I had depression, ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder) and mild OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) from a fairly early age. Luckily (or unluckily, depending on how you look at things) none of the disorders were severe enough to get anyone's attention when I was a child.
As I was growing up, I often heard from other people that I was a negative person. That was a pretty accurate assessment, as I had a negative, hopeless viewpoint most of the time. Since I viewed the possibility of success at most endeavors as a long shot, I was negative about trying anything that I felt I was likely to fail at, so I was very reluctant to try anything new.
Some activities or endeavors that my parents suggested to me were great for other kids, but didn't fit my personality. For instance, selling lemonade at the tennis courts during the summer. Definitely a winner - but only if the child isn't painfully shy, which I was.
My teachers noticed my lack of motivation more than anything else - at least, that's how it seems if you look at my report cards. "I know Deborah is capable of better grades, but she doesn't try." Over the years, there were quite a few variations on that theme. With the knowledge I have now that I was suffering from depression, the lack of motivation makes sense.
My ADHD made gym class very frustrating because I would space out when the coach was instructing us in how to play a game and then I had no idea what to do when we were playing. It was hard for me to focus in general on anything that I wasn't good at or particularly absorbed in.
I finally was diagnosed with depression (the ADHD diagnosis came later) at age 27 and started successful treatment. I found that many of the personality traits that I accepted as part of me were actually due to the depression.
I found that, much to my surprise and that of pretty much anyone who had known me for a while, I'm actually a very positive person. I tend to look at the bright side of every situation. As far as motivation, I've got it in spades. At one point, while I was a full-time mom to my toddler son, I started my own business. I knew it might fail, but I wanted to give it a shot anyway. (It was successful, but I gave it up because it was taking too much time away from my son).
Even my color preferences in clothing and decorating underwent a shift. Before I started treatment, for much of my life, I had preferred dark or muted colors. Since then, I've found that my favorite colors are either bright or pastel (I love pink).
So if you or someone you know has had depression most of your/their life, or even just for the last few years, you may find when you get treated successfully for depression (which happens over 80% of the time) that your preconceived notions about what your/their true personality is are actually not accurate.
You may even find that, as in my situation, your real personality was hidden completely by depression. If that's not a good reason to keep pushing till your treatment isn't successful, I don't know what is. How often does one get the chance at a completely new life?
Published On: August 10, 2007