Staying positive and living with depression since early childhood
Published 10 Oct 2018 • By Louise Bollecker
Tiffany, a member of Carenity US, began to experience depression at eight years of age, but did not comprehend her depression until she was sixteen. In addition, Tiffany also has struggled with social anxiety disorder. Despite it all, Tiffany, has seen marked improvement in both diagnoses, which she attributes to changing her mindset thinking of and helping others. Tiffany offers us an insight into her diagnosis, coping strategies and methods, and how she maintains a positive-can-do attitude.
Hello Tiffany, thank you for agreeing to share your story with us here on Carenity.
Could you please introduce yourself?
Hello everyone, my name is Tiffany and I am 27 years old.
How did you realize you had depression?
I started having depression symptoms when I was 8 years old, but didn’t realize it or understand it till I was 16.
Was there a root cause or something that set it off?
Yes there was a root cause. And many different things would set it off. There were many factors.
How and when, if so, were you officially diagnosed?
It was official to me personally when I started cutting myself, going through eating disorders, both anorexia and bulimia, and attempted suicide. At the time parents would ignore it and my teachers and school counselor would contact my home with concerns. It was a mess.
You also have Social Anxiety Disorder, correct?
Yes I do have social anxiety.
Did you realize you had this disorder at the same time as the depression, or how did that come about?
Not really. This took years to realize for myself personally. Social anxiety was always a trigger to my depression and at the time this always made me feel like starving myself, or to make myself sick, or to cut myself. But I started to know it when I was 18 when this got bad but never wanted to accept it until I was 26. But I always had this problem since I was younger.
Do you have any other conditions?
I also have PTSD.
How does your PTSD affect your depression or vice versa?
It comes to my dreams or memories of something during the day and this affects my depression. And the more depressed I get, the worse my depression affects my disorders.
How have depression and social anxiety disorder affected your life?
It affected me greatly. I have a hard time trusting people, and I am very distant from many, only a handful of people I keep close to me who have been there for me for a long time. But I have also seen how it affects those around me, not just myself. And this makes me feel worse at times.
What medications or treatments (counseling, psychology, art therapy, etc.) have you tried? What have been the results?
I have tried medication but it always made me more tired. I usually write, draw art and speak to one close friend and this has helped me get through the day. Drawing and writing, working out, and enjoying nature helps more because my friend has a lot on their plate and I don’t want to burden them. So instead I do my very best to be there for them more. I take the worlds problems and try to be Superman even though I know I’m not Superman at all. I just hate myself if I can’t help those I care about. So I say little and try to take one step at a time by keeping distracted, and enjoying hobbies that help me feel better.
What has been the most effective method of coping with your depression and social anxiety disorder?
Poetry and art for depression. For my anxiety, I try to either stay around those who make me feel safe, or I play with a rubber band to help. But I usually try to avoid large crowds.
Since your original diagnosis, have you seen improvement in your depression or your ability to interact with and face social situations?
I have seen improvement in my social anxiety issues. My depression has gotten better over time, but what helped me and helps me the most is that I think about others first. By helping others, it helps me to feel better and to forget my issues.
In reading through your posts on Carenity, you seem to have a very positive outlook. What do you attribute this to and/or how do you maintain such a positive outlook?
I try to remain positive for others. I would focus so much on helping others and trying to hide my negative emotions by saying positive things and this in return has also helped in my mindset to think more positive.
From your posts, you seem very eager and willing to encourage others to be strong. Do you have any advice or anything you would like to say to the members here on Carenity that are dealing with depression or anything else in their life?
Don't give up. We are all special in our own way. We are all here for a reason. And we are here to help each other. In this crazy world it makes us feel like we are alone, but we are never alone. Don't lose hope or give up, because even if things seems bleak right now, there is a light for each of us that can help us get through the motions and the moments, which then helps us endure through the day. I have personally lost hope and felt I am unworthy to be loved but it's not true. We are all worthy of being loved and hope never loses us.
Do you think support groups and online patient communities like Carenity help those diagnosed with depression or other mental illnesses? If yes, how so?
Yes I do think this helps because it makes you feel like home in an odd way. Its like looking at a twin of yourself when someone else can relate and understand what you are going through. It helps provide support and encouragement, its a place we can confide in and place we can feel safe and loved. I thinks these things do help people like me personally.
Don't give up. We are all special in our own way. We are all here for a reason. - Tiffany
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