Steve Myers participates in Support Groups and offers advice to others to overcome their mental health related problems. He volunteers with Delaware mental health organizations and recently opened a Facebook Page entitled “My Depression” to bring awareness to the public, share experiences with others experiencing depression, and provide advocacy information for better behavioral healthcare for everyone.
I realize that suffering from Depression is no reason to celebrate.
However, as a man that lived life to their late Forties without this illness, I often feel empathy for others and relieved for myself when attending a support group and seeing the many who have dealt with the debilitation and also the stigma of mental illness for most of their lives.
My life prior to fifty was filled with sports, jobs and my boys. As my age turned to fifty, I had two sinus surgeries, a plantar fasciotomy, Bell’s Palsy and then a knee replacement. Afterward, I hurt when active and it effected my job. I stopped playing.
All the while, I was unaware that my mind was also falling apart. I was making mistakes, forgetting simple tasks, even having difficulty following procedures and instructions.
I missed work often and for extended periods. I sought answers and received physical and mental testing with no determination that could satisfy my understanding. Even following Neuro-Psychological Testing for six hours and waiting weeks for the results, I simply did not comprehend the diagnosis.
Yes, I have Depression! And NO, I didn’t believe it to be true.
I was someone that seemed to breeze through the years, having believed that I was blessed to find most endeavors within reach, getting good grades, playing on championship sports teams, and finding work that met needs and provided enjoyment.
Suddenly, I can’t remember an Aunt who passed, who was having a baby, ages of the neighbor’s kids, and why I went to the garage or kitchen.
Here I sit, several years later, after losing a job I cared about, being put on disability (a blessing) and losing interest in most all of my passions; I find myself just coming to realizations about My Depression. No, it is NOT a choice!
I believe now that I have a physiological and biological disease brought on by outside trauma that effects mood, temper, memory, reasoning, feelings, interests and life.
I find that having great support and understanding from those closest is paramount to dealing with Ups and Downs. A Peer Support Group has also been essential to acceptance and empathy. Personally, medications are effective, but need monitoring and adjustment over time. And involvement in helping those with Depression, by writing about it, sharing personally, opening myself to everyone that listens brings me a sense of giving back and paying forward too.
I will continue to advocate to assist others with similar problems. I will bring Mental Health Issues to the forefront in a public way. I will volunteer with agencies and government to assist in any way that I can to bring some normalcy to us all, by appealing to improve state laws and policies.
I will Fight the Stigma. I will NOT Suffer in Silence. I will accept my Illness. I will work to not let Depression debilitate me further. My Depression will not win! I simply won’t allow it!