Depression and Psychosis

According to the World Health Organization, 300 million people worldwide suffer from a depressive disorder, such as Major Depressive Disorder, Seasonal Affective Disorder, and the depressive state of Bipolar Disorder. It’s a crippling mental illness that is one of the leading causes of disability.

It wasn’t really a surprise to find out I had depression. I’d had symptoms since I was 10 years old, as I hopelessly cried myself to sleep for a reason I couldn’t think of. Anxiety accompanied the depression, as it does with many people. It also wasn’t a surprise to find out it was specifically Major Depressive Disorder. I had seven out of nine symptoms in the diagnostic criteria, and it was only a matter of time before someone declared it.

What was perhaps more of a surprise was to find the accompanying words next to my discharge diagnosis from my third stay in a psychiatric ward:

With possible psychotic features.

Everyone’s been suspecting for years that I have some form of a psychotic disorder. The hallucinations began when I was 12 years old. They were scary, intrusive, and most importantly, never left me alone. They would stick with me a good majority of the day… A tall shady man followed me to school, and voices in my head made a commentary of my daily actions. I was terrified and acted out in ways that made me seem like I had a behavioural problem. I was dissociating from my episodes, running away and hurting myself in an attempt to get it all to stop. I tried overdosing twice, both times obviously failing. I had no idea what was going on.

Psychiatrists, doctors, and psychologists would make guesses like severe anxiety, Dissociative Disorder, Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective, or even Borderline Personality Disorder. All avenues were explored: CT scans, countless blood tests, EEG monitoring, hormone imbalances, nutrient deficiencies, spiritual possession. Nothing came up with a clear answer.

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My 16th birthday was mostly spent sleeping. I had an episode the night before which resulted in me being sedated, twice. I was thinking, Why me? Why must I be deprived of a normal teenage life? Then I realize that everyone has their own struggles. I’m not the only one with a problem here, and there are plenty of people with mental health, physical health, financial and emotional struggles. This is just the thing I have to deal with, the battle I must conquer. And I know it’s possible! I’ve stayed alive so far, and so have other people.

Depression is a strange disorder that no one still fully understands. It can lead to catatonia, emerge right after childbirth (postpartum depression), even affect children as young as three years old. It’s so common, yet still not talked about enough. It’s made me run onto highways, travel six hours for help, and led to my hospitalization three times in four months.

It’s also not easily fixed. Over 30 antidepressants exist, and treatment can range from talk therapy to electroshock therapy. I’ve tried seven different medications so far, and I currently rely on a combination of clomipramine, a tricyclic antidepressant, risperidone, an antipsychotic, and diazepam and temazepam, benzodiazepines, as needed. I’ve been in therapy for five years, and it’s still not over.
But one thing I know is that it is beatable. It doesn’t matter if you’ve suffered four months or 40 years. Depression is not a life sentence. Resources and information grow every day. We don’t have to be slaves to our minds. You just have to keep on going, and never give up. You have to fight your battles.

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Brianna Schulte is from Australia. She shares her journey with Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, psychosis NOS, And Dissociative Disorder on Instagram, helping others as she can.

 


33 thoughts on “Depression and Psychosis

  1. Depression is such a complex topic, obviously! I know I suffered from it as a teenager and have it “under control” as I grew older and made particular lifestyle changes. I know I can’t live in one place for long and if I feel “stuck” in any part of my life, depressive symptoms can begin to emerge very quickly.

    Best,
    Rebecca

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  2. I am bipolar and I can readily empathize with anyone with these similar issues. I’m 61 years old now, it’s been about 30 years since my most recent diagnosis, but I was in therapy and told I had depression since at least 12. So I’ll say it’s been a bloody nightmare trying to hold on for so long. But keep it up. There have been some wonderful times between the pain. I believe I’ve even made a positive influence in some people ‘s lives for a number of reasons. Just need to jackhammer yourselves through those rocks.

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  3. Depression is really a important discussion in this era. Many of us suffer from this and it happen mostly in teenagers. I really thank god I never experienced this one. Still your blog is great and nicely written.
    Thanks for your blog.

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  4. Brianna, you are so brave for sharing your struggles with depression and voices, well done for raising awareness of how mental health issues can affect our quality of life. I have severe anxiety and depression but it is far better now than it was before when I didn’t even know why I was sad all the time, now I am much better . Like you said the struggle is not over but it does get better x

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It sounds like you really struggled quite a bit but I am glad you are continuing to work through these issues. Our entire country (me here in the USA) has a real problem with lack of access for mental health support. I wish more people understood how devastating it could be.

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  6. I have friends who suffer from depression. The lack of society’s understanding is appalling. I wish everyone could get the treatment they need.
    I admire your attitude of not letting depression’s lies overtake your life.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank-you for being brave with your words. I baffles me why our society doesn’t treat mental illness the same way it does a broken arm. The good new is that treatments are getting more and more advanced every day. Plus .. it’s people like you who are raising awareness .. and that can never be wrong! Keep going .. you’re doing great!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am sorry to hear that you had to go through such tough times as child. While I was perfectly alright during most of my child hood, depression started setting in at an age of 25 when nothing seem to go my way either in job life or love life.
    I did not took medications or anything too seriously. My father is a bog advocate of meditation and I did turn to that. While I am still not 100% cured, but i don’t get the depression pangs untill and unless something drastic happens.and then too, meditating helps me get out of it.
    If you havnt tried it yet, then as an experiment try it. you might just get cured without medications.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I was actually thinking about depressin and if I am depressed on my way into the office this morning. It is something that is very much here in this 21st century and alot more people are experienceing it. I think the pressure of society, family and ever increasing bills are a bit of a trigure.

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    1. I agree. The stress society puts on us is incredible. Especially here in America where everyone is a workaholic and frowns on anyone who wants or needs to rest. Be sure to call your doctor if you are feeling depressed. I hope you feel better ❤

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