Unspoken Conversations are the topics that are often swept under the carpet, whispered amongst the closest of friends and bitched about by many. I want to create awareness about difficult things that people face in life; grief, mental health, money, illnesses, family troubles, relationship difficulties and putting yourself first. I want to tell the truth about things that really matter.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Suicidal at 14...

Me and my husband

Today I welcome the very brave and courageous lady Jess to my blog to discuss her experience with depression.
The super scary fact - depression amongst children is becoming more and more prevalent - and at ages that would scare the pants off of you. Take it away Jess... 
I was diagnosed with Depression & Social Phobia in October 2002.

When I was finally diagnosed, it felt like there had been a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, like I could almost breathe again. It finally gave me a name to “what was wrong with me”.

I was 14.

What is depression? It is a chemical imbalance of the brain. It made it so hard to function, but in conjunction with social phobia it was horrendous. 
 Social phobia stopped me from getting out, enjoying life, being a teenager!
 I always felt like people were watching me, criticising me for what I was doing, who I was with or what I was wearing. 
I became a recluse. 
I used to pull “sickies” at school because I couldn’t handle being around people. Being constantly bullied, harassed and picked on. I struggled to tell my group of friends that I had been diagnosed with depression, as I was always seen as the strong one. If any of my friends had problems, they came to me, because they knew I would help. Sadly though, no one realised I was in need, that I was struggling and that I needed their help.
 In my journey, I tried many anti depressant medications. The first one was Zoloft. This medication had no effect, so after a few weeks, I was switched to another medication. The next one was Luvox, which looked like it might have had potential... Then the change came, I became so much worse. 
I stopped eating, sleeping and I would stay up all night writing morbid poetry and self harming. 
I then hit breaking point at the end of November 2002, I took an overdose of panamax paracetamol. I didn’t know it wouldn’t kill me... Only make me very sick. That night, I tried to take my own life. I got scared, and decided I didn’t want to die. I told mum... I fear, that night would have been the thing out of worst nightmares for mum. I was taken to the emergency department of the local hospital and had to drink charcoal and be hooked up to drips and all stuff...
 I remember the doctor on call was from Tumby bay, the same doctor who delivered me, just over 14 years before hand. His reaction I will never forget. The treatment I received from some nurses was appalling, others was fantastic... It was support. My doctor, also from Tumby Bay, told me to bed over the bed so he could kick my bum! 
I made some amazing friends while in hospital... People that I never expected to care came to see me... I even had one mum climb in to my bed with me and cuddle me after I’d met her briefly twice!

I spent 3 nights in hospital, my medication was changed to Effexor XR. I spent alot of time in the school chaplains office, talking, crying and learning how to smile again! This medication worked wonderfully... Until I’d been on it for a few months and decided myself I was “all better”... I was “all better” for about a month. I went cold turkey off the medication. I had head spins and felt sick in the stomach, but once I came down, I felt really good... For a month... Then the world came crashing back down on me! I went back on the medication, and tried the 75 mg again... to no avail... I then tried 150mg, with no success and finally ended up on 225mg a day which finally worked! 
I learnt after that, no going off the medication without the doctor pushing for it! After a while on the medication I went on a “drug holiday” I was so excited! It involved being put on another medication, whilst weening off the Effexor XR. Once weened, I was on Lexapro for a few weeks, slowly decreasing the dosage till nothing... Eventually I was “drug free” and I did alright, but by this stage I knew the warning signs and knew when to put my hand up and ask for help! I ended up having to ask for help again after 3 months off the medication and I was then put on Cipramil.

I spent 4 years on cipramil. My doctor said to me in the early days, The recovery from depression is 25% medication, 25% support network and 50% myself, fighting the disease and learning from it.

I found some amazing people during my lowest times, and I still hold them close to my heart.

Depression is awful, and it is a disease I don’t wish upon anyone, but I wouldn’t change my battle with it for anything!
It has made me stronger and more aware.

Today, in October 2012 I was diagnosed almost 10 years ago with depression and social phobia.

I have been off the medication for 5 years now.

I am married, have the most amazingly beautiful 3 year old daughter and 12 year old step daughter. I work hard to support my family. I have achieved things that I would never have been able to do 10 years ago.
My gorgeous daughter

I have my moments still. When everything gets all too much and I have to take a step back, I think back to where I’ve been, and how far I’ve come!

My advice.

Be patient, recovery doesn’t happen overnight, but it does eventually happen!

Learn the warning signs, don’t ignore them!

Support those around you in need.

Dont judge!

Watch for changed behaviors in family, friends and co workers.

Don't joke or tease someone regarding their decisions whilst suffering with depression.

Depression cane happen to anyone, from any background, it does not discriminate!

And above all, don’t be ashamed to ask for help!
Jess x

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