My name is Dominique. I am a believer in Jesus, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, wearer of many more illustrious hats and I have major depressive disorder. Growing up in a military family, army to be exact, we travelled all over the world. From a tender age of two until I was 15 years of age, all I ever knew was the european way (bitte and grazie for an amazing time). Moving back home to the land of my native tongue was a culture shock, but nothing that really rocked my world to the point of utter agony. In fact, looking back over my life, I think I coped very well with what stress I did encounter.
Yes, I have depression that runs in my family that I was unaware of until later in my life, but there was no reason for me to know, so I thought, because I never noticed it or felt any negative effects on my childhood or happiness from living in close proximity to someone with a mental illness. I’ve had a great life, of which I am thankful to God for giving me parents to love me and give me the world, literally. I’ve always noticed that I get a little anxious around a lot of people in one area or may not have the most positive outlook on everything all the time, but I always balanced the tightrope between happiness and sadness very well; I always recovered swiftly and never knew what it was like to be smothered by second by second sadness. Little did I know, the birth of my first daughter, Sydney, would trigger a cascade of neurological events that have since changed my life forever.
I have been hospitalized twice and currently I am in the longest relapse episode of my life, following the birth of my second daughter, Sage; going on 12 months in August, 2016. Without support from my God, my husband, family, friends, cognitive behavioral therapy, and a renowned medical team, I don’t know how long I would have been and still be able to battle this beast. As a registered nurse with career goals and aspirations in life, I have pushed through this and have accomplished so much by never frowning, always smiling, but suffering in silence and in shame; sheer embarrassment and worry about what people would think about me.
I have finally accepted that this illness is ever present, maybe nonmoving and I somehow have found this to give me a glimpse of light through all of the clouds of sadness. This is my account, in real time, of how I am fighting in this journey. Depression may be familial and prescriptions may have failed to work, but I refuse to let this illness stop me from living my LIFE; getting my PhD, continuing to be a great professor, wife, mother, friend, and a blessing to others. I want to break the stigma of living with a mental illness and help hold up the arms of those who are in the fight with me, those supporting those in the fight, and educating those that may not understand what it is like to battle with a mental illness everyday of your life.
I’m fighting depression day by day and blog by blog. Let’s stand together for mental health awareness.
Thank you for riding this wave with me.
*Disclosure: All content on A Mental Life blog, should not be copied or published without explicit permission from me. Feel free to contact me about collaborations.