiple rounds of treatment and came to the conclusion that my family had been right. I know shock treatment does work for some people but for me it was one of the worst decisions I have ever made. It didn’t help me and caused me to lose years of my memory. To this day, 6 years later, my memory is fuzzy. I mourn the memories I lost.
It took 9 years to get the proper diagnosis. My psychiatrist would always tell me depression is all about patience and eventually things would get better. I didn’t believe him and even though things were really hard and there were days, weeks, months I wanted to die I continued to fight. I did not want to hurt my family by ending my life. Depression can be caused by so many things, I was diagnosed with premenstrual dysphoric disorder. I had never heard of it before then. In layman’s terms my menstrual cycle threw off my hormones enough to make me suicidal for weeks on end. My doctor recommended a hysterectomy at the age of 22, that was one treatment I was not willing to do. Luckily starting birth control stopped my menstrual cycle and life got A LOT better. It is not guaranteed that the birth control will work forever. I will also one day need to stop taking it in order to have children. It is my dream to be a mother some day and scares me so much that the one thing I want most in life can be the thing that kills me.
Even without my period I still have very dark days occasionally but knowing why I am having them and having pulled through it once makes them a little easier to get past. I still get angry that depression has prevented me from living life how I had planned. If you had told me when I younger that I wouldn’t be a nurse by the time I was 22 I would have told you, you were crazy. Going back to college was one of the scariest things I had ever done, I associated school with extreme stress and failure. I am happy to say I am now a sophomore at Utah Valley University and applying for the nursing program in April. I am 28 years old now but that’s ok. Better late than never. I try to be patient with myself.
I am grateful that I am still here. I know there are many who lose the battle. I have lost very close friends and family to suicide and see the after math it causes. It’s hard to accept that I was able to find the help I needed and they couldn’t. In a way it makes me feel guilty but gives me drive to live my life to the fullest for those who were not as fortunate as I. I know there is a reason I am still alive. There is a plan for me and I know my trials will and have made me a better person.
You are important and there is a plan for you too. When things get bad hold on a little longer, one day at a time, one minute at a time if needed. You can do it! Don’t give up. Please. Hope is real, Help is real. I care about you.