Real Talk About Depression
· Have constant mood swings.
· Are anxious all the time.
· Have trouble feeling joyous.
· Feel disconnected from your life.
· Hesitate to go outside and partake in physical activity.
· Feel rage.
· Have thoughts of hurting yourself or other people.
· If your life feels grey.
· If your thoughts are heavy and burdensome and it all feels like doomsday.
YOU MAY BE DEPRESSED AND SHOULD SEEK HELP.
1) Help is GOOD. There is honor in being self-aware and honest.
2) You will be okay – and this is not “just the way life is,” your brain is playing tricks on you. Depression is complicated, but it is science. Depression is not about will power.
My first bout with depression was in 2014. I had become a mama for the first time and my hormones fell through the floor.
Here’s what it felt like.
· I was disconnected from my daughter, and from my life. I was going through the motions, but nothing was really sinking in.
· I also felt very insecure. I constantly felt like my husband was going to go find someone better. I was really paranoid and sad. I would hold his shoulders and cry, “I’m scared you’re going to find someone better.”
· I would have horrible thoughts about my daughter dying. A LOT. They were terrible. I would imagine me hitting her head on a corner of a wall, or dropping her. The thoughts were horrific.
Everything looked great on the outside. I wore cute clothes. I worked out. I cooked meals. Nothing on the outside gave evidence to my interior thoughts or feelings. Three or four months into the depression, it lifted, and I wept. It was only then, only after it lifted, that I knew I had been depressed.
Depression is weird. It wears away at what is actually happening , and then it distorts it – until it’s so distorted – and you’re so far away from where you started – that it feels unreasonable to NOT BELIEVE YOUR THOUGHTS. You are sure, you are right. You are sure what you are seeing is true. You have collected all the evidence. You are right. Life sucks. Life is hard. Life is a battle. Life is grey.
BUT DEPRESSION IS A LIAR.
The second time I experienced depression was about 5 months after I became a mama for the second time.
We were on a family trip and my husband had sliced and cooked some hot dogs to eat with breakfast. Hot dogs are one of our girls’ favorite foods, and they are easy to cook and eat – so they are a family favorite.
I went to go serve myself hot dogs – and my husband suggested I eat the chicken he had made – since our girls would more readily eat the hot dogs throughout the day. (It’s important to note that we were staying on a farm, in rural Iowa, and the nearest grocery store was 30 minutes away.)
I raged on the inside but said nothing. I served myself every single piece of hot dog that was left and ate until I was uncomfortable.
Then I got into the shower, stood under the running water and sobbed.
The thoughts going through my head were, “He doesn’t think I deserve hot dogs! Am I not worth $8.00 of hot dogs? Does he not care about my needs?” On and on.
I came out of the shower, looked at him, admitting nothing – and said, “I’m not going to be as resilient today.” And he held me gently. We decided I would seek help when we returned.
A week later I told my OB/GYN the story and she said, “I’m glad you’re here. You need a lot of help.”
I didn’t know the Post-Partum Depression could be late onset – and since it felt different than the first time around – neither my husband or I flagged it.
This is what is felt like the second time around:
· I was short tempered. Very short tempered.
· I felt a lot of rage.
· I talked about being violent toward people who angered me.
· I had thoughts of my girls dying. All the time. The thoughts were all consuming – and they left me breathless.
· I would have serious anxiety attacks that manifested as coughing attacks, where I would cough so hard I would gag and it was hard to catch my breath.
· Nothing was ever “quite right.” I always had a reason to be angry.
Two times with depression, and if I’m being totally honest, maybe a third. Right now. It’s annoying and frustrating, because I know I am blessed. I love my husband. I love my girls. I am safe. I have a job I love – and yet, depression sneaks its way into my brain every night and I have terrible dreams. You know, the kind where they weigh on your body and mind and you wake up in a weird mood. So this time around, it looks and feels different.
Here is what is in my DEPRESSION TOOL BOX.
· Talk therapy with a LCSW and a Resonance Re-patterner.
· Prescription anti-depressants – prescribed through my OB/GYN
· Essential oils – I use these all the time to keep my body and emotion vibrating on a higher frequency. I am a big fan of Young Living oils.
· Exercise – I try to do some exercise, (alone – no kids), 4 times a week. One hour per session.
· Massages – getting a massage breaks up the fascia around your muscles and helps relieve tension. It doesn't have to be an expensive massage, just a massage.
· Getting some sun – getting some vitamin D helps boost my mood big time.
· Date night – alone time with my husband makes a huge difference for me.
· Alone time – MUST GET ALONE TIME. I need this to reset from all the frantic moments of the week. I try to go for a walk, listen to a podcast, do yoga.
. Get off my phone and social media. Being on my phone is not rest, it's the opposite of rest.
· Get chilly – If I am hot, I angrier. I’m so serious! Turn down the thermostat.
· Good food – eating organic and sustainable grown fruits and veggies makes a big difference for our body.
· Cut our sugar – Sugar is the devil. Sugar causes major hormonal and consequently mood swings.
. Time with God - praying, listening and connecting with God always grounds me.
It sounds like battling depression is a full-time job, right? Sometimes it is, and sometimes it isn’t. It’s more about a well-rounded way to approach life, and when I honor my body and mind, it returns the favor.
If you identify with any of the feelings above – I will help you get help. All you have to do it say, “Maybe I need help.” And then email me, I’ll hold your hand through it.
I have been there, it is weird. I know.
You are loved and you are worthy.
Don’t let depression convince you otherwise.