The tunes were pumping, the sun was shining bright, I had a pretty awesome to do list in place, and I was ready to conquer the day… or was I? I quickly noticed that my favorite song was not igniting the same joy in my heart. I looked around out side and everything seemed to be a little bit gloomier. I felt a feeling of panic and fear rush over my body. I thought about my to do list and all of sudden it felt the the world was on my shoulders. I thought about the hours, the days and the months ahead of me and everything seemed… bleak. Nothing about the up coming dinner I was planning seemed to bring peace in my heart. Nothing about a peaceful evening on the couch with my husband sounded appealing. I wanted to pull the car to the side of the road and cry. What was going on?!
I knew it. I was depressed again. It hit me out of no where. Or did it? The signs were coming but I was trying my hardest to ignore every one of them. The signs looked like this:
- Trouble falling asleep
- Panic attacks out of no where
- Slowly becoming less excited about things that normally excited me.
- Feel nervous in the morning and relaxed later in the evening.
I could not believe I was here again. This would be my 3rd bout of depression in my life. My first happened when I graduated college and the stress of the world got to me. I thought for sure when I beat that I was free from it completely. I thought… this should be a fluke right? The second hit me in 2015 shortly after my Step Father passed away, we moved to Texas, my business got crazy busy, and my Mother moved in with us. That bout lasted 7 months until I was treated with anti depressants and therapy. I was free and clear of most symptoms by the time I was pregnant with my son. I felt 90% for the length of my pregnancy. But then I lost my son. The weeks after loosing him I experienced some slight panic here and there, and the normal feelings of sadness. But I was coping and felt balanced chemically.
After my first menstrual period after losing my son (he passed away at 32 weeks due to a chord accident) I realized Depression and Anxiety would be something that I would have to deal with for the rest of my life. This sucker was not going to just disappear. This was something I had to be on top of for the rest of my existence if I wanted to live a balanced life. I was devastated, heart broken, terrified. What if I feel this way forever? What if my life is stuck feeling this way! What if I never go on to enjoy my incredible family? What if I go on to live in a mental health facility just like my Father!!
Here is the difficult fact … my father and his siblings all struggle with mental illness. They all have had a variety of mental illnesses take over their life. I knew this, but I did not want to face it until I myself started to experience Depression. I began asking my cousins if they to had issues with Depression and come to find out… they to were dealing with this. That fear took over me for many weeks and I did not know how to cope. The “what ifs” of my world became to hard to bare. The uncertainties of my life and future became to hard to function around. I started to develop OCD symptoms and began ruminating about whether or not I would become like my Father.
Here is the deal. I know that this is a chemical in-balance. I know that it is not my fault. I know that I have a fabulous life, a life to be very proud of and grateful for… so these feelings are not real. These feelings are the power of Depression lying to me. As of last week I started to feel some relief of this most recent battle with Depression. Fortunately I knew right away that I needed help. I got in contact with my Doctors, my therapist and I let my family know that I was in deed struggling. I was given an adjustment in antidepressants, I was given more therapy sessions, and I began studying “The Depression Cure” by Stephen S. Ilardi.
I am a Blogger, Mom, Wife, Successful Entreprenuer …. and I also struggle with mental illness. I am real. This is real.
Why Do I share this with you?! Am I looking for a pity party?! Absolutely NOT! I am looking for the “Me too’s” out there! I am looking for other Women who are to afraid to get their Depression treated. I am looking for the people out there that have stigmatized Depression and Anxiety. I am looking for the people who believe that Depression is only for sad and miserable people who have terrible lives… BECAUSE I AM HERE TO TELL YOU THAT IS THE FURTHEST THING FROM THE TRUTH. I am looking for the people who think that their thoughts and fears are just life and not a chemical in-balance. I am here to tell you that millions of people struggle with Depression and 1 in 4 people in the United States will experience a bout of it in their life time. There are people who take their own lives because they have no idea how to escape the pain when there is help right around the corner.
I share this because if I can help one person out there see hope, and see a fighter, they to will fight for their lives. Depression steals your joy, ability to function, and often your life. I am the face of someone who has had Depression and refuses to let it take over my life. I am someone who is not willing to go down without a fight, and I want to take you with me! So if you or someone you know battles with this illness… know that you are or they are not alone. Depression will lie to you and tell you that no one knows what you are feeling. Depression will lie to you and tell you that you will never get better, but here is the incredible thing about Depression… you can get better. There are hundreds of ways to improve in this illness. You just have to be willing to put in the work and dedication. I suggest the following:
- Immerse yourself in peer support. There are some really great groups on Facebook to be a part of.
- Read “The Depression Cure” by Stephen S. Ilardi
- See a Psychiatrist and do not be afraid of taking something for short period. Just to help you get back to you!
- See a Therapist weekly. Do not give up on attending your sessions. Just because you start to feel better does not mean you have to tools to make sure it does not come back.
- Go for long vigorous walks even when you feel terrible and do not want to. Force yourself to.
- Tell your family that you are sick. You need to be treated like someone with the flu. It is worse than the flu in my opinion so why not treat yourself like it? How do you treat yourself when you have the flu?
- Find something to do with your hands. Teach yourself to crochet, knit, cross stitch. Do something to stay out of bed and be productive.
- Do not make major life changes. Do not move, do not leave your spouse, do not leave your job. Chances are you are having feelings about these things … it could just be your chemical in balance causing you to not see the love and joy in those things. That is how depression works. It takes the peace and joy right out of things. Its not the things, its you… so give it time.
- I cannot stress #2 enough. Such a great book!
- I have to give credit to the medication that I take that has helped me and that is Lexapro. It is hard to admit that I take something for depression, but it is what it is. It has helped me get lifted off of the ground when things seem to tough.
Reach out to friends and family. You never know who in your life is going through what you are. Having peer support is so important. You never know who you might affect by simply sharing your pain and struggles. Do not be embarrassed or afraid. This is a real mental illness brought on by life stress that our bodies are not meant to handle. This does not make you weak, crazy, or bad… this makes you human. Everyone struggles with some sort of illness in their life… this just happens to be the one you struggle with and the beauty of life is that you are not alone in that struggle.