In my first post I said: Depression. It is REAL. Mental health issues have often been misunderstood and there are still many who think those who suffer from it are just negative, whoa-is-me, sad people. I want to encourage those who are feeling lost, heavy, drowning or suffocating, probably all of the above, that there is HOPE.
I have struggled with depression off and on throughout my life. Although I think most people who know me, think of me as a happy and content person, I sometimes feel like a fake. On the outside, everything seems just peachy, but on the inside the darkness seems as if it may consume me completely.
After I had child number 4, I quickly seeped into a darkness that I battled on a daily basis. I kept myself busy to keep my mind off things and I smiled and went to church and was productive and all I wanted to do was not wake up in the morning. Even friends closest to me didn’t know how I was really feeling. At this time, we sold our home and moved to a new place for a better job opportunity . . . and then, twelve months later we sold everything we owned except minimal clothing and family mementos (and my husband’s baseball cards) and moved to the other side of the country to a new place for a better job opportunity. We move A LOT. In fact, in eighteen years of marriage, we have lived in 15 different residences. Some of those were meant to be short term, others just turned out that way.
After completely exhausting myself to avoid my feelings of hopelessness, I didn’t have the energy or desire to do much of anything. I was in a new state, even farther away from my family and I really felt that SILENCE was what I needed to make me feel better. We closed our home businesses when we moved, we sold most of our stuff so clutter was at a minimum. (You can’t fully get rid of it with four young children in the house!) I was not a part of any committees or boards. I didn’t even have a calling at my church! It was nice for a few weeks, but then it started to feel very lonely. I joined a gym and attended regularly because I just knew exercise would make me feel better. I played volleyball with a group of amazing women, because I needed some adult interaction. I volunteered for classroom parties because service always makes you feel good. But my depression continued to get worse.
I thought I had hit rock bottom, and then . . . we got bed bugs. That story is for another day. But it literally pushed me to a psychotic break. Luckily, I had met with a doctor the week before and we determined to start an anti-depressant. During this time though, it was the first time I ever considered admitting myself to the ER. My husband’s employer had an employee assistance program that offered five free counseling sessions. I had been contemplating making an appointment for months. But I was scared. I had even started to dial the phone number before, but chickened out. When deciding whether I needed to go to the ER, I decided to finally make the phone call for an appointment. The woman that answered had to ask a few questions to find the right placement for me. I explained that my feelings of depression were accelerating and I didn’t know what else to do. She kindly told me that I was doing the right thing and they would be happy to help me, but they couldn’t unless I ask. Instantly I felt a little weight come off my shoulders!
One thing I learned through this experience, is that everyone needs a counselor. You may think that you don’t, but everyone could benefit, learn and grow from meeting with a counselor. As humans we are created with emotions, we face conflict, we deal with moments of anxiety and fear. Most of us have never taken the time to really get to know ourselves, our passions and determine our best talents. A great marriage could still benefit from taking time to analyze how to make it better. This article explains more in depth what I am talking about.
If you have been considering asking for help, do it! If you can’t, have someone make the phone call for you. You will be so glad you did.