How to Manage and Overcome Depression (and Other Mental Illnesses)

There are so many mental illnesses out there today- depression, anxiety, bipolar, borderline personality disorder (BPD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are just a few I can list off the top of my head. They tend to be very lonely and isolating but the good news is … they do not have to be.

My name is Jennifer Niles and I am a former depressive. I was originally diagnosed with depression at age 11, shortly after my brother was born (the dreaded "middle child" syndrome began to kick in). Along with feeling invisible at school and the sunset of my teen years (which did not get any easier), I now felt invisible at home. I was no longer the "baby" of the family … my sister was invited and praised because she succeeded in everything she attempted; she was a very bright straight-A student with lots of friends. My brother was now the cute little baby that people just could not get enough of. And me? I was the invisible middle child.

As my teen years wore on, my depression only got worse. I tried pot for the first time at age 16 and lost my mother's trust- something that took me years to get back. At 19 I was told that I needed to either find my own place or start paying my mom rent .. she could no longer afford to support me. So I moved out on my own with $ 37 in my pocket.

A year after moving out on my own, the inevitable happened. I made friends with a guy from work .. he was mysterious and charming and I fell for him very quickly. One night, we were hanging out at my apartment playing games, watching movies and drinking (something we had done numerous times in the past). One thing lead to another and before I knew it, we were both completely hammered. I ended up passing out and I woke the next morning only to find I had been rapped. As if that was not bad enough … he took my virginity with him when he did it. This caused me to fall into my first serious bout of depression … it was worse than anything I had experienced- up to that point in my life.

Over the course of the next few years, things got worse before they got better. I experimented with drugs and alcohol and flunked out of college. I was a mess. One day, I woke up ready to face the future and for about 2 weeks life was great … then, in September 2009, I received news that my grandmother had passed away. I tried to remain strong for the other in my family, but inside I was a mess. I never got to say goodbye. I never gave her that one last "I love you" hug and kiss …. while the cause of her death was natural, I felt like I had done something wrong. I spent the entire winter of 2009-2010 in what was perhaps my darkest, deepest depression. Even worse than after the rape. I just saw no way out.

After years upon years upon years of therapy … I finally just "snapped" – in a good way! I woke up one morning realizing that if I wanted a better life for myself, then I had to work for it. I could not just expect good things to come to me because I had lived a crappy life. And it worked for me. Back in May, I finally made Manager at work- a position I've been vying for for 3 years; along with the promotion I got a raise, something I've been waiting on for 2 years. I was finally happy and ever since then, I have been depression-free. Now, I realize it's only been a couple months, but that's a huge change for me!

How exactly was all this possible?

It was not an overnight thing, I can assure you that. I was diagnosed with depression at age 11, as I mentioned before. Ever since then, I have not been eager to face each new day. I had attempted suicide so many times I've lost count. I would even purposely overdose on pills so that I could call out of work sick and do not have to leave bed- these were my really, really bad days.

What did help was 2 things:

1. Therapy

2. Support

Therapy- many people will knock therapy and say that "it just does not work". It does work … but only if you want it to. Most of the people who claim that therapy does not work are the kind of people who will go in for 1 or 2 sessions and say that nothing has changed. Here's a news flash: therapy is not meant to be an overnight cure. It's a support mechanism.

Support- being able to reach out to others who know what you're experiencing is so cruel. You can give and receive advice. You can vent how you're feeling. A few years back, a set and designed a forum specifically targeted towards people with depression, bipolar and a myriad of other mental illnesses. I knew what it was like to have to struggle with depression and I wanted to be able to help others. I knew how important it was to have support, and I wanted others to feel supported as well.

So I created the DSG (Depression Support Group) Forums . The forums were designed to be a safe haven for those in need. Whether you needed advice or wanted to give it, the DSG was there. The DSG is a volunteer-based support forum. There are no doctors on board, and we do not pretended that we are doctors. We can not write prescriptions and we do not have all the answers. We're simply here to help you to help yourself.

If you are depressed and do not know where to turn to next, please check us out today. We want to help you.