I’m so glad that people are speaking out more about mental health matters. It’s not something that those, who are already struggling enough, should feel that they need to hide.
I’m not ashamed, afraid, embarsssed, or too proud to say that I have struggled in this area; more than anyone could even know.
Years ago, I struggled with situational depression following a really tough period in my marriage. That was the first time I had ever dealt with it first hand. I continued to struggle with this type of depression, off and on, over a period of time. Then, I would notice that even if I began to feel better for a good period of time, as soon as the late fall and winter months approached, I would begin to feel the heaviness creep back in. I couldn’t decide if it was due to the fact that the troubled period (that I spoke of above) began around that time of year, or if it was what I had heard referred to as seasonal depression.
Stubborn and strong willed, determined to push through, and believing all would be well; I didn’t really talk with anyone about it or seek help. My doctor would pick up on “signs” and would tell me that I should try and take something that could help. I refused so many times, somehow feeling as though taking medicine would mean that I was weak or didn’t have enough faith. Finally, knowing that there is a very strong family history of depression, she insisted. I was diagnosed with clinical depression. I took the medicine and it helped, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of shame about having to rely on medicine to feel okay. I stopped taking it.
Fast forward to the accident that I was in, the one that killed my husband. I was physically hurt, but even when my wounds were healed, I had to face the invisible wounds in my head and heart. That has honestly been a process over the last seven years and is still ongoing. I was diagnosed with PTSD in addition to severe depression and anxiety.
With the help of my faith, the right kind of medication, and intentional work; I have learned to manage this quite well. There are some pretty big unprocessed things that still need my attention, but that’s okay. It’s a process and I’ve learned to value myself enough to make my mental health a priority.
I share this for no other reason than to add my voice to the ones that are speaking out about this very important issue. Awareness is key. I also want to help other people feel more comfortable with talking about their issues and reaching out for help.
Own your story. Speak your truth. Take care of you.