Tuesday, 29 July 2014
I've always felt that I was prone to spells of depression but I never really paid much attention to it. It was never really a major obstacle in my life and I managed to struggle through any of the hard times. At the start of this year though, I decided that I couldn't do it on my own and went to the doctor to enquire about my options.
I was put on Lexapro tablets to help treat this shitty feeling that was always hanging over me. After a month I began to feel a little better. I was scheduled to return to the doctor and she upped my dosage from 10mg to 20mg. Another month down the line and I felt comfortable enough to tell my parents about it.
Ideally, I would have told them from the offset because I knew they would be very supportive but I wasn't ready to do that yet. When I told them, predictably, they began researching depression and seeing what else they could do to help.
They came back to me with information on the Bio Balance Centre in Dublin. For €400 I could go and talk to the doctor, get some tests done and see what the results would show. It took less than an hour and I felt at ease the whole time I was in the doctor's office, except when the sight of the tiny needle scared me. When I received the results a few weeks later I was told I had a Serotonin Deficiency.
Serotonin is a chemical created by the body that acts as a neurotransmitter, transmitting signals from one brain cell to another. It is believed to influence a variety of psychological and other bodily functions. It affects your mood, your appetite, your sleep and your social behaviour amongst others and can lead to depression.
The treatment I was advised to take at the Bio Balance Centre was to take vitamins, get exercise, eat healthily and eventually wean myself off of the Lexapro so I could be naturally healthy. If I do all these things it will help me to combat my depression. Already I am feeling better than I have in a long, long time.
I was always hesitant about getting treated for depression. I never really thought that life was overly bad for me. I had read several different peoples accounts of their battle with depression and I felt that maybe I was just overreacting. Too many times I decided to soldier on and hope it would fix itself.
It took me a while to decide to get help. I realised that even if it was just a mild case, it's better to try to get it sorted. After all, I wouldn't have ignored getting the flu and refused to treat it because it wasn't as bad as pneumonia.
Six months ago I was feeling very low and I didn't know why. I had no real reason to feel that way. Now, I am more active, more energetic and a lot happier and all it took was the very small step of getting a little help. It's not as daunting as you may think. Nobody you go to for help is going to call you a liar, tell you just to 'cheer up' or laugh at you.
I know that there are people in my situation or an awful lot worse that still don't seek help but I urge you to reconsider because you actually wouldn't believe the amount of difference it makes. Because of the whole science-y side of treatment (chemicals, vitamins, serotonin and all that jargon) some people, including me, don't really understand what it actually entails so they may automatically assume it won't make a difference but it does.
So if you are constantly feeling down, even if it's not a major hindrance in your life, then I recommend that you do something about it. It's easier with family and friends to help you but not a necessity either. You can do it on your own. It may take time but, even if you don't realise it, you have the stuff to get you there in the end. Our minds and bodies are remarkably underestimated when it comes to dealing with problems like these.
Obviously I'm not a doctor or an expert on the subject but I would suggest you visit some of the sites I listed below and at least give it a go. What have you to lose? There's no need to continue suffering when the potential for treatment is so readily available in today's world, either by your own life changes or with the help of a professional.
I'm aware that these sites (and indeed this blog) may not apply to everybody's circumstances but even if it sets you off on your search for happiness then that's a start. All I can tell you is about my own experiences and I've learned a lot about depression in the last few months so maybe other people can also benefit from hearing about it. Hopefully.
Also, for people who maybe are not ready to face people upfront about their problems yet, a helpful book I found to read was Paul McKenna's 'Instant Confidence'. It may not deal directly with depression but it has enough in it to maybe help point you in the right direction.