Update: I created a facebook page under my pen name, Ingrid Ruysch, for those of you who would like to communicate with me on a more personal level.
I am someone who has been fighting depression for more than half of my life. I grew up with a stay-at-home mom who was undiagnosed mentally ill herself. Sure, my childhood was not desirable, but others have had it worse. She kept up appearances very well. I truly don’t believe that she meant to be emotionally abusive, but I think due to her mental illness, she thought she was being a good parent. My dad avoided her like the plague, so my siblings and I rarely saw him.
My own depression appeared around puberty and got steadily worse. In high school, I started self-harming and smoking pot. In college I drank and was promiscuous while continuing to self-harm and smoke pot. And yet I remained undiagnosed. I was intelligent and got decent grades without having to work for them. It didn’t matter that I failed at least one class because I couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed for two classes and they had a very strict attendance policy. Then I started taking some higher level classes and was in danger of being kicked out of school. I don’t recall what lie I used in my defense, but it was enough for them to grant me leniency if I got tested by a psychologist. I was tested and diagnosed with major depressive disorder. I was put on some medication and sent away.
There are many people out there who do not agree with the use of medications to treat psychological disorders. I have had people who told me that they manage their depression with diet and exercise. Well good for them! What they did not seem to comprehend was that I couldn’t. I had days where it took every ounce of will that I possessed just to get myself out of bed, clothed, and to class. I had absolutely nothing left for diet or exercise. I ate what was convenient and rarely cooked for myself, even though I knew how. I think I self-medicated with marijuana. That also left me with little motivation, even though I felt better. I drank to not be socially awkward at parties.
When I first started taking medication, I discovered what it felt like to be happy. I was so depressed for so long, that I didn’t truly understand how happy felt. The medications came with side-effects that were undesirable and there were times that I stopped taking them because I preferred to be without the side effects. However, I always started taking the medication again because I missed how being happy felt. After a number of years, I settled for a medication that had no undesirable side-effects, but didn’t work well enough to stave off of the depression completely. I still had to deal with it, but in lesser amounts. Eventually, I found a supplement that helped. Because medications for depression are extremely expensive and I had a lapse in health insurance coverage, I found myself relying on just the supplement. After the withdrawal period from the medication had ended, I found myself feeling emotions that seemed closer to normal. I felt a wide range of emotions and had to learn to deal with them in my 30s instead of growing up like most people do. I saw therapists on and off throughout these years and they also helped.
At the beginning of this blog, I still experienced periods of depression. Even so, I am now confident in saying that I no longer experience major depression, which lasts for weeks at a time. I now consider myself suffering from mild depression and am now ready to see if I can improve from there. I don’t know if it was the years of medication or the therapy or my constant belief that I could always improve myself that has gotten me to this state, but that is where I am now. And I am very grateful to only have mild depression!
Since then, I have aged and with it have acquired a few other diagnoses. I now have hypothyroidism and back problems. The extra weight gained from the hypothyroidism has also resulted in knee problems, but only if I work out too strenuously.
I am a teacher, by profession. I have cats. I have two sisters and a brother. I enjoy nature, music, books, and movies. I have moved several times for work over the years, so I have some friends all over the place. I have none where I currently live.
I recently found out I was pregnant and am now recounting my adventures in pregnancy.