My relationship with depression started 11 years ago when I gave birth to my first child. I could not believe that the main reason for my happiness could be as well my main reason of unhappiness. The lack of sleep, the combination of my inexperience on baby issues plus my emotional roller coaster contributed to this anxious, scary, uncertain and desperate state of loneliness where I was standing. The most terrifying feeling was the uncertainty on whether it was going to be a permanent state of mind and I was really getting crazy thinking if someday that feeling will eventually go away. I was ashamed to tell anyone my feelings and back then I decided to shut down my emotions and silently suffer this emptiness. Months later I realized this was a temporary phase and that made me overcome, in a way, my second encounter with depression when my second baby arrived. "Baby blues" they called it but for me, was more like a black cloud that was disturbing my happy family life.
Since I only had two girls I thought my depression phases were over and I suddenly forgot about these two episodes. How wrong was I when I realized this awful state of mind came back recently, eight months ago to be exact. I then realized I had no choice but to face my emotions and try to kick out this monster that can slowly ruin my peace. I did not recognize it right away. We, who have been in this unfortunate journey, try to mask it and try to find an explanation on temporary mood swings and low energy. The first thing we do is to deny it and try to hide it as much as possible. We do not want to worry our family but then you get into a place where you cannot give anymore excuses... it is time for us to seek help and leave this feeling that consummates our well being.
If so far through this reading you have felt identified it is now time for me to remind you why we need to overcome depression and for you to acknowledge your situation and seek help. I know it is not an easy thing to say and it is more complicated that that, BUT, if you think about it, attitude is 80 percent of the hope. It is our time to be conscious and recognize that:
1) This is not who you really are. There is always something or some way that will lead you to the real you. If you are able to recognize that this is transitory then you have most of the situation under control. This is temporary, your body is adjusting and we need to listen to it and find out what is it that we need.
2) You do not need to feel ashamed and/or guilty. This situation is not a condition you wanted to have and you should not be hiding it at all. It is exhaustive to try to pretend your feelings to avoid being judged by others. There is nothing to be ashamed of at all. Our ego is so huge that we get blind whenever there are situations in which we definitely need the help of others. Ask for help, you will always know who to contact and when. No one has the right to judge you. Do not give people that power over you.
3) There is so much to enjoy out there, a diversity of hobbies that you have to try, different types of food that you have to taste, different places to discover, and the list goes on and on and so on. Be present and enjoy every little second of your life and surroundings, the sunset, the rain, that tennis match you love to watch and even a bad day. Take more and more advantage of those moments in which you feel thankful and happy and try to give a switch to your mood. You may see that overcoming depression is much more easier.
4) Your family and friends need you, and you need them as well. As I mentioned before, when in depression we tend to isolate to hide our condition and it separates us from our friends and family when what we really need is all their support and company to deal with it. Even though at the beginning you tend to separate from the rest try to at least to keep someone close to you. We may be depressed but at some point we are conscious and know that with some of our will we can cooperate even though we feel we do not have the power and mood to do certain stuff.
5) YOU -- You are the most important reason. Even though it costs you, try and try and try again to fall in love back again with yourself. Work on those areas that are most probably contributing to your depression. What a great moment to start nurturing you again and recognize what makes you happy and what makes you feel good.
Keep in mind that depression may vary on degree and at some point medical help may be needed. It is not an easy journey, however, I am pretty sure that with love, attitude and a healthy lifestyle this shadow can be left in the past for sure.
If you -- or someone you know -- need help, please call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you are outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of international resources.