Depression: Person Behind the Smile (cont.)

I've also been with dear cousins whose words of kindness are ever-ready. And my friend, who I've known for nearly 37 years, is a sister to me in a sense. I love the way we can agree to disagree when need be. Finally, and very important, I have WebMD's Bipolar Affective Disorder board to sign on to. I find so much strength from the people who post there. All of us seem to share the same understanding, kindness, and compassion.

Changes and Inspirations

At times it feels like my body's engulfed in a transparent bubble, and my thoughts become disconnected. My biggest concern is this will happen while driving. Until I can be absolutely sure it's not going to happen, I won't drive -- ouch!

Long term, I worry about the permanent effects from all the medications I have to take.

My God, through the Lord Jesus Christ, gives me strength and hope to get through each day. I sincerely feel I'm on this Earth for a purpose, and I'm being cared for until I have fulfilled that purpose.

"If you're suffering with mental illness, please seek help right away."

Hopefully, I can become the woman I want to be. I've been so blessed with my wonderful marriage to Bob. Fortunately, I've learned from the failures of my first marriage how to be respectful, honest, loyal, and loving.

Advice

If you're suffering with mental illness, please seek help right away. The world is full of very cruel people, and we don't have any control over that. Darn, I find it difficult to accept that myself. But, I do know that there are people who really care and can help if you reach out to them.

There are resources one can tap into for help. First, there's a great organization called the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI). They do so many things, including lobby for the rights of those with mental illness, provide support, send information on the current issues, and so much more. I also recommend a book I related to so much: An Unquiet Mind, by Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison, a phenomenal woman also suffering from debilitating mental illness.

Last, but not least, I am so very partial to WebMD. It's a remarkable resource to search for conditions, medications, and communicate with others on a message board. This is where I can post my experiences, strengths, hopes, and disappointments. WebMD has been a wonderful gift because it hasn't cost me anything to find answers, and find compassion from others dealing with mental illness, especially bipolar disorder. I'm very grateful to all of those who make the board a success.

By sharing my story, I hope to find common ground with other people distraught from mental illness. Hopefully, through the recollections of our lives, we can gain support and understanding from each other.

May God be with you all.

The member story above may have been edited for clarity.

From WebMD: Depression is far more common than most people realize, with two out of every 10 people being clinically depressed. As many as 23% of all adult women have had one major depressive episode in their lifetime.

The tragedy is that although so many people are struggling silently with crushing misery, so few get help. There are 100,000 people in the U.S. who haven't been correctly diagnosed and who aren't receiving treatment that could mean the difference between life and death.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, to help someone with depression you can:

  • Encourage the person to make an appointment with a doctor, or make the appointment yourself. You may want to go along for support.
  • Encourage the person to stick with the treatment plan, including taking prescribed medicine. Improvement may take several weeks. If no improvement occurs, encourage the person to seek a different treatment rather than giving up.
  • Give emotional support by listening carefully and offering hope.
  • Invite the person to join you in activities that you know he or she used to enjoy, keeping in mind that expecting too much too soon can lead to feelings of failure.
  • Do not accuse the person of faking illness or expect them to "snap out of it."
  • Take comments about suicide seriously, and seek professional advice.

"From WebMD" is taken from previously published WebMD content and has been medically reviewed by WebMD physicians.

©1996-2005 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.


Last Editorial Review: 11/8/2005