To the Mother Wondering 'How Could I Be Depressed?'
For months you’ve been feeling the same way: sad, hopeless and tired. You figured you were just run down; taking care of the house, going to work and keeping up with the kids can be exhausting. But, you started calling into work more and more. You skipped more than just one or two basketball games a month. And you found yourself not wanting to leave your bed to prepare breakfast for your family. Finally, you decided enough was enough, and you talked to your doctor. He listened to your list of symptoms, noted how down you were and diagnosed you with depression.
Depression? How can this be? People with hard lives are depressed, and my life is easy. I have an amazing husband and wonderful children, a fulfilling job and a nice home. I get along with my family, and have a great group of friends. How could I be depressed?
These are the questions you asked yourself immediately after the diagnosis left the doctor’s mouth. You decided to stop by your local coffee shop, to use their wifi and do your own research to determine if this diagnosis is correct. After a few minutes of reading, you realize that you could, in fact, be depressed. You learn that depression affects everyone, and has no bias. You learn about how depression can affect a family, and worry for your own. You note that if left untreated, depression can cause you to lose your job, negatively affect your physical health and even cause suicidal thoughts.
Don’t be afraid of what you’ve learned. Take this information and use it to battle your newly diagnosed depression. Continue talking with your doctor about possible treatments; medication, therapy or holistic treatments. Tell your husband and your children about your diagnosis, and share with them what you’ve learned through your research. Ask them to understand, and be there for you to help you cope. Be honest with yourself; you are depressed. You feel a significantly smaller amount of joy than you used to, you laugh less and you rarely go out with friends. You are depressed, but you don’t have to remain that way.
Hang in there, it does get better. Through treatment, the symptoms of depression will subside. You will be feeling like your old self again in no time. But in order for that to be true, you have to follow the regimen suggested by your doctor; whether that’s taking medication, going to counseling, exercising regularly or taking a few things off of your plate until you feel better. Depression doesn’t just go away. It takes work to battle depression, but you can do it. You have a great support system; your kids, your husband and your girlfriends. Just be honest with them about your feelings so they can do their best to help you through. Be kind to yourself, depression is nothing to be ashamed of. It may change how you feel, but it can’t change who you are.
One last thing: You are not alone. It may feel that way, but I assure you everyone feels that way at first. You may feel that way until you work through it with your therapist, or connect with a community of individuals who also suffer from depression. And I encourage you to do that; find a support group of people just like you who are battling depression. Share your story, and listen to theirs; it will make you feel better. You are not alone in this battle. There is an army of individuals who suffer from the same thing you do, who will always understand and empathize. Seek out that army, and lead it in the fight against your newly diagnosed depression.
The Mighty is asking the following: Write a love letter to another person with your disability, disease or mental illness. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.