Today’s #MeMonday post touches on a topic that is very close to my heart: depression. I battled with depression after becoming a teenage mom and being thrust into an unknown world years ago. I didn’t recognize it as depression; I just knew I didn’t want to participate in normal activities anymore. Sleep seemed more attractive to me than being awake. I was unhappy and crying a lot but in public, I maintained a facade of everything being okay. Life just wasn’t working for me. Nothing was going as I planned and I was tired of life.
I dropped my son off at daycare, kissed him goodbye, and planned to end my life. However certain events transpired that day I’m thankful for the events that transpired that day that prevented me from ending my life and motivated me to seek help and finally get a diagnosis of depression. I sought treatment, took medication for a period of time, and regained my mental wellbeing. I still battle with some symptoms of depression, especially during the winter season. This depression is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder and every winter it hits me. The important thing is I know the signs and symptoms, and all that I need to do during this time to maintain my mental health.
You can read more about my story and the steps I took to overcome my depression and my situation in my book, Rising Above Statistics: Success Against All Odds. This book is for anyone who is determined to succeed despite life’s challenges. This book will help you focus on you, your wellbeing, dreams, goals, and more. You can find out more about my book and get a free preview here.
On this #MeMonday, special guest Wrae Sanders, tells us about “The Reality of Depression” and how sometimes just a few kind words and your mere presence can go a long way. This post tells us about Wrae’s personal battle, but also her positive outlook on life and her determination to beat her depression. Read her post below, then head on over to her blog, Wrae Meredith Blogs and check out some of her other great posts.
The Reality of Depression
by Wrae Sanders
It’s easy to say that someone has “the blues” or they are just “lazy”, letting the world pass them by. It’s easy to look at that person from the outside and think they lay in bed all day because they just don’t want to do anything. They let the dishes pile up because they don’t want to them. It’s easier to judge than it is to understand and maybe even try to help.
The thing is, depression is real. It’s a chemical imbalance in the brain. It’s a diagnosable disorder in the DSM-V. Many insurance companies cover treatment for it, but yet people are shamed for seeking that treatment. There are many different medications for depression, and people are looked at as “weak” for taking them.
This is incredibly hard for me to understand. I’ve worked with people with such deep-seated depression that they had to undergo ECT (electroconvulsive treatment). It’s not like what you see on TV and in movies. The patient is monitored closely before and after treatment. It’s a last resort when other treatments haven’t worked. I’ve worked with people that haven’t showered in 3-4 days because they don’t care about themselves enough to do so. It’s heartbreaking.
I’ve also struggled half of my life with depression, in some way or another. It started when I was a teen, eased, and came back after the birth of my second child in 2006 in the form of Post-Partum Depression (PPD). This was a depression that I didn’t see coming, and I would not wish it on someone that I didn’t like. I didn’t want to do anything with my adorable baby or his 18-month-old brother. I just wanted to lay in bed and cry, and be left alone. This wasn’t right. I wanted to be a good mom to my babies, so I talked to my doctor. I was on medication until around my son’s first birthday, but it helped. I think his first smile also helped.
Years later, the depression came back when my marriage started falling apart- a deep, crushing depression that made it hard for me to get out of bed. I cried myself to sleep at night. I didn’t eat and lost 60 pounds from stress and depression. I blamed myself for everything. I felt horrible about myself. It took two years but that depression still lingers. This time, I found a therapist.
I am still in therapy and still struggle with bad days where the cloud hangs over me. I have a hard time brushing my teeth and taking a shower. Sometimes I sit in bed and mindlessly watch TV and play on my phone. I don’t answer emails. It’s rough. The reality is, depression isn’t something to be ashamed of. It is to be treated, not shamed. If you know someone that is depressed, check in on them frequently. Encourage them to take their medicine if they take them, but don’t nag. (That’s annoying, no matter who you are.) If they go to therapy, ask them how it’s going. Ask them if they want some help with chores or errands. Most of all, just BE there. Sometimes that’s all we need.
To learn more about the signs and symptoms of depression click here. This is not to serve as a substitute for a diagnosis by a medical professional. Should you experience any of the signs and symptoms on the list, please seek medical help asap.
Should you be contemplating ending you life, make the choice to live. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. There are people waiting to help you.
Thank you Wrae for sharing your story with us and reminding us of how important it is to take care of our mental health. Self-care is about complete total care, but often we focus so much on our physical care that we neglect our spiritual and mental health. On this #MeMonday, I encourage you to do something for your mental well-being. Read some inspirational or empowering quotes. Take a social media detox. Or simply find a place to have a few moments of alone time or practice some other form of self-care.
I would love to have you guest post on #MeMonday. If you would write posts that relate to self-care, self-love, productivity, even blogging topics, please see this form and explore how we can collaborate.
Have a business or brand that you would like featured? See if you have what it takes to be a MOcha Gem. I am looking for guests to feature on MOcha Gem Wednesdays. Submit this form if you would like to be the next #MOGW.
As always, I love to hear from you. Contact me with any questions or suggestions. Feel free to drop a comment below.
Until Next Time,
Wrae is a parenting/mental health blogger in Louisville, KY. She has a BA in Clinical Psychology and a decade in mental health work experience.
When she is not writing, she enjoys reading, true crime podcasts, and movies. She is married and has three children.