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Amberleah’s Story

“Your mind is special, and your illness can help you have empathy for others and lift those in darkness.”

Share your stigma experience.

I have had depression since early childhood. Often when I tell people, you can see their entire countenance change. I have struggled with anxiety, eating disorders, I was misdiagnosed for 7 years as Bipolar 2, and I have treatment resistant depression. I had my suicide planned out in July 2019 and my husband found me, pills in hand, and got me checked in to a mental health facility. When I was released 2 weeks later, I refused to stay quiet, and as I publicly (in my little network) talked about it, I had a lot of people treat me differently and walk out of my life. Luckily, none of my family members have changed their treatment of me and I think that my speaking out (just on my small social media accounts) has helped people understand that sometimes depression is a lifelong illness, it is not a temporary “fixable” problem.

I fight intrusive thoughts daily, sometimes hourly. ECT helped me but only temporarily and after 3 series and over 80 treatments, being basically a zombie for 21 months, I tried TMS which also helped a little, but insurance won’t cover maintenance treatments so I had to stop. I continue to go to therapy and speak out about my experiences.

My husband likes to tell me that my brain is trying to pull me down because my potential is so great. (it makes more sense the way he says it, LOL).

How did you overcome this experience?

Depression sucks. But I have to find the positive. I tearfully tell my kids how blessed we all are to have this understanding of an illness because of our own close call. 2 of my kids have shared parts of their experience with my depression and helped their friends get much needed help.

I stay in therapy and talk to those that I know I can rely on for support. Most of all, I am not quiet about all I’ve been through. Sharing helps lift me and others.

Help others by sharing a brief, positive message.

People often say “this, too, shall pass” but I don’t think that’s always the case with depression. It isn’t going to pass, for most it is lifelong; but it a blessing. Your mind is special, and your illness can help you have empathy for others and lift those in darkness.

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