First though, my nails:
I used Pure Ice's Wild Thing and Kleancolor's Metallic Green, stamped with BM-321. Very basic, but I really love these polishes. The plate was a bit difficult to work with, but I don't know if that's Wild Thing's fault or the plate's.
And now, my story:
My mother has always had depression and anxiety. She believes she inherited it from her father, and she passed it on to me. Mental health is often genetic, passed through generations. Other times, it just... appears. My mom's depression is consistent, while mine is sporadic (though it used to be consistent, we'll get to that in a minute), usually rearing its nasty head during times of high stress.
My depression appeared when I was 10 years old. My fifth grade teacher was a bully, dad left, and I just couldn't shake this feeling of desolation. At 10 years old, I decided to kill myself. My mom found and stopped me just in time, and I was taken to a mental health hospital for a couple of weeks. They put me on medication and got me going to therapy. It worked, for a couple years, but at age 12, I attempted to commit suicide again, and again tossed into a mental health ward (for only a couple weeks at this time). A routine appeared after this attempt, with me trying to kill myself about twice a year. At age 14, I was admitted to a long-term facility for 6 months, but it wasn't effective. At 16, I was again admitted to a long-term facility, for a stay of 9 months. Throughout this rigamarole, I was placed on more medications that I could name, suffered many side effects (one of which was long-lasting. I can still lactate thanks to Risperdal), and was given waaay too many diagnoses, the list ranging from bipolar disorder, oppositional-defiant disorder, all the way up to borderline personality disorder.
One thing they don't really tell you about adolescent depression is that there is no medication effective for it. In fact, if your body isn't matured to a certain point (around age 18), they often come with some nasty side effects: stronger depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicidal attempts.
At age 17 I decided to say fuckitall and stopped going to therapy, and I took myself off of my meds. And a miracle happened: I was fine. For a long time, I was okay. Free from the thoughts, free from the weight on my chest, and free from feeling numb and empty. It was a relief.
April 11th, 2011, my son was born. June 2nd, 2011, I was diagnosed with postpartum depression. I refused medication and opted for therapy-only, and it worked fine for me. Using the tools I was given as a child, I was able to cope. However, the postpartum depression evolved into real depression, which, 3 years later, hasn't really ever left me. It follows me like a shadow that I can't hide from, and it came with its own little sister, Anxiety, for which I have accepted medication (panic attacks at work are no bueno) and FMLA. I check in with my doctor every couple of months, and I lean on my support network.
My real medication is nail polish, nail art, and blogging. The creative outlet is healthy for me. Having to take my time and work with the teeny-tiny details that come from working with a teeny-tiny canvas is therapeutic. Taking my time and focusing banishes the evil thoughts. It is my therapy. I truly believe nail polish has saved my life.
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. I hope, in May, you will join me in raising awareness about mental health. We are not evil. We are not faking it. We are not taboos. We are humans, trying to overcome an illness no one would ever wish for, that affects everyone's lives whether they have it or not.
R.I.P., Robin Williams. You are dearly loved and dearly missed. May the afterlife bless you with rest from your woes.