Patient Blogs | Depression
Living With Depression: My Biggest Surprises
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My knowledge of depression before my diagnosis came from the media. I saw the antidepressant commercials and the occasional character in a movie or TV show that would have some display of depression. So when I was diagnosed I had no idea what to expect but assumed everything.

Different therapists and psychiatrists have different methods.

One surprise I had when I started seeking treatment for my mental health was that it wasn’t an automatic click with just any therapist and psychiatrist I go to. In fact, it would take multiple of each to find someone I like. I discovered clicking with them was important for my treatment. I also needed to trust my clinicians. I kept going until I felt comfortable and confident in my therapist and psychiatrist.

People in my life would make assumptions about me and my depression.

The stigma surrounding mental health has improved even in the last 7 years since I was diagnosed with depression. I am glad to see this, although there is still a long way to go.

I was surprised to see how many people that I was close to make their own assumptions of my depression based on their own understanding of depression.

It was difficult in the beginning, to struggle with depression and your personal relationships. I pushed through and tried educating those around me. I made decisions based on what I felt was right for me, regardless of outside opinions.

My depression would go away and stay away.

In the beginning, I figured if I got over this period of depression, I wouldn’t feel another one. When my depression came back, it required me to reevaluate how I dealt with my depression.

The positive coping skills and habits I put into place to combat my depression need to stay in place, permanently.

I have to continue taking care of my mental health in order to stay on top of my depression. This isn’t a bad thing, it just means I need to live a healthy life for my mind, body, and soul. I have a previous article talking about my positive coping skills.

I would get to know my depression over time.

Since I’ve had depression for 7 years, I feel that I’ve gotten to know it. It is easier for me to identify when I’m starting to slip back into depression because I know my warning signs. I have learned when it is important to communicate I am feeling depressed, especially if I start feeling suicidal.

I would say it’s easier to deal with my depression now in the sense that if I listen to my warning signs, I can stop myself from falling into a depressive episode before it gets too bad.

No matter what stage you’re at in your depression journey, we are all in this together. We can learn the surprises or challenges together.



Photo Credit: Stanislaw Pytel / Stone via Getty Images

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Katharine Hartleb

Katharine Hartleb

Diagnosed since 2014

Katharine Hartleb was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in 2014, at age 16. She has a passion for helping others and plans on becoming a mental health counselor. Hartleb lives in Charleston, SC, and is a recovery coach at a substance use disorder facility. She is also a young adult presenter for NAMI, sharing her personal story. Connect with her through her personal Instagram and her kat4kindness Instagram.

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