My first psychiatrist’s appointment was when I was about 21 or 22. It had been a long time coming. By my record I have been dealing with depression and anxiety since I was about 7 years of age. The older I became, the worse my mental health issues got. But I put my depression down to a wide variety of other sources such as being bullied at school, feeling that I was an outcast in my own family, my feelings about my biological father abandoning me, being fat, being in an unhappy relationship which then became an unhappy marriage, my mother dying when I was in my late teens, being attacked by Satan and not having a close enough relationship with God. I figured I had plenty of reasons to feel like crap and at that stage I knew very little about mental illness. When the topic of my low mood came up I was told by those I surrounded myself with to ‘pray harder’. Yeah, my church wasn’t any great help at that point*.
Breaking point came when I was speaking to my aunt on the phone and she told me about some of the things my cousin had been doing: my ‘crazy’ cousin. The cousin I had always been terrified of because I never knew how she was going to act or what she was going to say. She was seriously unstable and (rightly or wrongly) she scared me. I became increasingly uncomfortable as my aunt related my cousin’s behaviours to me as they sounded awfully like things I had either done, or had considered doing. Without saying anything to my auntie about my own issues, I made an appointment to see my GP about what was happening my own head.
* This is not a religious blog. I haven’t been part of the church for 15 years and I haven’t identified as a Christian since then. If church is your thing, that’s cool and you are welcome here as long as you don’t preach at me.