(kind of long, important parts in bold and underlined. feel free to skim! )
Hey there everyone! I'm a guy in my late 20's who is struggling with his mental health. I was diagnosed with depression when I was 12 or 13 (a short while after my father left our household) and ADHD a couple years later. I stopped taking my ADHD medication after a while. Though it's still a challenge to deal with, I think I'm slowly growing out of my ADHD (as I've heard is possible) or at least improving my coping skills. However, anyone who knows me can see that I still have a pretty extreme case and I have, at times, considered getting back on my medication.
My depression diagnosis is what I want to primarily focus on, because the way it was handled has somewhat affected the (poor) way I handle mental heath. When I was diagnosed with depression, I was prescribed Zoloft and I believe Trazadone. I had a very traditional mother from a foreign country, where mental illness is greatly stigmatized. I think I was prescribed 25 mg per day (or whatever the daily dose usually is). Based on an unfortunately primitive look at mental health, my mom—a bit disoriented at being abandoned in America with a child and very little cultural integration—did what she thought was best: she split my medication into smaller doses than prescribed and eventually hid my medication and refused to give it to me. She gave me about 1/4 of my prescribed dose a few random times a week instead of an entire tablet. She did this for several months and then just completely stopped giving me my medication when I asked. I never went to the pharmacy again and I don't think she did either... in her mind, the problem had been solved because I simply quit asking for the medication.
Needless to say, I didn't really show any drastic improvements... I did start drinking a little while later at age 14, however, which not only relieved my depression (temporarily of course) but gave me a great deal of social approval with a lot of the kids in my city. So began two extremely negative coping mechanisms for my depression: substance abuse and an obsession with my social life (with the wrong people).
I don't blame my mom, although what she did was very irresponsible, her situation was very extreme and she herself was undergoing more anxiety and culture shock than I could possibly fathom. Unfortunately, the way she handled my diagnosis had two results: 1) it led me to seek relief from my depression in destructive ways and 2) it gave me the impression that having a mental disorder was something to be ashamed of and that seeking treatment was a sign of weakness. But now, in adulthood, although I've developed some better coping mechanisms and dropped some of the worse ones, the overall toll my lack of treatment has taken is visibly hurting my condition, and my behavioral and thought patterns have gotten pretty worrisome.
I am good-hearted and strong-willed in a lot of ways, but I have sustained a lot of emotional abuse from family members and peers throughout the years and have never had a truly stable living situation. Both mental and physical health were neglected in my childhood and I have continued to neglect them somewhat in my adulthood. I have a lot of disturbing and unwanted thoughts, constant paranoias and bizarre delusions, extreme mood swings including crippling sadness/anger, difficulty focusing, high levels of anxiety and dread,irrational distrust of others, occasionally extreme hostility towards others (mostly internal, I've never laid hands on anyone, though I have been emotionally abusive towards friends, lovers, and family in the past), extreme difficulty sleeping, and night terrors 2-3 times a week (though these have subsided lately for some reason). Although I am just a few years shy of 30 and have a fairly high IQ and a somewhat mature worldview, I feel like I have the coping skills of a child or a teenager at best. Lately, with certain stresses in my life—death of a beloved friend, full-time schooling, lack of financial stability—I am afraid that I have regressed even further into a childlike. I need help and this is the first time I've been willing to admit and accept that and go through with seeking it.
I will go into more specifics in the appropriate forums. With the support of my girlfriend—who is not the 1st to suggest there may be more going on than depression and ADHD—I finally called the mental health hotline. I'm going to talk to a counselor for a while and then hopefully get on track to see a psychiatrist. While I'm looking forward to the potential of healing, I am not looking forward to the process and am also very scared of being treated poorly or being disappointed at the results or lack thereof of my search for help (my insurance is not very good). I'm also afraid of the consequences of being diagnosed with certain disorders, since I want to live independently and successfully for the rest of my life. My hopes are that talking to the people on this board can alleviate some of my worries and also gain some insight on the best way to go about getting help.
Also, I'm extremely interested in psychology beyond my own personal problems! My understanding is 95% armchair and 5% legitimate, but it's still one of my favorite subjects of all time. On top of getting a little help and advice about my situation, I'm also hoping to join in on the discussion of psychology as a whole and increase my familiarity with the field of study and maybe just have some fun talking to people. So hey everyone!
tl;dr: I'm finally embarking upon a long-overdue journey to psychologically heal myself, but I'm nervous about the process and being logged into the "system" as having this or that mental disorder. I have been diagnosed with depression and ADHD and both have remained largely untreated throughout the years. Lately, I've been suffering a great deal of emotional turmoil and believe I may have more mental issues that I've been diagnosed with. The most terrible part about having mental illness and having nobody to support or advise you to get treatment is that because you are mentally ill, thinking clearly and planning and making progress is exceptionally difficult, so the process of healing can be delayed and the state of suffering prolonged for so long, making the situation worse and worse and, as a result, making it even more difficult to get help, all while your suffering increases . So that's where I'm at; I'm hoping to improve my situation, because I really do love life—in spite of how impossible it feels for me a lot of the time— and want to improve its quality..