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How I Rediscovered Who I Am and What I Need After a Major Depressive Episode

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A little over a year ago I quit my job. I woke up one day and couldn’t face going to work. It was an average day, during a “normal” period in my life. While I had just suffered a miscarriage, I was healing and moving forward as best as I could. There were no medical catastrophes occurring in my children’s lives, my marriage was is a good place and my mental health should have been too.  But it was not.

I woke up one day, got ready for work, sat down on my bed and cried. I cried for a good 20 minutes, waking up my husband to ask him what to do. He suggested that I needed a mental health day. So, I called my boss and told her I needed the day off and went back to bed. I went back to bed for three days.

On the second day, my husband, now worried about me, called my psychiatrist. He urged me to go see my therapist, which I eventually did. But it took everything in me to get up and out the door. At this point, I hadn’t been to work in four days. I managed to call my boss each day and tell her I wouldn’t be in so I didn’t “no call, no show.”  I planned on returning to work one day — I just wasn’t sure when that would be.

I saw my therapist three times a week for the next two weeks. It was painful getting out of the bed to see her, and while I managed to go to therapy, I did little else. All I could do was cry, sleep and breathe. Unsuspectingly and without warning, I found myself immersed in darkness, battling a major depressive episode and fearing the manic episode that generally follows.

After three weeks of not going to work, my therapist and my psychiatrist wrote me out on disability for the foreseeable future due to a major depressive episode. The same day the paperwork went through to human resources allowing me a leave of absence, I quit my job. I was unwilling to leave them shorthanded, when another more qualified and mentally stable individual could fill my position. While I understood that disability laws protected my employment, I made a choice and left. After a significant amount of therapy, I would come to realize I was too embarrassed to return to my old employer. So I ran and haven’t looked back.

A little over a year ago, I quietly broke down, emotionally and mentally. A little over a year ago, I quit my job, once again becoming a stay-at-home mother to two children with medical needs. A little over a year ago, I lost myself. But in that year an amazing thing happened — I found myself again.

After months of therapy, I have come to realize that the stressful nature of working with individuals with medical and developmental needs was too much for me. I have come to terms, as best as I can, with the miscarriage that triggered my depression and the one that followed eight months later. I have finally admitted to myself that the demands of caring for my two young children with medical needs is too much to handle on my own. Through therapy, I have worked hard to develop healthy coping skills and manage my stress in a productive manner. Rather than repressing my emotions, I am opening up about my feelings to others, and more importantly, to myself. Finally, a year later, I have rediscovered who I am and what I need.

In recent weeks, I have begun perusing online employment opportunities, even filling out a few applications. I have yet to submit one. I have begun brainstorming what I want to do now — in five years and in ten years. I still do not know what that is, but I’m trying to figure it out. I have spoken in depth to my therapist about managing my stress levels and what that would look like when I return to work. Tonight, I worked on my resume and cover letter, and maybe, just maybe, when tomorrow comes, I will be one step closer to hitting send.

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Originally published: July 31, 2017
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