Since November I’ve been dealing with bouts of depression. Yes, that’s the D word people often do not want to speak on because the stigma of it all. I don’t want to speak on it because the ‘ole, what will people think comes into play, as if it screams something is wrong with me. I deal with it in waves, but most recently as a freak of an injury started getting worse, so too was my depression.
I had a boot on my foot by December and it felt like a boot on my life. The more pain I had, and less that I could do, the more I let it affect me. Then add in the holidays and regular life stressors, I was a big ‘ole bag of emotions. When depression hits, it affects what I need to do for myself and what I like to do, such as my blogging. I start procrastinating, I often feel tired and I’m searching for words that won’t come. Then I feel bad because I haven’t posted in a long time, that I’m not doing more in my advocacy and BOOM, I’m the hamster on the wheel.
But one day I needed to remind myself of why I started this blog. It wasn’t for me to be perfect in how I run it, but to inform, to provide resources, and most importantly to share my journey. Warts and all, whether as a caregiver or not, depression has been a thread through it all.
When I was caring for my mom, I started seeing a therapist. I knew I needed to speak to someone other than my friends, and my dog. I needed coping skills, but most importantly I needed to talk and release. I didn’t think I was depressed. My therapist said I was, I disagreed, she was right. Depression doesn’t always manifest in being sad or down. Even though I wasn’t those things, being mom’s caregiver was all consuming, and in moving forward towards those things that I could move forward to, I didn’t. I was stuck and that feeling of being stuck is a form of depression.
I still deal with the loss of my mom, my Polo, my dad (even though it’s been 22 years), and the loss of the life I had. I allowed myself to fall into the gloom of feeling less than because my life isn’t what I wish it to be, and it’s taken a toll. Most days moving from the fog appears be a bigger challenge that I care to tackle. I’m uncomfortable where I’m at and yet challenged to get unstuck….oh depression. But they say, “your thoughts become things” and for change to happen, I have to work on how I think about things.
Now I won’t dismiss anti-depressants because I’ve been on them too, they work and I’m considering them again. I’m addressing this because there are some people who are of the “no drugs for me” policy, but I say one shouldn’t judge and you have to do what gets you feeling good and functional.
A big difference for me these past years is that I can feel the wave of depression coming on. I can’t always stop it, but I acknowledge it, and ride it through and let the emotional chips fall where they may.
Thankfully, as I write this today, I am in a lighter place. Pains have started easing in one area, and though I’m still dealing with other health issues, I’m working to get out of my feels and into a it’s now or never mode. I also intend on getting another therapist. It’s been years since I’ve gone regularly and it can only help as I move forward. I recommend therapy for anyone whether you’re going through something or not. It helps to have another opinion, another outlet and/or voice of reasoning. It’s important to take any steps you can for optimal mental and physical wellness.
I wish you well on your mental health and wealth journey.
If you have questions about mental health issues including:
- Symptoms of mental health conditions
- Treatment options
- Local support groups and services
- Education programs
- Helping family members get treatment
- Programs to help find jobs
- Legal issues (the NAMI Legal Resource Service can connect individuals with attorneys in their area but does not have the resources to provide individual representation)
Contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) who can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 am–6 pm, ET; 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline (open 24/7): 1-800-273-8255.
Samaritans 24 Hour Crisis Hotline (open 24/7): 212-673-3000
United Way Helpline (which can help you find a therapist, healthcare, or basic necessities): 800-233-4357