We Need to Overcome Depression Together

Carly McIntosh

Many people placed on Turtle Island have a hard time speaking out that they are one living with depression. Depression has become the most common illness that is hidden from others, to hide depression I believe we all put on a smile and act as if everything will be okay.

I have been living with depression since I was 17. It took till I was 24 to admit that I have depression as an illness, and it is all because of what happened on the day and year of August 29, 2008.

In the early 90's, living with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy was just a piece of life that I had to deal with. I was a young girl and I saw life as everyone else did, a red rose being a red rose, the sun being bright and warm, even laughing while having fun. I wasn't as scared of myself when I was young, the Epileptic seizures did not win at that time. I felt safe from myself because I didn't know what Epilepsy was at that time, and I had my family around me to hold my hand. With the feeling of a Aura seizure appearing I would run to my mother, hold her hand and once the seizure was gone I would run back to my cousins and play. When I didn't know what an Epileptic Seizure was, I was not labelled and it was nice.

As each year would pass, I grew to understand that I was a disabled. I was unable to eat the same foods as my other family members did, as well I was placed indoors for most of the spring and summers. Having to live with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, my lungs and blood never approved of man-made chemicals. In the year of 1998, that was the year of my first Tonic Clonic Seizure. I do not remember what happened that day at all, but I have been told what did. I was taken to the Emergency Room, thrown onto a bed and the Doctor was trying every drug under the sun. I was not shaking, I was not speaking, it seemed at the time that my spirit had already left my body. The Tonic Clonic seizure had control over me for eight straight hours, I had close to three seconds left when my Doctor broke the Epileptic Seizure. Once the medication of Ativan got me out of the Epileptic seizure, I was thrown into an ambulance and sped to the Brandon Regional Health Centre. When I was in Brandon, Manitoba the Tonic Clonic seizure hit me so hard that my body said time out, and it was similar to being as if I was in a Coma for three straight days.

When I was living in the Canadian Prairies that was the time when most Tonic Clonic seizures were taking charge. The air was full of man-made chemicals being sprayed onto the fields of land done by the local farmers. The atmosphere was so toxic to my body that I was being rushed to Emergency Rooms circling all around my home town. In, out, in, out, etc.

Over time I started developing my own habits to keep me safer. I started speed walking when I had no family members around me, and I even started holding my breath so that Herbicides would not be able to enter into my lungs. I would even buy specific jackets that had good cuffs on them, that way I would be able to cover my nose so the strong smells of chemicals would be blocked from entering.

In the year of 2007, I moved into the Province of Alberta and I had my first appointment with my first Neurologist. The task I was given was to get set up to have my first Magnetic Resonance Imaging, MRI.

After having my first MRI I remember getting the call and being given a time to see my Neurologist in the hearings of my results.

When the results were to be heard I remember sitting in a small room with my mother by my side, and the Neurologist sitting in front of his computer. I sat there waiting to hear the results of my first MRI, where at first it was complete silence. My Neurologist clicks on my file, and I see the imaging of the inside of my brain pop up on his computer screen. The Neurologist starts pointing to the results while being explained and at that exact moment I did not understand, but to the left I saw my mother start to cry. Thinking back to this moment I still see everything so clearly, and now I understanding what was happening at that precise moment it tears me up.

I was to young in understanding what was being told at the moment, that once we left the room my mother had to explain everything to me. The MRI had shown a Left Temporal Lobe Brain Tumour set inside my innocent brain. I was given a choice to get the Left Temporal Lobe Brain Tumour removed, or just leave it where it was. I was also told getting the brain tumour removed would help decrease my Epileptic Seizures, or even maybe stop them. In hearing the results there were positives and negatives.

And that is when my life time of nightmares had become a story where the chapters were never to end. I made the wrong choice, because I believed the words my Neurologist spoke.

The morning of August 29, 2008 I remember being rolled into the Operation Room, they line me up under all the setup and my eyes slowly start closing. Hours later my eyes start opening and I slightly start to see my mother in front of me. My left eye was so affected after the surgery that I could only see out of my right eye. Next thing I noticed was that I felt a Aura Seizure start to attack, and I started to panic. At that pacific moment that was where my first step walking into the door of depression began.

Since that day depression has become a part of me, and it is because of that choice I made. Removing my Left Temporal Brain Tumour was my biggest mistake in life, that day everything was taken away from me. Till this day I have the exact same amount of my Epileptic seizures, and I can only remember up to the date of August 29, 2008. I put my trust into all my Specialists, and what they accomplished was a dramatic fail. I have so much pain knowing I should have left everything the way it was. I was myself before the surgery, but after the surgery I don't know what I have become.

I made the choice to have the surgery, and it made things worse. I am now afraid of myself, and everything around me.

With depression being added on, it is hard making it to the next day. I fear my Epileptic Seizures more now than ever before, to me I feel every day I only have that one chance in making to the next day. I fear being alone every day not knowing if a Tonic Clonic seizure will attack, even when I just feel my Aura seizure attack the fear inside me grows. Since the surgery life has become fear, I can't even remember the last time I felt safe.

Every Epileptic seizure I feel, it just circles back to the date of August 29, 2008. The day of regret.

I have accomplished many things in my life time, but never do I give myself the credit I deserve. Within developing the illness of depression, we come to feel in life that there is nothing left for us on this Earth. Our love of life is taken away, and all we feel we can do is hide from reality. We fight to overcome depression for a reason, we just have to find what that strict reason is.

I admit I do have depression, and since the moment I have spoken the truth I do aim to get help. For the people out there with depression if I can fight depression you can fight it too, and win.

Born and raised in Manitoba, Canada and now residing in Calgary, Alberta. McIntosh recently found her ancestry. Her goal is to pursue a future with writing and hopes to open some closed eyes and minds.

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turbojesus's picture
Yeah some of us have brain tumors. Others have brain trauma from having our head cracked open in car wreck as a child. Or having amputation after hurricane katrina from squalor during our finals which we then had to take. Or destroy your elbow from septic arthritis. When life hands you lemons, you jam down somebody else's throat till their eyes bleed.
onedman's picture
I was born 65 years ago with many birth defects. From the age of 7 to 9, 14 months, my father died, we moved twice and I was the victim of attempted murder. Every waking moment since is spent in depression in one form or another. The greatest help I have experienced was reading the Dalai Lama's book "Destructive Emotions". If you know someone like Carly or myself, please get them the book, read it together with them. There are answers, there is help and hope. It's damn hard work but you can get some relief. I share my story at onedman.org. We can do this together by being open and sharing. There is no shame in being who we are.