If I have learned anything, it's that depression has no face, color, or gender; it could happen to anyone, and it happened to me.
Since October 31, 2007, I am happy to say that I have been free from all prescription drugs, clinical depression and a battle with insomnia. I am grateful to God that I made it. And, I am grateful to so many people who helped me during my journey to a full recovery. Now I can share my story with others to let them know that they can be free to live again.
I have had a lot of losses in my life that have left me feeling hopeless and in much despair, and I felt that I was in the valley of the shadows of death after losing my family - the people who matter the most to me.
Starting on October 5, 1959, I had my first great loss with the death of my 5-year-old sister, who died of bronchial pneumonia. The losses continued in March 1986 with my father passing due to a massive heart attack. January 1996 brought the accidental death of one of my brothers, followed by the deaths of my baby brother, and another brother in 2000, just 87 days apart from each other.
Then in January 2005, my 10-year marriage ended in divorce. It was a very hard time emotionally for me, and I felt that, one by one, I was losing the people that mattered most to me.
My eating and sleeping habits changed, I lost weight and my lacking job performance led to my wages being reduced. It wasn't long until I found myself filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and I had a hard time holding it all together.
By June 2006, I found myself with seven nights of no sleep at all and I knew something was definitely wrong. Though I tried to cover it up at work, the owner knew my behavior and weight loss were not normal and told me not to mess around with this serious problem. I could no longer hide that I was battling with depression and we discussed my getting help.
My family psychiatrist placed me on a variety of drugs over the next couple of months, including an antidepressant that treats clinical depression; a sleep aid to treat the insomnia; and, a drug to treat panic disorders. I also attended general counseling with the Catholic Charities of Sharon, PA twice a month until February 2008.
Thanksgiving Day 2006 brought upon more devastating deaths, with the loss of my mother to a massive heart attack. The following year my baby sister passed in August 2007 of colon cancer.
With just one brother and one sister still living, I hit rock bottom and the sleep aids no longer worked. With God's help, and help from my ex-wife and several friends, I overcame the drugs and the depression -- by focusing on superior nutrition, a calming herbal drink, and exercise. A friend also brought me a calming herbal drink, which I used twice a day.
With all of these changes, my mind became renewed and I slowly was able to get back to normal sleeping patterns within a month.
My hope is that I will be able to help people the way I was helped when I needed it.