For anyone who's been following along, New-Medicine-Number-3 worked beautifully. After taking it just one week, I walked into my doctor's office and said, "I don't want to kill myself today." What a breakthrough!
Anyway, I recently saw a friend who had fought cancer. She had lost her hair, and had on a cool head scarf. She talked with a balding male friend who asked her how she was. She said she was fine, and joked that she didn't have any more hair than he did.
I thought, wow, what a great attitude. What a strong woman. She cheated death and can laugh about it.
It took me a few days, but I realized that I, too, had cheated death! And that I can have a relapse at any time, just like a cancer survivor can. It's just that my disease isn't really considered a disease by most people. It's looked at as more of a character defect.
And I am so dismayed with myself, because I didn't realize right away that I had given cancer survival more significance than surviving Major Depression. If I gave cancer more significance, even though I have been an outspoken advocate for the mentally ill and against stigma, then how can I expect other people to take mental illnesses seriously?
The truth is that Major Depression, for me, is a life-threatening illness. In fact, I have been fighting this disease for 48 years. That's a long time to fight; I really need to give myself credit for being a strong woman, too. I came very close to killing myself several times during my last episode. Yes, I promised someone that I wouldn't do that, but I almost gave in anyway, just to stop the pain.
I survived six months of absolute misery. I wish everyone could have that feeling just once, so they could understand what it's like and be less judgmental..
I cheated death, alright, but I can't quite laugh about it. Not until other people stop laughing at it.