Stigma Fighters: Tina B.

My name is Tina I have been living with depression all my life, or at least for as long as I can remember. My story goes back to childhood when I lived a life that no child should ever live. I was exposed to drugs and sex at a young age and I was determined to get out of my personal hell called life. Flash forward a few years where things should have gotten better but they just got worse. I was forced into relationships I should not have been in and I was forced to do things I did not want to do.

I have thought about and attempted suicide multiple times. I went in and out of psychiatric wards from the age of 19. I have functional depression. I was able to live; work and even do well in school. I seemed happy to all my friends. Most of my friends considered me the clown. I had my first child at 22 years old to a man I did not love. When my son was 7 months old I left and lived as a single mother. For years I put myself on the back burner and concentrated on this gift I was given. When he was four, I graduated college and got married to someone I have cared about since I was 14 years old. We went on, after 3 years of fertility treatments multiple miscarriages and the loss of one of my would be twins, to have a healthy baby girl.

At this point it would seem that I was living the American dream, but I was still living with depression. I struggled with some really bad days and it got to the point where I became suicidal again. I acted on my thoughts and on one occasion teetered on the verge of life and death for three days. The guilt from this ate at me and made me even more depressed. I sought counseling and medication. I even had a few ECT treatments.

Depression is a stigma in my life because on the outside I am successful. I have a wonderful husband, amazing children. I have a rewarding job where I work with severely and profoundly disabled children every day. The most amazing thing is the fact that I have a Master’s Degree in counseling and am on my way to becoming an LCPC. This just shows that it is not necessarily outside factors that cause depression. It is the internal demon that one must battle with each day which sneaks up on you and makes life difficult.

How do I fight it? I find one thing I like about myself each day. It could be the silliest thing like I like the way my hair looks today. Each day when I wake up, I make myself get out of bed and make a conscious effort to live rather than just exist in life. Depression does not control my life, I choose to control my depression.

10311801_10101432795528297_1114593538_n

Tina is a wife and mother of two beautiful children. She earned a Bachelors of Arts in English/secondary education from Georgia State University. She then went on the receive her Masters Degree from Liberty University in Human Services/Marriage and Family Counseling. Tina currently works at a school for severely and profoundly disabled youth.