The following is a guest post by Jenny.
She is proof that it doesn’t matter how long you’ve struggled, if you’ve had alcohol or drug problems in the past, if you had a rough time growing up, etc.
I love success stories because by definition, depression makes your brain think that you can’t beat it and that nobody ever does. We see all the bad stories but never see the countless people that overcame depression.
Enter Jenny’s Depression Success Story
From a young age I’ve always felt overwhelmed by my feelings, unable to process them in the same way others seemed to do. Dark thoughts, constant negative self talk, that voice always telling me I’m not good enough. I would question everyone’s motives and intentions believing that people were out to harm me, always feeling as if I’m fighting a battle, every single day.
I had a lack of energy and motivation as well as the hopelessness that things would never change. I would isolate myself, not be able to stand people physically being near me when I was at my worst and it’s something that’s made it very difficult for the people around me, especially those closest and as a result my relationships have suffered over the years.
I’m 41 now and have fought, resisted, battled, questioned my ability to cope with life, how I’ve always reacted negatively to life since my very early teens. Back then it was dismissed as is in a lot of cases as teenage angst etc except it never really left me. I had a difficult relationship with my father and for many years I was the ‘victim’ of a troubled childhood and that was something I used in turn as a reason or excuse for how I behaved. My father was physically abusive towards me and we would clash, often violently and this pattern continued right up to 21 years of age, yet I had two older siblings and their experience wasn’t anywhere like my own.
I became familiar with self-harm in my teens right up to 31/32 years of age when I severed the artery in my right hand. I had multiple suicide attempts which with hindsight were desperate cries for help because I didn’t understand why I was so different to everyone else, or so I thought.
I was and still am to some extent reclusive, I struggle in other people’s company yet I can get on with almost anyone and few people would really know what it takes for me to make the effort to engage with them. it was in my teens I discovered alcohol, drugs never really interested me as they were for really messed up people I thought. Anyway, it took twenty odd years of drinking before I admitted finally I am an alcoholic and that’s okay today, I’m six 1/2 years sober.
In that time I held down jobs, lost them, never had an adult relationship except occasionally with married men as I was too messed up to let anyone close enough, I got pregnant at 23 and my daughter is now 17. Through all this I saw various counsellors, tried numerous therapies in fact we got to the point where the professionals concluded I could probably teach them a thing or two and talking never really proved a practical enough solution to me. Medication didn’t really help, it never did, I was ‘resistant’ to it so what was left?
I clearly had dual diagnosis of depression and alcoholism and my mental health tag has changed a few times over the years but it was 18 months ago when I was left with nowhere else to go I couldn’t tolerate medication at all, less so since becoming sober, I didn’t want to go back to drink because I knew with absolute certainty there would be no coming back again.
Still struggling with the death of my beloved mum nearly 12 months before, whom my daughter and I had always lived with and I had cared for during serious, eventual terminal illness the previous five years, this was the one woman who had never given up on me, had in fact been the only reason my daughter hadn’t been removed from my care.
I was also looking at the end of my relationship with my partner, the only person in my life I’d ever let so close, who’d supported me during my mum’s final month’s/days/hours but my behaviour had become uncontrollable, unmanageable and he couldn’t stand it anymore.
I couldn’t blame him either, plus he lost his own dad a few weeks later. So in what seemed like a very deep hole with no way out one night, like many others I was searching the internet in the hope of answers, breaking my heart at suicide sites for those poor people and their stories, even whilst thinking I couldn’t stand it anymore myself, silently cheering them on to live, surely there had to be something to grab hold of?
I came across Dominate Depression that suggested something called amino acid therapy, I’d never heard of it before, ever and I’d become a bit of a fitness buff (I’d lost six stone and got quite physically fit but neither did that answer the problems in my head). By this point I was ready to try anything there really wasn’t much left for me and as much as I love my daughter I was literally fighting to stay alive for her.
I slowly started buying some of the suggested supplements and I really appreciated the honest and informed account. Something about it resonated with me and I’m so glad it did. Sadly the solution didn’t come in time to save my relationship, too much damage had already been done but I survived.
Finding the website that night I was at my lowest point in years, dark didn’t even come close to the hole I felt I was in and I wasn’t even sure that I wanted to get out anymore. The emotional pain had become physical, everything hurt and I just couldn’t seem to find anyway of making it better. The fact I had yet again gone to my GP to try antidepressants which only made things worse made me question if there was anything that could make a difference. You trust your doctor, when they can no longer help you kind of think that’s it. I have a diagnosis of PTSD and the last antidepressants that tried left me awake all night and hallucinating, what with the struggle I have with night terrors already I was absolutely terrified.
The concept of amino acid therapy in the beginning at least gave me something to hold onto, a hope that there was something else I could try and that wouldn’t have the horrific side effects of antidepressant medication. I won’t say it’s a miracle cure, I’ve been doing it for about 8 or 9 months now but the difference is marked and I would state with certainty I wouldn’t be in as good a shape as I am today without it.
For the first time in my life I’m coping with life without medicating with alcohol, painkillers (prescription AND over the counter) or antidepressants that either wipe me out or make me feel worse. I will not pretend that all in the garden is rosy but that’s life and there is a way of helping yourself when nothing else seems to work, or when professionals don’t know what box to put you in and just leave you to either get better or die, stark but true sometimes.
I try various aminos which I’ve researched and used a number of books and this site to help inform me, if you can afford to seek professional guidance I would say that’s a start.
These days I’m back at college, with a brilliant group of people studying towards a career in support work which I also volunteer in. I was also lucky enough to be asked to do some work for a body that inspects medical and health facilities, providing official reports to the government, so I like to think I’m also helping patients like myself too.
My relationship with my daughter is much improved and she is someone I’m incredibly proud of, my mum is still gone, as is my partner but I’m still here.