The first time it happened I was thirteen. The second time, I was twenty. But in between those times I always felt it lurking, just beneath the surface. That is why I don’t think that things happening are the cause of it, only the catalysts. It is my monster. My disease. My depression. And I still live with it everyday.
The time it happened as a twenty-year-old in a relatively new but serious relationship, I was diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety. A number of things pointed to the fact that I needed to see a doctor. I didn’t remember when it had started, but I had a constant knot in my stomach. Everything made me nervous. Every situation. I distinctly remember one day sitting at work feeling nervous about my job- but I was the only one scheduled to work in the lab that day. I had absolutely no rational reason to be nervous about being there. I would pick fights with Dean. I would cry, throw temper tantrums, spend days in bed with my door shut just sleeping. Hoping that when I woke up I would feel differently. Like a tummy ache or a fever I thought sleep could heal me. I still believe in the rejuvenating power of sleep but looking back on it I needed much more.
The catalyst that time was the death of
All this happened while my romantic relationship with Dean was less than a year old. You see, we had been friends for almost two years when we started dating. He knew that the sobbing, snotting, screaming mess of a girl wasn’t the Natalie he knew. He stuck by me even though he was young and could have moved on and found someone easier to deal with. He had much more confidence in me than I had in myself. When the world seemed to be too much for me, he would whisk me out of it to a small town or a resort for a getaway weekend. Those are still some of my best memories.
Finally I got help, started taking medications and going to therapy again regularly. I learned to recognize my moods, their catalysts (and thus what to steer clear of), and how to deal with them. I learned to supplement my chemical treatment with changes in behavior. My doctor and I discovered through my long course of recovery that besides social factors, I was affected by my environment and suffered from substantial seasonal affected disorder as well. And so it seemed that
In large part,