Do we celebrate depression diagnosis anniversaries?
I got my official diagnosis of severe postnatal depression, anxiety and PTSD back on September 2nd 2009, it was perhaps the shittiest birthday present I’ve ever received.
It’s also one I’m extremely grateful for. The overwhelming urge to pretend that all was okay was extremely powerful, ignorance is bliss as they say, especially when it comes to acknowledging your own mental health issues and perceived weaknesses.
I struggled for months to accept that something was wrong. Depression was something that happened to others, the elusive “them”. I may have had a high risk pregnancy, the twins and I may have danced with death during their birth and Ethan may have been at deaths door for longer than I care to admit….but really, what did I have to be depressed about? Accepting that these events had, and continue to have, a profound impact on my life and mental state was hard to do.
The stigma that surrounds any perceived weakness, especially in relation to mental health can be swift and brutal. Judgements are quick and often unfounded, but understandable considering the lack of transparency that surrounds the subject.
I’ve gone from being ashamed of my labels and diagnosis, to really not giving a tinkers toss to what people may think of them. I now think of all I have overcome in these 7 years, how “easy” it could have been to end it all. But here I am, the night before my birthday and feeling happier and more positive than I have in years.
At the time my diagnosis seemed like the worst, most shameful thing imaginable, now I see it as just the beginning of a new chapter in my life, one I’m finally learning to live with.