I had been in the digital marketing industry for more than six years now. I started as a content writer for an agency that created websites for different companies. After a couple of years, I applied to another agency to become a social media manager. A few years later, I felt like I had the necessary connections and knowledge to open my own digital marketing firm, and I did it.
Many people praised my decision to do so. Most of them said that it would mean an addition to the handful of lady bosses in the industry. After all, even though it was about marketing products and services, it was still a male-dominated career. Some folks admired my guts, considering I did not have formal training as a digital marketer. They were correct about that – I learned everything through experience. Others would even jokingly ask me, “How can I be like you, Andrea?”
I would smile in reply and talk about the importance of having a competitive team to back you up to all these. It was mostly true – I might have gotten nowhere if I hired people who did not know what I asked them to do. As for the last question, when it was only my husband and me, I would answer, “Try dealing with depression and using digital marketing to save your butt.”
Opening My Version Of Pandora’s Box
It was in middle school when my sleeping and eating patterns began to shift. My parents maintained that I should sleep at nine o’clock on school days so that I would look – and think – my best in the morning. I followed that rule like any obedient daughter would for a few months. However, the more rigid my lessons became, the harder I found it to fall asleep quickly. Because of that, I turned to reading my favorite book series – Harry Potter.
Whenever my parents would close my bedroom door, I would keep my eyes closed until I hear theirs close as well. Then, I would jump out of my bed to get a book from the series and read until three o’clock in the morning. I could sleep for three hours after that before Mom would wake me up to prepare for school.
I did that secret routine up to high school. By that time, I was already a fast reader to the extent that I could finish a 300+-page book in less than six hours every night. When I got slightly bored with the Harry Potter series, I moved on to the Twilight Saga, which is supposed to be a long read, too. My friends envied me for having such skill and not getting caught by my parents once.
When I went off to college, I agreed to take up Chemistry, even though I wanted to take up Communications. I excelled at sciences, and I honored my parents’ words that I could still go to writing workshops if I wanted to be a writer later. As expected, the more semesters I dealt with, the more challenging my classes became. In my third year, I already lost complete interest in Chemistry and asked my parents if I could shift courses, but they said no. “Finish Chemistry first, then we’ll talk about that,” Dad said firmly.
Being stuck in classes that I did not care for and resenting my parents for not listening to what I wanted me to do in life caused me to slip into depression. I lived in the dorms, so it was easy to skip classes or pretend I was in one when Mom or Dad called. I would still go to class sometimes, but that’s only to take exams. This new routine went on even to the next semester, though I didn’t go to classes at all. I also shut my friends/classmates out and didn’t answer calls from anyone.
How did I not end up killing myself, you might ask?
I was on the verge of doing that, frankly speaking. I would not sleep or eat for as long as I could. It’s not that I did not want to sleep or eat; it’s just that the voices inside my head were somewhat paralyzing. I would try to decipher them in the morning, and then I would eventually realize that the day passed me by already. The only way to lessen the noise was to write my problems in a notebook until they stopped.
After doing that for a couple of weeks, I found the courage to talk to my parents about everything. I expected them to disown me, but I was surprised when they both hugged and apologized to me for going through that on my own. I shed buckets of tears that day, too, since I felt a heavy weight lifted off my chest. Then, when they asked what I wanted to do, I said that I wanted to try writing for a living. As people said, the rest became history.
Talking About Depression
I still find it challenging to talk about depression in person, but I would love to use this chance to write about it instead.
What is the most reliable symptom of depression?
Among the most reliable symptoms of depression is hopelessness.
What are the four major causes of depression?
- It is in your genes.
- You have experienced some form of abuse.
- You are dealing with chronic physical illness.
- A loved one passed away.
What are the early warning signs in mental health?
- The dramatic or constant change in your sleeping, thinking, and eating patterns
- Lack of interest in activities or people you used to be unable to live without
- Significant performance slump
- Poor concentration or logic
- Getting hurt by everything
- Thinking that everyone is against you
- Lack of sense of reality
- Peculiar behavior
What are the signs of poor mental health?
- Excessive worrying
- Poor decision-making
- Easily overwhelmed
- Easily distracted
- Increased sensitivity
What are the five signs of mental illness?
- You get paranoid and worry too much about everything.
- You feel sad or irritated for an extended period.
- Your mood hits the extremes often.
- You withdraw from your friends, family, and society.
- Your sleeping and eating patterns have been erratic.
What are the four types of depression?
- Bipolar disorder
- Major depression
- Persistent depressive disorder (PDD)
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
What is the biggest cause of depression?
Abuse is the primary cause of depression.
Does depression count as a disability?
Yes, depression counts as a psychiatric disability.
What are the seven types of mental disorders?
- Anxiety disorders
- Eating disorders
- Mood disorders
- Personality disorders
- Psychotic disorders
- Post-traumatic disorders
What’s a mental breakdown?
A mental breakdown is a term that people use to describe when a person succumbs to emotional or psychological stress.
How do I know if I’m bipolar?
Bipolar disorder symptoms are divided between mania and depression.
- You feel “high” for hours or days, even if you have not taken substances.
- You do not feel the need to sleep at all.
- You talk as quickly as your mind races.
- You want to act on every idea that comes to mind.
- You cannot focus on a specific activity.
- You get too confident.
- You welcome risky – borderline life-threatening – activities.
- You feel sad, hopeless, and discouraged for a long time.
- You refuse to meet your loved ones.
- You no longer enjoy your favorite activities.
- You either overeat or don’t eat at all.
- You always feel exhausted.
- You cannot recall or decide on anything.
- Your mind gets preoccupied with suicidal thoughts.
What is Stage 4 mental illness?
Reaching Stage 4 of any mental illness entails dealing with severe symptoms that most likely affect your functioning and relationships.
Is overreacting a mental illness?
No, overreacting is technically not a mental illness but a symptom of one – particularly bipolar disorder.
What is poor mental health?
Poor mental health is characterized by an individual’s inability to process situations without feeling tired, angry, sad, unhappy, or stressed.
The takeaway from this blog is that depression is supposed to be seen as a life challenge, not the end of everything. If I managed to surpass it and find success in life, anyone could do it. The key is to be honest about your mental health to the people you love.