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Column: Suffering from a mental illness? You're not alone

Tuesday , May 08, 2018 - 5:00 AM

Depression doesn’t care.

Not about you, or your loved ones. It doesn’t care about your job, your children or your to-do list.

That’s something I heard again and again from more than a dozen individuals who shared their stories of mental illness for our “1 in 5” series. It’s also something I’ve experienced firsthand.

I know I am fortunate. I grew up in a loving, supportive household with parents who listened when I finally worked up enough courage to tell them that I wasn’t OK. I am a white, female military veteran in good physical health with a full-time job and all the privileges that come with it. I have never been without health insurance.

If it hadn’t been for all the emotional and financial support I have enjoyed, I wouldn’t be here.

I was diagnosed with depression in my mid-20s. Moments of unexplained and unwanted feelings of numbness, guilt and sadness that started in my childhood suddenly made sense. But that didn’t prevent the shame I felt.

Depression lies. My darkest moments came in my last year of college.

I tried different medications and then threw them away, convincing myself I was just weak and making excuses. My grades started to drop and I felt worthless. Depression told me I was a burden. It told me harming myself would help, and then it made me ashamed of it.

The only thought louder than the depression suggesting I shouldn’t be here was what taking my own life would do to my family. So I stayed. I educated myself on my disease and I continued to seek help until I found what worked.

Mental illness is not a weakness. It is not something to be ashamed of. It is a voice that lies and tells you that you are alone.

You are not alone.

Millions of adults in the U.S. live with a mental illness. There are some resources available for the less fortunate, but there needs to be more — more efforts to reach out to minority communities in Utah.

More programs to close the gap in services for the mentally ill.

More efforts by state legislators to curb the prevalence of suicide.

More funding for mental health services.

And more people who understand they are not alone.

Contact visuals journalist Sarah Welliver at 801-625-4240 or swelliver@standard.net. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @welliverse.


 NEED HELP? 

Davis Behavioral Health 24-Hour Crisis Response Line, 801-773-7060

National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 1-800-273-8255

National Crisis Text Line: text HOME to 741741 for free, 24/7 crisis support

Weber Human Services 801-625-3700

National Alliance on Mental Illness Utah, 801-323-9900

Family Counseling Service of Northern Utah, 801-399-1600

Intermountain McKay-Dee Hospital Behavioral Health, 801-387-5600

Davis Hospital: Behavioral Health Unit and Emergency Room, 801-807-1000

Lakeview Hospital: Behavioral Health Unit and Emergency Room, 801-299-2200

Live Hannah’s Hope: Empowering Youth. 


 

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