Health Hero: Tammy Thompson

Tammy Thompson, 41, currently lives in Florida with her new fiancé. For the past decade, she has lived and struggled with depression. Here, her inspirational story.

To an outsider, I've lived a pretty great life. I was born in Indiana, adopted when I was an infant, and raised in central Illinois. I raised by a loving family, and growing up, I was given whatever I wanted. However, internally I have fought many battles which have been an ongoing issue throughout my life.

I wasn't diagnosed with depression until I was 31; however, looking back I realized that I have been depressed since my early 20s. Back then, I went through a pretty dark period. I was the victim of an abusive relationship which drove me to consider suicide as a way out. As crazy as it sounds, even then I was in denial. Eventually, I ended up moving back home with my adoptive mother; however, I continued to struggle with depression.

In my next relationship, all seemed pretty wonderful. Things were going really well and we decided to start a family. My doctor prescribed a hormonal agent to help with the process. This sent my hormones reeling. I became severely depressed. The medication caused chemical changes in my brain, which caused me to be incapable of doing anything. I couldn't eat, couldn't get out of bed, and couldn't go to work. Eventually it got to the point where I couldn't go outside because I was paranoid.

Eventually, my second marriage ended in divorce. It took me some time to receive the help that I so desperately needed. At first I was in denial that medication would help me, but I have come to the realization that depression is a disease and it is important to seek the care and support you need. I now have my condition under control. I am currently a student and have moved to sunny Florida to be with my fiancé.

For anyone that suffers from depression, I believe it's essential to recognize your symptoms and to find support--be it from family, friends, a doctor, or even if it's just through the Internet. Get the help you need.

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