Tuesday, August 12, 2014

DAY 1081... Depression

The last post I wrote about depression changed my life dramatically. I was extremely discriminated against and forced to change my life in ways that maybe I wasn't ready to at the time. Since then, I have learned to accept the changes that were made and I have come to realize that the way that I was treated was wrong. Very wrong.

It may have been pregnancy hormones or it may have been the fact that the entire issue hit close to home for me because I understand the feelings and thoughts behind the actions, but learning about the death of Robin Williams yesterday was a tough thing for me. For me, it's a HUGE reminder that you never know what battles someone else is fighting and how someone may be truly feeling. I grew up watching Robin Williams movies. I absolutely love Hook, Jack, Patch Adams, Mrs. Doubtfire, and of course Aladdin. Of course I didn't know him personally, but I can relate to him and his battle with depression.

At 14 I was diagnosed with severe depression. It wasn't because my life wasn't great because it was. We had just built and moved into a beautiful new home. I had loving parents that helped me achieve my dreams. I was a cheerleader and I had a lot of friends. But I was still sad. I think know that I over think things and compare myself to others all too often, and I believe that this is something that led partly to my depression. Even though I had the world at my fingertips, it wasn't enough for me. Looking back at that breaks my heart now. I can only imagine what my parents were feeling when I was diagnosed and placed on medication. Or when they had to take me to my counseling sessions. As a parent now, I would be devastated for Aniston. It would break my heart to know that one of my children didn't understand or know their full potential. That my child was hurting and sad and nothing I could do could change that. I probably had the wrong attitude. Attitude is everything in case you didn't know. My Dad always told me that growing up and maybe I didn't understand it, or maybe I fought it because that's the kind of teenager I was. But the older I get the more I realize that Dad was kind of always right. Best day ever right Dad? My parents did everything that they could to help me, but I was still sad. I thought about sad things, I let myself and my mind travel to sad and scary places, and I denied myself so many wonderful opportunities during those times. High school was kind of a rough time for me.

As I grew older I learned my triggers. I learned solutions to my problems and how I could reach in and take my mind out of those sad and scary thoughts. I stopped taking medication because I believed that with proper brain training I could become happier and not dwell so much on things that didn't matter, but that made me sad, that I could be happy without medication. Plus let's be honest... the medication has awful side effects! Every. Single. One. I probably have been on them all. And this theory worked, most days. I still had days or moments of complete and utter sadness where even I didn't understand why I was feeling the way I felt. Keeping a thankful journal helped me to focus on the positives, but sometimes that only made the sadness more confusing because when I had so much to be thankful for, why was I feeling so stinking sad?

The older I got, the more I understood myself and my mind and depression. It got harder some days because I was getting older and not getting married. I feel as though there's a lot of pressure in my religion to marry early and quickly and to make babies fast, but that didn't happen for me. It didn't help when people would ask why I wasn't married or why my younger sister was married before I was. But I spent a lot of time thinking about my life and who I was and what I wanted and I decided that it was okay to be where I was. It was okay to wait for the person who would be perfect for me and it didn't matter what anyone else thought because it was my life and not their's. It took 25 years, but I eventually found that person who made me happy and who loved me for me. I considered myself lucky to get married at 25 and to have had the opportunity to graduate from college and to know who I was and what I wanted and to be able to learn how I could help others and make the lives of others better. I still struggled with depression after getting married. it's not the easiest thing to get married at 25 when you are kind of set in your ways and getting married is a crazy change, and change just happens to be one of my triggers. But Spencer works hard to understand my thoughts and depression even though he's never really struggled with depression himself. He works hard to know my triggers and read my body language and he knows what to do to help me pull myself out of those feelings. He's kind of great.

When I was experiencing the brutal time in my life known as Aniston's Pregnancy, being placed on bed rest and having IV's and PICC lines didn't help my depression. I eased my thoughts and sadness with preparing for my daughter and with the support of family and friends. It was tough and the thought of dealing with postpartum depression scared the heck out of me. But I talked with my doctor and let him know about my fears and we decided that we would watch carefully for the signs after I gave birth. Surprisingly, I didn't even experience anything close to what I thought I would have to. To be honest, since having Aniston I haven't experienced depression as often or as severely as I had in the past. Aniston helps me realize how blessed I am. She makes me smile everyday. Without even knowing it she has become my antidepressant.

I worry that after baby boy arrives that I may feel overwhelmed and be forced to face my depression again, but I feel as though I am prepared to deal with it. I have amazing family and friends who are there to help me. They want to help me, and that's something I never considered with I was younger. I was afraid to tell me about my depression and if I had only let them in, I might not have had to deal with the situations and feelings that I had because they were there to help me. They would have helped me, I just didn't understand.

Depression is nothing to be ashamed of. I understand the desire to hide depression because it seems as though it makes you weak. But it doesn't. If anything, dealing with depression and overcoming it makes you stronger than you ever imagined. I have battled depression half of my life and it has been hard. It's a trial that sneaks up on you when you least expect it and it can consume you and your life, but not if you stand up against it. Build your army with positive thoughts and realization of your blessings. Build your army with your family and friends. Let them in and help them to understand your triggers and what helps you to overcome your sadness. Don't be afraid to let people know that you just can't be alone for a day. People will help because you are loved. And if you feel like you have no one, that's not okay. You have someone, find that someone and let them in. You are not weak for facing your fears, you are stronger than ever. I love my army! They are my strength and my inspiration!

If you need someone to talk to or somewhere to turn or if you even have suicidal thoughts, even for an instant you can always contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK. There is always someone there for you. ALWAYS. There are so many resources that you can turn to that can build you up and strengthen you. Prayer, scripture, family, friends, hobbies, faith. Here is a fabulous article from LDS.org about suicide. The options and outlets and limitless.

Here's the kicker. You may open up to people and they may decide that they no longer want to be a part of your life. That's their loss not yours. You do not want to be surrounded by people who don't even want to try to understand you or who don't care enough about you to try to learn about your struggles. This will be hard. It will break your heart and you will probably find a great deal of sadness from that. But in the end, it doesn't matter about those people. They are not good enough to be in your life and they will not help you. It will test you though. But be strong and remember that you deserve more.

I feel blessed that I didn't succumb to depression and that I didn't take my sadness to the next level and end my life, because where I am now is amazing! It's definitely not the road I intended to travel, and some days it's still really hard, but my life is insanely blessed and amazing. I have a wonderful and loving husband, a beautiful daughter who makes me smile, a baby boy on the way who is kicking his way into my heart already, I am graduating with my masters degree next week, my husband is attending a great university and getting a wonderful education so that he can provide for our family. My parents live close by and offer their support and help daily. We are able to live close enough to Spencer's parents that we can visit them often and spend time with them frequently. I have a good job and we have strong and steady beliefs and religion. I am blessed. Maybe not the way I imagined, but our Heavenly Father has such a way of blessing our lives in ways we never could have imagined. I mean if I hadn't hung on and fought my sadness, I would have missed out on this beautiful moment with my beautiful girl today. A moment that I had never dream of, but have been blessed with.

The future is bright. I know this. I believe this, and I have been through the darkest of days. Life is going to be hard. Anyone who tells you their life is perfect and easy, hasn't been blessed with their trials or is just lying. It's just how it goes. I have considered giving it all up in the past, but I have learned to love myself and love the life I have, and that has made all the difference.

Be happy. Be strong. Be open. Be smart. And above all, be willing to love yourself and life. It always gets better. Life has the potential to give you your Happily Ever After if you just hang on and be strong. I know this because I lived it. I believe this because it's true.

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