Four years. That are 1095 days. That’s how long it has been already since I’ve been diagnosed with depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Until last week, I was convinced that I have accepted my diagnoses. In a certain I have accepted it: I’m open about my mental health and I don’t call it “stress” for example to make things easier. Last week I had a conversation which made me doubt whether or not I have accepted my “illness” though. I put the word sickness in quotation marks because I find it difficult to call something psychological a sickness…. It is a disease in the mental health world, but when I think of being ill images of people with a fever laying in bed for example pop up in my head. It also makes it difficult to see depression as a disease because it can not be seen on the outside. It’s mental, not physical. Someone can look tired, but that does not necessarily mean that the person is depressed. Because of this, I am convinced that I can still function properly 100%. But whenever I try, I find out that this is not the case. My body and mind tell me I’m overdoing things and I end up sitting at home feeling tired, over-stimulated and gloomy. At times like these I am reminded that depression and PTSD are indeed real diseases. To overcome these illnesses, I have to listen carefully to myself and try to admit that I just can not fully function the way I want to.
Four years. That are 1095 days. I’ve had a lot of different therapies. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Schema therapy. CBT was the least beneficial to me and I have the feeling that I did this one for too long until I tried something else. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is about exploring the mind and your thoughts. Having certain negative thoughts can cause you to end up in a downward spiral causing you to feel sadder overtime. With CBT you’re challenging your thoughts. You will have to think about pros and cons for a certain thought for example. During CBT I found out that I am able to think rationally and how I can think differently when I’m having a certain thought. But I had the feeling that this was not the core problem. On the other hand EMDR was very useful to me. It is intense and it asks a lot from you. You basically go back to a traumatic event and process it in the here and now. In the meantime you’re distracted by taps for example or your therapist’s hand which is moving back and forth. Then there is also Schema Therapy. I do not have much experience with this yet, but I have the feeling that it will bring me as much as EMDR. In Schema therapy you work with modes. Usually such a mode covers things that happened during your youth. By using different conversation techniques you sort of go into conversation with these modes, and you find out what was needed back then.
Four years. That are 1095 days. My life did not go as I expected. In an ideal situation I already had my diplomas by now but because of my depression and PTSD, I do not. Hopefully though I will receive one of the two diplomas I’m studying for now in a couple of months. In these past few years grief hit me hard. On some days I just couldn’t anymore. I was done with it. But during these hard times I got a lot of support. I have never considered how happy I am with my friends and family. But because of my depression and PTSD I have grown closer to certain people. I know that I can count on them forever. I actually don’t know if I’d be aware of this if I did not had a mental illness. It’s certainly no fun to live with depression and PTSS but I can definitely say that I have grown in certain aspects. I’d never thought I’d say that!
Are you also struggling with something psychological? I know how annoying it is and sometimes it feels like there’s no end to it. But if you look at how much you’ve grown during this journey, can you be a bit proud of yourself? Write it down, put it on a visible place so you don’t forget how awesome you are. You are worth it!