I will never forget the day my psychologist diagnosed me of depression and anxiety (panic episodes or panic attacks when the situation or trigger arises).
“Kate, after all the tests you took and the evaluation interview we did last week, you have what the Updated DSM-5 Major Depressive Disorder with anxious distress.”
(DSM is short for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It is a manual or a guidebook primarily for mental health specialists practicing in the United States and the rest of the world – it is the authoritative guide in diagnosing mental health disorders and illnesses. The book comprises of descriptions, signs and symptoms, and other necessary information when identifying and detecting mental health disorders.)
What Is Major Depressive Disorder?
The words kept on ringing in my head.
“Kate… major depressive disorder. Major depressive disorder. Anxious distress. Depression. Evaluation. Interview. Kate. You’re crazy….”
I was making myself more anxious about what I was thinking. I mean, is Major Depressive Disorder just an extended term for depression? And crazy! Am I crazy??? I immediately searched for the condition called Major Depressive Disorder, and this is what I found out. According to Dr. Mark Zimmerman, MD, “There are five criteria: feeling keyed up or tense, feeling unusually restless, impaired concentration, feeling that something awful will happen, and feeling that you might lose control.”
The DSM-5 describes it as a condition wherein a person will lose all interest in the activities that he previously loved doing because of a very low or down state of mind. This kind of condition must extend to at least two weeks before a diagnosis of such is provided by a certified mental health expert. The person will also exhibit a lack of energy and movement. He will also be short of motivation and enthusiasm, in general. The person will also not be able to sleep well – either he is oversleeping, or he is not sleeping much at all. With that comes the negative way of thinking. Everything will be bad and hurtful. The person will also not focus and will isolate himself from people. If you are still confused about it, you can find additional information at BetterHelp.com
I was convinced. The words I read about the meaning of Major Depressive Disorder was talking about me. Most of the signs and symptoms were about me. I wasn’t able to sleep well, and I was always crying due to pain. My mind was thinking of awful things like hurting myself and dying. I even locked the door of my room so that my sisters couldn’t come in.
What Is Anxious Distress?
After MDD, I searched for Anxious Distress. One disorder wasn’t enough for me, noh? I had to be diagnosed with two mental health issues – depression and anxiety, the killers of the mind. I assumed that Anxious Distress was a type of anxiety, and I was right. Here is what I found about Anxious Distress.
Anxious Distress is defined by a presence of at least two signs and symptoms which are mentioned below:
- When a person suddenly feels extremely tensed up or pressured
- When a person will be restless for no reason at all
- When a person cannot concentrate on a task or his day in general because of worrying too much
- When a person will always think that something bad will happen to him
- When a person will feel that he is losing control of himself and a particular situation
Then, I was stunned. Yes, I have Anxious Distress. All of the signs and symptoms relayed, I have all of it. Again, I remembered reading – According to what Lisa Moses, PsyD said “People often don’t realize that depression isn’t just one thing. It can have different causes and presentations.”
You must be thinking – What happened to Kate that made her depressed and anxious? Let me tell you my story briefly so that you’ll understand what transpired in my life that released my depression and anxiety. I will do this as fast and as brief as I can because it’s history. I have moved on, and I intend to keep moving forward. Don’t want to look back because I realized that my overall emotional and mental health matters.
I lost my job. My boyfriend left for a man. He took my life savings with him. I was evicted from my condo. My car got repossessed. And I lived in my mom’s garage after all that. Everything happened in two months.
There, I said it. I don’t want to expound. That’s all I am comfortable to reveal at the moment because I don’t want people to pity me. I know I can’t control their reactions, but I am in a good place now, and all I can say to others who are suffering because of what life throws at them – just fight. If you lose your job, find another one. If your bf leaves you for a man, find another man. If he stole all your money, report him to the police and enforce your rights. Eviction from condo and car repossession – pffft, minor! Get another condo and car! If you live with your parents because you have nothing, give yourself a timeline on when you will leave. Because you know what, YOU CAN DO IT.
First things first – if you are diagnosed with a mental health disorder, you need the help of a therapist. Go to sessions and drink the medication, if you’ve been prescribed. (Psychologist and lead researcher, Professor John Read said: “The medicalization of sadness and distress has reached bizarre levels. One in ten people in some countries are now prescribed antidepressants each year.” I don’t care if I am that one in 10 people.)
Then, fight. Just fight. Don’t let the events in your life pull you down and sink you under some more. Life is beautiful for you to be hiding in your room. Believe me; I have learned from that mistake.