It’s been a long, hard, dangerous road, but here I am. Life isn’t perfect by any means, and I’m not always in a good mood. But I’ve felt a hell of a lot better this last year and a half than I have maybe since I was 14. That was 35 years ago.
That’s a long haul.
Over the years, I have tried just about everything to feel better. Unfortunately, I have a little asterisk next to my diagnosis that denotes it as “treatment-resistant” MDD. Despite the efforts of myself, a slew of mental health providers, and some close friends and family, nothing really helped much. I might get a little respite for a few months after starting a new med, but eventually, that would go away and I’d be left wondering what the hell happened – again.
Finally, in late 2015, I took a chance on a new-fangled treatment option called TMS. Transcranial magnetic stimulation is a non-invasive treatment for depression that uses magnetic pulses to activate certain parts of the brain. In other words, it gets your neurotransmitters going. The research says it’s almost as effective as ECT, and my experience has been that there are very few side effects (like feeling sleepy and having a minor headache).
The (very positive) effects of the TMS lasted for about eight or nine months and then I felt myself starting to slip again. I contacted my shrink and got in for another round of treatments. Five months later, I still feel pretty damn good. That says a lot, considering that I’ve been dealing with a few Really Big Deals lately.
Since I’ve been feeling better, I decided I needed to do something with my life. Actually, it’s more like I realized I could do something with my life. I spent the better part of two decades with no hope, no goals, no belief that I even had a future, much less a productive one.
So, last week, after an awful lot of tweaking, I published my freelance writing website, TheMentalHealthWriter.com. I am now waiting impatiently for the mental health, LGBTQ, addiction, and social justice communities to magically find me and hire me to write for them.
(Update, February 2018: TMHW is no longer available.)
But then I realized that, while helping businesses and organizations is all well and good, I wanted to have a more personal impact on people. I was recently re-reading a blog post the inimitable Jon Morrow of Smart Blogger wrote for ProBlogger and got totally inspired. You can read it here.
I thought, Yeah, I want to make a difference in people’s lives, too! I want to help whoever is suffering from depression by letting them know that it IS possible to overcome it! So, I thought of this killer domain name (DepressionWarrior.com) and started adding content, and voila! Here it is.
Of course, I want this to succeed. Who wouldn’t love it if their posts got really popular and Hollywood came calling, saying they wanted Jennifer Lawrence to play you? LOL But really, I just want to help people feel better if I can. That’s the driving force behind all of this.
These are my promises to you:
There’s no such thing as “perfect”, and MDD is a chronic illness that I don’t expect to go away anytime soon. So you can expect the unabashed truth from me.
I will be very honest with where I’m at on any given day. That means the bad, as well as the good. There’s no such thing as “perfect”, and MDD is a chronic illness that I don’t expect to go away anytime soon. So you can expect the unabashed truth from me.
I will occasionally mention topics that could be triggering, such as suicide, self-injury, abuse, etc. When I do, I promise I will do so responsibly and with tact. I will also give you a heads-up so you can decide if you want to read it or not.
I will respond to all comments as soon as humanly possible, so go ahead – drop me a line!
WE ARE ALL WARRIORS
One more thing. Although the name of this site is Depression Warrior, as a general rule, I try not to “fight” my depression anymore. After years and decades of being pissed off about it and trying to “fix” what I thought was broken in me, I have come to realize that my life goes a lot better if I can accept where I’m at at this moment – not engage it in combat.
BUT I also know what a struggle it is to simply survive some days, to get dressed, to eat something (other than chocolate), to take a shower. And God forbid you should need to leave the house for some reason! I have serious respect and admiration for anyone who has to deal with a mental illness (and their supporters) because how much harder can it get than battling a brain that’s out to get you every single day?
In that sense, we are all warriors. We are survivors. We continue.
So, my fellow Warriors, thank you for your bravery and courage. Every time I see a story on the news or read an article, book, Facebook post, or Tweet about how you go on, I am encouraged and inspired. You help me more than you know.
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Photo credit: Yuri Zap on Shutterstock