Saturday, August 16, 2014

Depression and Anxiety are not a Choice.

There has been a lot of talk going around the internet surrounding the recent death of Robin Williams. While I am greatly saddened, I hope we can use his tragedy to spread light on the fact that many people are quick to deny-

 Mental illness is real.

Depression is real.

Anxiety is real.

And it can kill.

Mental illness is devastating to those who suffer from it and those around them. I know this because I am a sufferer of depression and anxiety. In my short 30 years of life, I have suffered from depression, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and panic disorder. For lack of better words, it sucks.

It sucks because a lot of people think you should just choose not to be depressed anymore. People don't judge diabetics for taking insulin, but they will judge people with mental illness for taking medication.

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If you are one of those people who thinks that enough healthy eating, sleeping, exercise, and prayer will pull you out of the pit of depression, I am happy for you. I am glad that worked for you. But, it doesn't work for everyone.

Depression is more than feeling blue. It is feeling like this:  Anne Voskamp.
It is the feeling of no feelings. I liken it to ring in one of those rooms Star Wars style where the walls are closing in on you and crushing you.

OCD is more than wanting a neat room or being clean. It is vomiting after you eat because you are sure your food has been poisoned. It driving back to make sure you didn't run anyone over every time you hit a bump. It is checking your baby's pulse every 10 minutes because you are sure he died of SIDS. It is removing all the knives from your house in so no one gets hurt. I say that because that was me.

What people need suffering from mental illness is not to be torn down, to be ridiculed. We need God. We need your compassion, caring and prayers. Sometimes we need medication too.

My name is Katie, and I have suffered from anxiety and most recently post partum depression. I take medication and I am not ashamed.

Because at the end of the day, it is NOT a choice. No one would choose to feel like this.

If you ever need someone to talk to, you can comment and I will email you. I will listen, and pray for you. Whatever you need. You are not alone!



  1. Hi Katie. Wonderful post and very timely in light of recent events. You so right...depression is NOT a choice. Which is why I've never liked the saying "happiness is a choice".

    1. Hi! Thanks for stopping by. I really liked you post on this issue as well.
      I think that in some cases, people can change their point of view, but then that is not depression. We all feel sad. That does not beget depression, you know?

  2. Thank you Katie - for your honesty. I'm suffering from depression, this week more than others in the past month, as I attempted to scale down my dose and suffered irritability, uncontrolled and unexplained crying, anger and maniac activity, tiredness, and lethagy. And I requested/discussed dosage changing due to a year without libido or any physical romantic sensations. It's such a double edged sword, and I can't just 'be happy' - certainly not truly with those close to me, even if can put on the face for people at work.

    Please pray for me, as I pray for you, and for me.

    1. I am SO SORRY you are suffering. I pray that you feel better soon.

  3. Katie, very well put. I decided against posting anything on the death of Robin Williams because I thought it had saturated the media and blogs enough, but you did a wonderful job of highlighting a real problem we face that was brought to light by his death.

    I began to suffer anxiety attacks after the birth of my first child. I've had brief periods when I could control it and even be free of it but not for long. It took years but at age 45 I had to finally give in and accept I needed help. It was hard because I faced a lot of the same criticism. People thought I should be able to control it on my own and I have to admit I felt that way myself often, but the freedom I now have to actually live life has been a great relief.

    I hope you are recovering well from the postpartum you experienced.

    1. Anxiety attacks are the worst. I have had them since I was 17 (not sure if it coincides that 9/11 was that year?) It is a shame that we wait so long to get help- because of the shame? My mom took me to a therapist and she told my mom I was just a spoiled brat!! I had really bad postpartum anxiety with my first child and I waited a long time to get help- this time I was flagged at the hospital as a "ppd high risk" because they knew I was on medication previously for depression/anxiety- and a nurse came and talked to me about how I was feeling and I am so glad she did- I might not have gotten help for my ppd so fast this time around.
      I am glad you are getting help and relief.