Yes, I am depressed. No, that doesn’t mean I am never happy..

I’m shocked like everyone else is about the passing of Robin Williams. It wasn’t until I looked at his bio in IMDB that I realized just HOW MANY awesome movies he was in. My favorite is probably Good Will Hunting. Or August Rush.  I just watched The Butler last week and dang if he wasn’t in that, too! From a fan’s perspective, Robin looked to have it all, didn’t he? A great, lengthy career, a loving family, not to mention how we assume he didn’t carry financial woes or burdens. Right?

Truth is, we don’t know- but out here in cyberland, we think we know, and we judge. Why’d he kill himself? Depression kills. Suicide is the escape of depression. I’ve read the comments in the news, blogs, and social media posts. So heartbreaking. We judge something that we know nothing about.

Many of us have had some sort of experience with depression, whether it’s with a friend, a family member, or in ourselves.

In my case, I have plenty of friends who deal with depression. And they have a friend who deals with it, too. That would be me. That may or may not be a surprise to some. I am a pretty positive person. I find the happiness in things most of the time. I am not a Debbie Downer often.
On the outside.

But on the inside I am quite different. There have been thoughts in my head throughout  my life  that would worry the hell out of anybody. BUT- before you go signing me up for mental health assistance- take note that I did that years ago:)

I consider my battle with depression to be mild. I don’t want to hurt myself or other people. Often, depressed people have a hard time finding the positives in life. They may have had a traumatic event occur.  The loss of a child, a sibling, a parent…  Though my depression seemed to magnify when my father passed away, it started earlier in my life, after having my first child.  Everyone called it the “baby blues” and that I should suck it up.  Postpartum Depression. It’ll go away. That baby is now 23 years old.  And the depression didn’t go away.  It just changed.   My emotions ran high and very low for several years.  Then I lost my Dad. And I was pregnant with baby #2 when we lost him.  Talk about an emotional roller coaster…mourn the loss of a hero, but feel elation over the new life my husband and created.

I took anti-depressants for depression from the late 90’s on a sporadic basis from then until now.  Unfortunately,  I let the opinion of others in my life  influence my decision to get off the meds.  I would later find that going off of them was a poor decision.  I didn’t like the person I was without them.  I’m completely comfortable sharing this information with anyone reading because I think it’s better to share the face of depression so people know what it is.  Depression has a face and a name, people. It could be  your neighbor, your friend, your pastor, accountant, ANYONE can suffer from depression.  Nobody’s exempt from this horrible illness. We don’t all wear name tags that say “Hi- my name is Depression”.

But just because I am sharing my account of depression doesn’t mean I want you to worry for me.  I am a happy girl!  I found the right balance of medicine and feel peaceful.  I am not crazy.  I don’t talk to trees nor do I hear voices…I am just your run of the mill-every day mom, wife, friend, daughter, sister who happens to feel overcome with sadness at times. I see a doctor and am well.

Depression feels like a nap from which you never wake. Depressed people don’t just “snap out of it”. It’s a chemical thing.  Depressed people DO find happiness in things.  “What do you possibly have to be depressed about?” Is totally the wrong thing to ask a depressed person.  We don’t CHOOSE to be depressed.  We just are.  Depression influences others, too.  If I am having a day where I feel particularly overwhelmed, I go to bed and isolate myself from others.  That’s not something that happens often.  It’s just how I deal with it. And I cry.  But I cry at the mere mention of the WORD cry…and I cry over happy things, too. I am just one big bundle of emotions:)  But all of this takes it’s toll on my family. They don’t like to see me sad.  I have found the right balance with medicine and activity.  If I go too long without a walk, boxing, treadmill, etc….I get down. Activity makes me feel better. The medicine helps enhance my mood.

So- having said this, after reading it, do you feel like you gained any insight into what depression is?  Do you have a loved one or friend who has mentioned being depressed?  DO YOU feel depressed? If you answered yes to either of these, I want you to get some help.  “Help” does not always mean medicine. But do keep in mind that medicine CAN help.  When I say seek  help, it could be just talking to someone.  A counselor. A pastor. A family member. A friend.  Just don’t keep letting yourself feel hopeless because there IS hope.  You just need help in finding it again.

KNOW the symptoms- feelings of loss, hopelessness, overwhelming emotions.  Depression can be managed! Please don’t think that all depressed people are suicidal.  I know without a doubt that I am not:)

If you know someone who would benefit from this Suicide Prevention link, please, please share it.

http://www.afsp.org/understanding-suicide/risk-factors-and-warning-signs

Depression Symptoms:

Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
Fatigue and decreased energy
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
Irritability, restlessness
Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable
Overeating or appetite loss
Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

 

Thanks for coming by and reading.  My heart breaks for Robin Williams’ family.  I hope wherever Robin is now, that he found in death  what he couldn’t find here in life- peace.

XOXO
Dawn

 

 

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