My Life With Depression

Picture of Callie Gerber right after her depression diagnosis.

About two and a half years ago, I realized that I always felt tired. I could have slept for 12 hours and I would still barely be able to function throughout the day. My brain would get foggy and everyday tasks felt like big mountains to climb.

I googled my symptoms, and one suggestion Google had for me was to exercise. So that’s what I did. I exercised every single day, no rest days, possibly even multiple workouts in a day. It was overexercising to say the least, but the endorphins gave me the short energy boosts I had been craving.

After a couple weeks, the tiredness overruled the energy from the endorphins and I just became tired again. I had heard someone discussing their depression and how exhausted they were because of it, and it slowly began to dawn on me that I may have depression. I was in denial about it though, because there are many negative stereotypes about those with depression (such as someone trying to get attention) and I didn’t want to be associated with the stereotypes. However, it was becoming hard to function, and I realized I needed to go see my doctor.

I told my doctor that I was struggling with staying interested in things I used to love, struggling with sleep, struggling to stay focused (I couldn’t stay sitting for a 60-minute class period); that I was having headaches, a super tense body, and various anxiety symptoms. My doctor diagnosed me with depression and anxiety, prescribed me with an antidepressant, and suggested I see a therapist.

I began to take the medication and things began to go south after about two weeks. You see, sometimes the first antidepressant you try doesn’t work. In my case, the first antidepressant I tried definitely did not work. I began to have intense sugar cravings where I was just trying to get as much sugar as I could into my mouth. Along with that, simple daily tasks became nearly impossible. There was a day where I wasn’t able to get out of bed. My body would not move. On another day, my parents encouraged me to take a shower. I only made it about ¾ of the way to my shower (which isn’t that far) before falling onto the ground because walking that far was too much for me to mentally handle.

My doctor switched me over to another antidepressant and this one worked so much better. It took a couple of weeks to kick in though. In those couple of weeks, I was able to function, but not well. I kept on faking this really big smile acting like everything was fine when it wasn’t. After a couple of weeks, my brain chemicals began to even out and I felt more like my normal self.

I’m not magically cured from my depression because I take an antidepressant. I still have days when completing my regular tasks is a struggle. I have days where my depression tries to overpower me, and sometimes, it’s successful. I’m nowhere near cured from depression, and may never be. It’s something that I’ve just learned to manage.

My biggest fear in life is my depression getting significantly worse, like how it was when the antidepressant wasn’t working for me. Any time I get any sort of tired, I get anxious that my depression is coming back and go into panic mode. I’ve come to the realization that it is sometimes normal to feel tired and that it doesn’t mean my depression is going to all of a sudden come back.

After having been diagnosed with depression for two years, I wish I could get people to understand what it feels like to be depressed. So many people (including myself before my diagnosis) think that it’s just excessive sadness, but it’s not really that at all. It’s physically not being able to get out of bed, it’s being exhausted from drinking some water, it’s not caring about the things you love. Depression affects not just your mental health, but also your physical health. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to tackle.

If you feel like you may have depression, I highly recommend seeing your doctor. I was scared to speak up about my mental health at first, but I’m now so thankful that I did. If you need someone to talk to, consider going to Bellevue College’s Counseling Center. If you’d like to schedule an appointment to speak with a counselor, visit the Counseling Center’s website.