The answer is probably a little bit of both depending on which way the wind is blowing, what news I have received and if I’ve been told for the umpteenth time “it’s such a shame that this has happened to you again”.
70% of the time I’m definitely fed up with how my life has taken this most frustrating turn. 29% of the time I’m anxious about my future and what kind of future I have to offer those closest to me, but there is 1% of me that I would happily admit can be depressed.
Having had depression and terrible anxiety when I was first diagnosed with M.E back in 2003, I know how bad your thoughts can get. Waking up in the morning with the sad realisation that you have to face another day or the simple action of phoning a taxi can become the most frightening thing you will ever do. This is why it makes me so angry when I go to the doctor’s upset that I’m ill again or I have a new fun symptom and I get told “Oh, you’re just a little depressed!” I’m starting to get the impression that anti depressants are, as far as a lot of GPs are concerned, a miracle cure all pill. I have had the strangest of looks over the years when I have tried to explain the difference between depression and anxiety to a doctor. I was always under the impression that they were quite separate things?! Maybe someone should tell the people who update the dictionary that they have been getting it wrong all these years!
I can suffer quite badly from anxiety and it does effect every aspect of my life. I worry about things that really shouldn’t need a second thought. I have to write myself lists of everything I have packed into a bag if I am going away somewhere so I know I have everything I need. I will also check this list at least four times before I am satisfied enough to get to sleep. I have sudden overwhelming urges to scream/hide/curl up into a ball when I am in big crowded places. The thought of a stranger asking me for the time/directions makes me sweat. I worry constantly about what people think of me as I talk. This, as many of my life long friends will tell you, is not like the healthy me at all. Of course I care what people think as I would never want people to think I was rude but I also know you can never please everyone. I have enough loving friends and family that tell me the blunt truth to know I am a really great person to be around. However as my symptoms worsen so does my self confidence and I feel this panic around people that I need to win their approval somehow. This is why I find going to the doctors so hard. I have had years of bad experiences being told I’m “just” depressed when actually the reason I’m crying during my consultation while trying to explain to the doctor I feel like my body is failing me is because I know that they aren’t going to take me seriously.
It took me a long time to realise that I might know my own body better than a doctor. It also took me wanting to never go back to see a doctor in my life again to realise that I deserved better treatment than I was receiving. This is why I’m so thankful and happy that I have the wonderful Doctor John. He might not always know what is wrong with me but he never makes me feel like I am some kind of hypochondriac who is “just dpressed”.
If I do end up with depression again, which I pray I dont, I will be more than happy to take antidepressants as the right ones do work. However until that day please GPs get your facts straight on anxiety and depression, they honestly do need to be treated differently and please take that from someone who has been through it.