Depression: “I've lost everything with my depression!”
Published 15 Sep 2021 • By Candice Salomé
Soso93, a member of Carenity France, is living with severe depression. After two years of harassment and humiliation at work, she was put on sick leave. Today, she no longer works and has become completely isolated. She shares her experience with us on Carenity.
Discover her story below!
Hello Soso93, thank you for agreeing to share your story with us on Carenity.
First of all, could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a single mother of two children (pre-teens). I live in the Paris area where I've lived since I was a girl. I come from a family of six children, my parents are from North Africa. I am the second to last in the family.
I have worked since I was very young, balancing my studies and work.
I had a rather strict upbringing. Being a girl, I wasn't really allowed to go out as I pleased. With our faith growing up, well, that's a bit how it was...
I joined the French National Police when I was in my twenties. It was a true vocation, and I had the pride of wearing my country's colours each day. I worked in some rough neighbourhoods and areas. I saw the suffering and distress of some people and it affected me a lot, but I helped wherever I could. It was a truly formative experience.
Later, when I had my first child, I asked to join the investigation service. I was able to work in several areas, from simple to more complex offences...
I then had my second child, so I asked to take the OPJ (Officer of the Judicial Police) exam to join the Judicial Police service charged with all criminal investigations. I had to wait for everyone else to pass the exam before they would let me pass it... Yes, that's how it is in the civil service, at least in the police force.
I had to bang my fist on the table to get in!
I passed my exam to become a judicial police officer and was given a role as an independent investigator. Nobody believed in me...
You have depression. What triggered your depression? At what point did you realise that you were not well?
It started from the moment I joined the Judicial Police, with a new head of department and a new rank. My world started falling apart little by little without me even noticing!
My superior (a man), who didn't like women being part of the police and who was very fascist (he didn't hide it), started monitoring everything I did, regularly going through my things, making racist remarks while looking directly at me... He was purposely trying to provoke me. He asked me to change written statements from people we interviewed, which I always refused to do...
When I didn't "obey" him, he started to get mad at me, saying one day: "You don't belong here, you should be on the other side, I'm going to do everything I can to get you fired". He was looking for any sort of fault, so I had to be very vigilant in my job.
Then the harassment and humiliation started... He'd shout at me in front of everyone (colleagues, victims, lawyers) but I wouldn't respond... He refused me leave, put me on staggered working hours... Anyway, this went on for two years.
I didn't sleep, I didn't eat, and I cried in my car as soon as I left or went to work... I went to work each day with a knot in my stomach.
One day, my brain went into a tailspin, I took my service weapon and wanted to go to this bastard's office... but a colleague stopped me. And took the weapon off of me.
It was going to be either him or me!
My colleague told me to go home and see my doctor. That's what I did, and he told me I was depressed... I was completely lost; I didn't know anything about depression. He sent me to a psychiatrist who put me on medication.
I was put on sick leave... I found myself alone at home and it was truly a descent into hell. I couldn't do the housework, eat, get dressed...
I shut myself away in the dark all day with the curtains closed. I only got up when I had to take the children to and from school.
That's when I started to put on sunglasses as soon as I left my house...
What impact does depression have on your personal and professional life? Do you talk about the disorder to those close to you? What do they say about it? Are they supportive?
My family and my husband didn't understand and refused to believe that I had depression... They told me, like so many others: "Get up, get moving, get out, it's nothing, it will pass, there are more unfortunate people than you!".
It was very difficult with my husband, we stopped speaking, he would sulk and even refuse to go out with me when we had to do the shopping... We lived like strangers.
I actually attempted suicide by taking medication... To top it all off, I ran into my psychiatrist at A&E! He increased my appointments with them, so I saw him twice a week until I got better. I was hospitalised for three or four weeks in a long-term facility.
It was very hard for me and my children. My husband refused to bring them to visit me. And when my family came to see me, they made a scene. So, I had to leave the place...
My husband took on the role of my superior. He was always putting me down, insulting me, denigrating me... He refused to let me go out with the children.
I couldn't take it anymore, so I tried to commit suicide for the second time. This resulted in a second hospitalisation, but it was very brief. After two weeks, my family came to get me, and they discharged me against medical advice.
I was prescribed medication, many different drugs.
My husband and I separated. I went back to live with my parents with my children. He didn't want them to stay with me, but the children refused to go home with him.
I had a lot of trouble getting a flat.
What is your current state of mind? What are your plans for the future?
Today, I don't work anymore... I'm still lost. I can't reach out to others. I only dress in black, I wear my grief. I always wear sunglasses even when it's raining.
I don't really have any friends, just a few acquaintances. I can't stay more than five minutes in someone's presence!
I don't go out anymore, I like solitude and being alone.
I don't trust anyone, not even myself.
I've lost all my self-esteem.
I don't know if I'll ever be the same person I was before...
Would you say that depression has changed you? In what way?
Depression has changed me. It has made me much more sensitive than before. I've become hypersensitive and it's very embarrassing and even upsetting.
I can't stand being touched (shaking hands, hand on the shoulder or a hug...).
I am often afraid to make decisions, to go to the doctor or to the shopping centre. I can't stand crowds anymore, but sometimes I force myself and making it home afterwards is very hard... I can't look people in the eye and even less so without my sunglasses.
I can't enjoy myself anymore like going to the cinema or to a restaurant... I've lost all desire to do the things I used to love...
I've lost everything with my depression: my job, my husband, my family... I feel like I'm not living anymore, it's like I'm just barely surviving each day that passes.
What do you think about online patient communities like Carenity? Have you been able to find any advice or support?
The discussions and articles on Carenity are very well done and provide answers to my questions sometimes.
I am not very good at sharing with others, but I do read and what I read is interesting.
It's only on a site like this that we can see that other people are going through the same thing as we are.
It really helps to make you feel less alone in the face of depression...
What advice would you give to Carenity members also affected by depression?
Unfortunately, I have nothing really to offer other members as I am completely lost myself... I just hope they will get through it.
I think that once you're hit by depression, it never leaves you...
Any final words?
Thank you very much for creating this platform, it allows me to find a lot of information about the conditions I struggle with.
Thank you to the whole team for being there every day and for allowing me to get answers to my questions through the articles or even the discussions.
Thank you for just being here...
Many thanks to Soso93 for sharing her story with us!
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