Why Are You Such a Hater? I Have Dysthymia, Thanks for Asking
Dysthymia, or why are you so bitter?
Since I was a child, I remember being always perceived as a "serious person". I was one of those children who could not stand being around other children playing like...children. I would rather be in my room reading, or doing homework. A typical nerd, you know. However, I always felt that I lacked some basic happiness that most of my acquaintances had. A lot of people has tagged me as "bitter" or "hater" and even when I tried to not be so hater, something in my attitude will bring back again that horrible tag.
I am familiar with the term "depression" since I was a child. My mother used to be sad most of the time and she told me that it was because she was depressed. The weird thing is that as a child, I idealized the idea of "being depressed", and I started to try to get myself into that state. It didn't take so long, by the time I was ten, I frequently used the adjective "depressed" in my diary.
During my adolescence, a lot of things happened within my family. My parents split up, a new brother was born and by the time I was in college, our financial situation was pretty bad. All those factors contributed to making me feel depressed most of the time but somehow the pressure of getting my degree kept me afloat. When I finished college with a job offer in my hands and a decent GPA, I felt like all the effort spent by me and my family was worth. However, the "bitterness" in my mind wasn't gone.
A new life was waiting for me but nothing was enough.
Have you ever felt like nothing is enough to fill the void in your life? Welcome to my early 20s.
You got a job! Now, what?
When I started working, all my money issues were gone. I found new friends, lost some old ones and learned (on the hard way) how to work within a team. However, my mental condition was worsening. I thought that maybe the place where I was living was the cause: my dream had been always to live in a big city and I found myself living in the country within a city no larger than my old neighborhood. So, after a year I quit my job and moved to Mexico City. My plan was to start an MSc but soon I became disappointed with the program and I started looking for a job again.
Alas! My new job took me away from Mexico City and even when I had a decent salary, I still felt bad. When I got the first chance I moved back to Mexico City, aiming to finally start living my dream life. I met someone, I had time to spend in the city I dreamed of, I had a good job and I was planning to move to a place nearer to my workplace. And then, I received some shocking news: I was going to be transferred to India for a whole year.
Way to India.
Yay! Another achievement unlocked!
I spent one year in India. I went to some cities like Mumbai, Pune, Srinagar, Delhi, Agra, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Jaipur, and Bikaner. I got to ride a camel, I finally discovered the snow and I felt the hot weather in the desert. I went to Hong Kong and Tokyo. My job was kind of dull, translating a lot of information from Spanish to English and vice versa. However, I liked it.
My social skills went down during the year I spent abroad. I am naturally shy, so getting to know new people from a different country in a second language (my mother tongue is Spanish) was really hard for me. My colleagues were nice to me but they all had their own lives and they did not have time to try to make a foreign awkward girl to speak. By the time I went to Tokyo, I felt that my life was a failure. If living my dream is not enough, what can I do from now on?
Am I going to feel happy ever again?
You can get depressed even if you are "living the dream".
I learned this through the hard way. After coming back to Mexico, reuniting with my boyfriend, meeting again all my friends, leaving my job and trying to study an MSc I still was feeling the void that lived inside me. No matter how good my life was, nothing seemed to cure my desperation. I had a self-harm episode and it was after that when I finally decided to seek help. I gotta say that none of the two psychotherapists I consulted were a great help. Yes, they made me realize some connections between my life-story and my symptoms but none of them gave me a diagnosis.
It was until this year when a friend of mine asked me if I had a diagnosis yet. She suggested me to go to the National Institute of Psychiatry and get an appointment. I was sick of feeling sad, heavy, and with no will to do anything so I decided to go. It was a bittersweet experience when, after the initial evaluation, they accepted me as a patient (Yay! you've been accepted as a psychiatric patient! Hooray!) but I felt relieved at the same time. My first evaluation consisted of filling my medical record, asking me if there were any relatives with diagnosed mental illnesses (not yet) and in asking me why I asked for help. It was pretty hard to explain that I had this feeling that nothing I ever did will be worthy and that someday I'll commit suicide. Enouncing this was so hard that my voice broke at least twice and I started to cry. The physician ordered some fluoxetine for me and he gave me the emergency telephone in case I had any sort of crisis.
There is always hope.
In my second appointment, the doctor explained to me that I had dysthymia, which was the reason why I felt so down these years. This condition starts most of the time during childhood and it is a chronic illness. I felt so relieved to finally being able to name the myriad of demons that made hell my life. That is the reason why I have always been "hater", "a bitter person", or "serious", it is not because I am crazy, it is because my brain does not work as well as others, So what? Now I can take my meds and be confident about my future. Not everything is going to be good from now on, life is a Wheel of Fortune but since I am under treatment my doctor and I will be able to tackle every obstacle that comes in the future. Suicide is not an inevitable future for me, now I understand that the demons that live in my head can be controlled and I am willing to control them with all the tools that medicine and therapy can provide.