Houston, Texas, United States
“Late in my teenage years, I started experiencing symptoms associated with Major Depressive Disorder, also known as clinical depression. I was diagnosed officially in college and formally introduced to the elaborate, mysterious and frustrating relationship between the two rival factions in my head: my brain and my mind.
My mind knows that, no matter how bleak things may seem, I am not alone and things will get better. Its counterpart, my brain, is under no such pretences. My brain betrays my mind, replacing passion with nothingness, a state of numbness and paralysis. My brain is a jerk.
I am fortunate. Over the past 20 years, through a combination of therapy, medication, and personal lifestyle choices, I have remained highly functional. In September 2018, seemingly overnight, I entered a major depressive episode that persisted for more than a year. I was in therapy and on medication but it wasn’t working. In early November 2019, I had a moment of extreme clarity where I felt my mind slipping away. I started thinking, very systematically and pragmatically, about how I would end my life.
In early January 2020, I started what I thought would be a three-month leave of absence to recover. That day, only a few weeks removed from planning to end my life, I was in worse shape than I could appreciate. It didn’t take me three months to heal. It took me a year of intense therapy and personal development. I am still a work in progress.
I share my story because I want others who are struggling to know that they are not alone, that help is available and that there is hope for the future.
This isn’t the end of my journey to mental wellness. However, it may just be the end of the beginning.” – Liz Sweigart, Mental Health Advocate