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Learning About My Diagnosis Helped Me Cope

"In being able to cope with it and accept it, it made me more active in therapy. I felt more comfortable."



I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder in my early teens so I was about 13, 14 years old. It was initially a misdiagnosis. They thought I was manic depressive and I was brought to other psychiatrists who confirmed that it was major depressive disorder. I've been diagnosed multiple times throughout the years since then too.

When I first started noticing that I had depression, I was actually in 5th grade, and I remember just not really knowing what suicide was, but knowing that I wanted to end my life. That's kind of around the time when I knew that I needed to get help and so did the people around me. I think that I concealed it pretty well for a kid. I didn't think it was really normal to be that depressed when I was that young. I didn't really acknowledge it until I was older, because it started to dawn on me that it wasn't normal.

I started sleeping more and not caring about schoolwork and the school had sort of an intervention, like, "Something's not right with your child," to my parents. So, they kind of referred me into therapy, and I didn't feel comfortable talking to my therapist about what was going on either. I think that was what fed into the depression getting more severe because I was just bottling everything up. It was really uncomfortable: I didn't think anything was wrong with me, but at the same time I knew something was wrong with me. I couldn't put a name on it and so I started getting angry. Anger is something that everybody knows. It just made it worse, it just perpetuated the depression, and I got more angry and more depressed and even more angry and more depressed, and I think once I realized that my anger was masking something else was when I started to actively participate in my own treatment and that was probably around 8th or 9th grade.

Once I was misdiagnosed as bipolar for the second time, I wanted to know what bipolar was. So, I started researching and the more I started to learn about depression the more I was like, okay, so wait—this is me. So, I started to accept the diagnosis, and because of the nature of who I am, I research everything. So, the more I learned the more I'd be like, well, what are some coping skills? And what are some tools that people use when they have bipolar disorder and major depression? Because there are a lot of common symptoms. So, it was mainly education where I started and the more I knew the better able to cope with it I was. In being able to cope with it and accept it, it made me more active in therapy. I felt more comfortable being like, "So, I want to die today," and it wasn't as hard to talk about. The dialogue opened, and I feel like once you talk about it, it kind of loses its power over you.

If you or someone you know are having thoughts of suicide, reach out to a healthcare provider immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.

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