Let’s be honest. I never thought I’d have the ovaries to write a post like this. Here I am just airing out all my personal laundry for the world to see. But you know what? It’s important. It’s so important to me that I allow myself to be vulnerable and share these usually kept secret things. Because we are all going through something in some shape or form. And we all could use a post saying that we aren’t alone. My hope is that when I truly need it, I’ll find a post like this one to help me through a tough time. So I hope this post can do that for you too.
I’ve talked a bit about my anxiety journey in videos before, but I haven’t really unpacked the baggage that is my depression. Mostly because it took me a while to realize that’s what I was. Depressed. I thought I couldn’t possibly be. There’s nothing “wrong” in my life. I’m in a happy marriage, have family and friends who love me, and have a rewarding job. And yet despite all the surface things, I still felt like shit. I slept a lot. I stopped caring about work. I didn’t have the drive or interest to hang out with people. I just wanted to curl up in a ball and just…NOT. Yet despite all the signs, I couldn’t possibly believe that I, Kayla Benda, was in fact, depressed.
I chalked most of my feelings up as symptoms of my anxiety. And sure some of them might have been, but most of them weren’t. During this time I started taking medication for my anxiety when I started to feel a panic attack coming on. Still in denial about my depression, I went to a doctor’s appointment to discuss how the anxiety medication and I were getting on. As I waited for the doctor, a nurse handed me a survey to fill out. On a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most days, how often do you feel hopeless? How frequently do you have trouble staying focused? How often do you feel worry that things will never get better?
Before I knew what was happening, I was in tears. This form literally described me to a tee and the flood gates opened. My doctor consoled me and suggested depression medication to see if that could curb some of these feelings. I left with a prescription I didn’t expect to receive that day.
I started taking depression medication back in October and kept it between my husband and myself for months, not comfortable sharing with even my close knit family out of embarrassment. I felt like a failure for needing help to “feel better.” But as the medication began to really kick in over the next few months and regulate the chemical levels in my brain, it became incredibly obvious how much I truly needed some help.
So here I am almost eight months later and feeling like myself again. Now I know the medication route is not for everyone, but it’s definitely for me. I’m hopefully that one day I may be able to ween off of the prescription, but in the meantime, I’m completely happy with the assistance. I’m also more than aware that you can’t be “cured” of depression. It’s something I’m sure I’ll be living with and navigating my entire life. But there’s comfort in knowing that there is a way to feel better. Whether it’s therapy, medication, or a nice long hiatus to Sweden, there are things out there to help.