My Experience With Depression (Yael)

I would like to welcome the newest member of our writing team, Yael Cohen. In her first post with us, she tells her story of battling with depression. Thanks for sharing with us, Yael!

Trigger Warnings: Suicidal ideation, rape, sexual assault

I havent always been this way, when I was younger I like to think I was a pretty normal, what we would now refer to as a gender fluid child. I was born with an intersex spectrum disorder. My depression started when I was about eight, as at the time I was being raped by a family “friend.” This would lead later to a diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (at age 9) and Major Depressive Illness (at age 16) after a stay in the psychiatric ward for suicidal ideation. To top it off I spent much of my formative years in hospitals as I was born with several problems physically. Just to add to my depressed mood.

I went on Prozac for a while which seemed to help, and I stopped taking it a few years later, when the doctors thought that I had gotten over a couple years of sexual assaults. They were of course, wrong, and this led to severe depression for much of my life since the assaults.

I am 24 now and have been fucked up since I was 8, thats 16 years of my life. For roughly 66% of my life I have had to deal with issues stemming from this. Hospitalizations, etc. I think that these events also played a formative role in my sexual orientation. I have tried sex with men, but it usually ends with me curled up in the fetal position in tears due to flashbacks and anxiety. I still even after 16 years can’t differentiate sex with a man, and rape, but let’s save that for another article…

I have been in the psychiatric ward or been admitted to the ER on a psychiatric hold about 6 times in my life. Once when I was 16 as I already mentioned, and then the rest of the times for attempted suicide, and interestingly enough they hit all around the same time, October 2010 – February 2012.

My first attempt was serious, and involved an entire bottle of extra-strength Tylenol and a trip to the hospital to have my liver flushed out. I will say though, that to their credit, the hospital staff, the people from BC Ambulance, and the RCMP were excellent with me. None of the other horror stories that members of the trans community apply in my case, everyone was really sweet and caring. They took care of me over the weekend, and let me go home on Friday as I told the psychiatrist that I would never do it again. Of course I planned to do it again, but made the “mistake” of sending an email about it to a therapist at the university, and was taken into custody under the mental health act in the middle of an English lecture. I stayed in the psych ward for a week after that. Again all of the staff were very kind and considerate of my being trans.

Since October 2010 I haven’t gone back to the psych ward, but I have been severely depressed and had at least three ER admissions for ideation or para-suicidal gestures since that time and February 2012. I am happy to say I have been a lot better since moving to a different city but I still live with depression.

I am an active member of the local queer and trans groups in the community in which I reside and I find that that has actually been very helpful in my management of my mental disorders. I still have yet to talk about the sexual assaults in my past despite booking therapy appointments I never go to. I cry myself to sleep on the days before a new semester starts, afraid that I might see my rapist. Even though that is a far off remote possibility, it still leads to me hiding weapons around my apartment, just in case.

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