Hannah Wiles- Depression
"Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back everything is different." -C.S. Lewis
I will never forget the moment I hit rock bottom. My mom was leaning over my bed begging me to eat something. She physically had to feed me by hand. Whether it was shear exhaustion that kept me from eating or that I didn't care anymore, I'll never know. I had not eaten or drank anything in days, lost fifteen pounds and looked like I was dying. I surely felt like it on the inside.
I will also never forget the moment when I realized how far I have came. I was swimming in the ocean on a beautiful sunny day. I could feel the warmth on my face and thought about how beautiful life is, how lucky I was to be alive. In that moment, I truly felt happy. I realized that that was the first time in so long I remembered what it was like to feel that way. Because for the past three years, I was so depressed and anxious, I couldn't leave my house let alone go to the beach. I remembered being on that same beach almost two years ago and not being able to feel anything but pain. I wasn't able to enjoy the beauty of my surroundings, but on that day two years later, I was as happy as I had ever been.
Getting to the point I am today was not easy - I had to fight like hell and when I couldn't fight anymore, I had to let my loved ones fight for me. 17 different medications, 2 different visits to the ER, countless psychiatrist appointments and way too many sleepless nights and lost friends is what my past three years have entailed.
Believe me, there are still days where I have to fight like hell to get out of bed but the difference is, I get up. Everyday I am still reminded that I have depression and anxiety but I am for the most part able to push through and start living my life again. I know how it feels to be in a place where you can't even envision a life without that God awful feeling in your head and body that keeps you up all hours of the night wondering how you let yourself get to that point. There was a time where I thought it was just a matter of time before I seized to exist.
I can't tell you exactly how I got here. But a big part of it has to do with Electric Shock Therapy treatment. I received 23 rounds of treatments over the course of two months. I had done a lot of research about just how life changing it can be. I had to see many doctors and plead my case over and over again before I finally found one that agreed to give it a try and boy am I ever glad I did. It is not an easy treatment to go through, thinking back to it still gives me a sick feeling in my stomach. There is something quite uneasy about getting your brain shocked multiple times. I don't remember exactly when I started to feel better, but it was around a month after my treatment. I had gone on vacation and actually been able to enjoy it. ECT got me to a point where I was able to start doing things to get my life back together. I started working two days a week again, got enrolled in school and started to hang out with my friends. If there is anything ECT and this experience taught me, its fight as hard as you can. Never ever give up. You have to be your own advocate for your health. If you think there's a treatment or medication that would help, don't stop until you get the answer you want. And if you can't fight, let those around fight for you. There's nothing wrong with getting a little help sometimes.
If you are struggling with a mental illness, I promise you one day it will get better. Maybe not today, maybe not in a month, but it will. Know you aren't alone. If you are recovering, be gentle in yourself. You are fragile and will have bad days. But trust me, the good days sure do outweigh the bad one. Just keep swimming, one day you will come up for air. I did.