My Battle with Depression

The latest reported suicide death is that of Anthony Bourdain. Anthony was an American celebrity chef, author, travel documentarian, and television personality who starred in programs that focused on culture, cuisine, and the human condition. His death came as a shock to me. I just couldn’t make sense of it; then, it hit me……Depression!

At some point in your life, you will experience disappointment or sadness. If your moments of sadness or disappointment last a long time or interfere with your ability to function, you may be suffering from depression. Depression affects your mood, mind, body, and behavior. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly 15 million Americans experience depression each year and two-thirds don’t get the help they need.

In 2003, I went through a traumatic experience that could have caused my death. As the months went by, I began to realize there was something terribly wrong. There were times when driving became very difficult. I had lost all interests in activities such as playing golf, bowling, dancing and exercising. Many times I would go to bed on Saturday afternoon and wouldn’t get out of bed until Monday morning, only because I had to go to work. Although I knew something was wrong, I also knew and felt no one would understand. So I did the only thing I could think of and that was to pretend that all was well.

I went to see my doctor several times, but each time, I was told there was nothing wrong. My doctor had run several tests and the tests all came back normal. I wanted to scream because there was something wrong and I knew it! I was so disappointed and hated what was happening to me and what’s really sad and scary, I knew I wasn’t going crazy or was I? My condition began to get worst. I was finding it difficult to get out of bed and had no appetite. I soon began to hide from my family and friends because I didn’t know how to pretend and fake it any longer.

One day while lying in bed, I received a phone call from my doctor. She told me that she finally found out what was wrong and needed me to come to her office immediately.  Once I arrived, I was greeted by my doctor but the look on her face told me I was, indeed, in trouble.

She explained to me that I was suffering from severe depression. I remember that day just like it was yesterday. I recall smiling with a confused look because I knew that I wasn’t depressed. Then, I became furious and told her this was a waste of my time and I stomped out of her office with tears rolling uncontrollably down my face. As I drove home, the thoughts of suicide confiscated my mind and it seemed like the only way out of my misery.

It wasn’t until I called my sister, who convinced me to go back to the doctor.  When I returned to the doctor, I apologized and from that point I was under the care of a psychiatrist and a therapist for an entire year. It was a difficult journey but my life had been saved.

As someone who has experienced such a traumatic experience, I would like to say to those of you who are reading this blog to please be careful how you treat people and stay in contact with friends and family. You never know what a person has been through. Just think, Anthony Bourdain, as well as others, appeared to have it all but at the end of the day who knew this would happen?

Rest in Peace ~Anthony Bourdain and others.

I welcome your questions and comments!

From my heart,

Brenda T. Bradley, PhD