Saturday, February 1, 2014

Hey you guys… I’m worried.

I know I haven’t been writing much. I’ve been in a consuming phase, spending a lot of time reading as I make my way through my third pregnancy and prepare for birth and a growing family. When I’m focused on taking information in, I don’t find a lot of energy or space for creating.

But this week, I feel I need to write. I need to share how worried I am for so many of us. In the past week, I’ve had heartbreaking conversations with no less than six different women who are suffering deeply from depression right now. In one week. Women from all over the country, from all different parts of my life. These women are hurting. They are struggling. They are crying out for help.

“I’m mad at the world. I feel so worthless.”

I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to do anything. Just cooking dinner is too hard.”

“My husband doesn’t get it. He just wants me to get happy but I don’t know how.”

“I’m terrified of how this is affecting my kids. I know this is affecting my kids.”

“How am I supposed to be a good mom when I can’t even function?”

“I get so angry. I’m irritable all the time. No matter how hard I try, the littlest things send me spinning.”

“I need help, but I don’t even know where to start… or where to find the time, money, or energy.”

I knew some of these women struggled with depression, but others I had no idea. These women are all different. Their stories are unique. They are mothers of young children and older children, single moms and married moms, step mothers, women who work outside of the home and those who do not. Some have children with unique needs. Some have high-stress jobs. For some their marriage is holding them together, and for others their marriage is another victim of their illness.

Their stories are all so different, and yet they find themselves in this black hole I know all too well. I’ve shared parts of my journey with depression before, though it has been quite some time since I’ve written about it. I haven’t meant to avoid the subject. The silence is most definitely not because I’m cured. It’s not because I don’t suffer anymore. It’s probably more because I felt like I might be writing the same things over and over. I thought people would tire of hearing my depressing depression story. I haven’t been writing about depression because I am not an inspiring success story, an “I kicked depression’s ass” story. I am the story of a woman who lives with depression daily. Some days it controls me. Other days I control it. But it never goes away. I see how it affects my husband and my marriage. I see how it affects my parenting and my children. I watch in horror as my son struggles with similar feelings, and I actively worry about the effects of my depression on my unborn baby (which, by the way, only brings more depression and anxiety).

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This week, I’ve been reminded that I am not alone. Clearly, I am very much not alone. Sometimes that’s a relief, but honestly, after a week like this, after listening to the raw and painful struggles of six fabulous women, I wish I was alone. I wish it was just me, because listening to their stories and being able to say “me too” isn’t enough. Listening to their hopelessness and fear and being unable to fix it is heartbreaking and infuriating. Of course, there are things we can do to fight depression, help depression, and maybe decrease depression, but they are not easy fixes. Medication, counseling, diet, exercise, meditation, yoga, herbs, essential oils, and lifestyle changes all can help in varying ways for varied people. But there are no easy answers. It’s not a one step fix. It’s a frustrating process of trial and error. When depression has knocked the wind out of you so that just cooking dinner is an impossible task, trying to fix yourself is an even more daunting one.

So this is me saying, dear mom who is depressed, you are not alone and I am not alone, but dammit I wish this wasn’t such a common experience. I’m so worried for those of us living like this. But, please do not be ashamed. Please don’t hide the hurt. What you’re feeling is real. The pain, the hurt, the sadness, the fatigue exhaustion, the anger, the irritability, the hopelessness. Whatever your depression feels like (because it is different for all of us and it can be so different day to day) is real. It’s not real in that it defines you, because you are not these feelings, you are so much more. But the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual effects of this illness are not all in your head. They are real. The way they feel like they are sucking the life out of you little by little, or sometimes in one giant woosh… it’s not just you, it’s not in your head.

I don’t have any dazzling advice or steps to recovery. I just have my sympathy and compassion. I’m still here. I still have depression. I’ll keep writing, and I’ll keep listening.

 

Here are some things (recent and older) around the internet that have touched my heart:

Strange and Beautiful from the Bloggess

Nest Comic This image has circulated all over social media, but I didn’t get permission and don’t want to share it here without that permission. But this is one I want everyone who loves someone with depression to see. When there’s nothing else you can do, this means so much.

Here is the face of a mom with depression from Honest Mom

To Write Love on Her Arms In their words they are “a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide”. I love their blog, instagram, and their store. I especially love some of their shirts, like this one I got for a friend recently.

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7 comments:

  1. Fantastic post, and I completely relate. I wish I was the only one, or that I could write without writing the same things. but thanks for writing, again, and it IS important for us to hear that we're not the "only" one, again and again.

    And I love the nest comic too. It's absolutely perfect.

    Emily
    www.weakandloved.com
    and http://www.weakandloved.com/p/depression.html

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  2. It is so heartbreaking to know how many women feel this way, yet some how even though I know I'm not alone in this battle I feel like I am. The hardest days for me are the days I can feel it controlling me yet I don't know what triggered it that day and most of the time I can't even put into words how I feel. Trying to find ways to "snap" out of it have become such a challenge and what once worked doesn't anymore. Talking about depression even in this day and age is so hard. People who don't deal with have no clue what it's like. I suffer from depression and anxiety but I rarely talk about it. Talking about is so very hard especially when you over hear people talking about it as if it was something that is our choice to control, or you have the people who say your not having enough faith or I'm not giving it to God. How does one respond to that. I know for me I don't, I can't and I end up crawling into a hole within me but put a big happy smile on my face and fake it till I'm alone. Thank you for this post, for being real.

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  3. thanks for talking about it, so many women suffer in silence.

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  4. Thank you for posting this. Depression has plagued my family for years. It does help knowing we are not alone in it!

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  5. I'm sorry you suffer with depression that never goes away. I have never been comforted by hearing stories of others suffering or knowing people who are also suffering either. I would never wish what my family has been through (or worse) on anyone. I hope you get some relief soon.

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  6. Thank you for continuing to talk.
    I have carried this post with me all week, and it inspired one of my own.
    http://www.weakandloved.com/2014/02/still-talking-about-depression.html

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  7. Found your blog today. I, too, deal with the ugliness of depression; the tenacity of it. We've been through a lot, my family and me. I post about it occasionally because I want people to know that it does not go away. It's quiet for long stretches at a time, but it never leaves me completely. I want people - women - to know that if they are dealing with it, they are not alone. We cannot, those of us who have depression, deal with it alone. It does not work. We need each other.

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