Stay on Your Meds!

I have been depressed since I was a teenager, which was over thirty years ago. However, I was not diagnosed with depression until my late twenties, after I tried to commit suicide.
As a teenager I was sad and shy and moody, and I'm sure everyone thought I was a normal teen. But it was more than that. I thought about suicide a lot but never told anyone. I hated being around people. School, 4-H and other groups caused great anxiety for me. I dealt with this by self-medicating.
I started drinking. When I was drinking I didn't think about other people around me and so they didn't bother me as bad. Shortly after that, around age 16, I started smoking pot. Pot was my drug of choice. I could totally escape from life. Rather than making everything seem funny, it just made everything seem far away to me. I couldn't feel life anymore and I loved that feeling.
These things worked until I was 28. After a relationship break-up, I took half a bottle of ibuprofen, drank a few beers, and went to sleep. I wasn't expecting to wake up puking but that's what happened. I was rushed to the hospital where they pumped my stomach. Then I was sent to a "stress center" where a psychiatrist diagnosed me with severe depression.
Since then I have been on anti-depressant medications, off and on. Sometimes I feel better so I stop taking my meds. A few months later I find myself crying a lot, missing work, getting very irritable, and thinking of suicide.
I've learned to stay on my medication now. Doctors tell me depression is a disease and I need to think of that way and stay on my meds. But it doesn't really seem like just a disease. It seems like a weakness. I think I should be able to conquer it with my mind. I feel like a failure because I've tried so many things to help my depression, but nothing works but medication.

Don't just take my word for it!