I have suffered from Clinical Depression since my teens, although I didn’t know what was wrong. Every piece of unhelpful advice you mention, I have had directed at me, including ( being a devout Catholic ), if only you would pray more, or have more faith. I always had phobias, but at 20, they morphed into severe anxiety and phobic disorder. I do not know how I survived, working as an RN, then as mother to 4 children. I hid my strangest phobias from everyone, including my husband, for 15 years.
What I could not hide was my post partum psychosis after my second child – horrifying beyond words. The criticism I faced was incredible, but fortunately had a specialist who diagnosed me properly and put me on appropriate medication ( an MAO inhibitor, Nardil – look it up, scary med, but this was in 1981 ) Then after my third child – post partum depression. Manifested itself in not being able to choose a name for my daughter – she finally was named at 7 months old. I can’t even recount the awful comments I had to endure. During these 2 episodes, I was ill and vulnerable.
Otherwise, no one would have guessed that I suffered from anything. I was an actress par excellence. Cheery, pleasant, and involved mother in my kids activities.
When I started deteriorating badly at forty, basically exhausted from the many years of hiding my condition, I went for help again. I found a Psychiatrist who diagnosed me properly, and with new meds available, I was given a life. It was like a miracle for me!
I prefer to call what I suffer from as a mental disorder, rather then an illness. The brain is not acting properly, but illness comes from the effects of the disorder, just as diabetes is caused by non production of insulin. Of course, this causes illness in the body that can be life threatening.
Yes, I am on a benzodiazepine for life. Do I care? Well it’s either that or going back to the hell I lived for 20 years. My worst phobia became life- threatening ( being a nurse, I knew the consequences ) so I really had no choice.
We are all given one life on this earth. How we choose to live it is our choice. We do not get to choose what happens to us, but only how we react to it. I have given my perspective, but that is only from my experience. I certainly honor how others choose to react. We are individuals, and every choice is valid.