On Medication and Dysthymia

By CHelsea ricchio

Originally posted on tumblr here on May 7th, 2014. 

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week! It was just Mental Health Awareness Week in January, but maybe that was just around here. I feel like no one is more aware of mental health than me, but I like the idea that I could help share information and experiences with people who are not so aware.

Now that I’ve had the conversations I needed to have, I feel comfortable saying that I’ve been on medication for my depression since the beginning of March. I’m going to talk about my experience with it so far, because there are a LOT of pretty strong opinions out there. At least at my university, the most popular opinion by far is that medication is awful and pushed on everyone for no reason. And of course sometimes that’s completely true, and it really isn’t for everyone. I never thought it was for me and I resisted it for years. So I’m going to share my experience, because people should know that it’s not always a horror story, and some people just honestly want to know what it might be like. I know I did.

I’ve suspected that I had dysthymia since high school, but I was only diagnosed with it this year. Dysthymia is a form of low-grade depression that is chronic and lasts for many years. It can last for so long that people simply believe that it is who they are, and don’t realize that there is anything ‘different’ about them. This was the case for me. If you want a bit more info, the Wikipedia article is actually very good. I believe that my dysthymia has been following me around since elementary school, when I first started to dread going to school and had anxieties surrounding friendships – probably around the first or second grade. When I was in high school I was “triggered” into experiencing more severe depression due to a horrible breakup and subsequent bullying situation that resulted in the loss of many of the people who were closest to me.

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