My friend Sunny recently posted about her experience with depression on Facebook. What she had to say was so real, so authentic, and so moving, that I asked her if I could post it here. So many of us deal with this. As Sunny says,
You are not alone!
Thank you, Sunny Jones, for your willingness to share your experience, strength, and hope with others.
"Those of you who know me closely and/or have lived with me know I struggle with depression. It's mostly cyclical and a part of me always "knows" that it's not real but in the moment it feels very, very real. Much of what I deal with is self-esteem/self-image issues. I'm too fat, I'm not good enough, I'm not enough period, etc. You know...the stories.I'm not sharing this to ask for pity or a hand. I'm sharing because I want to tell you its no joke. Its real. So many of us deal with it. I'm grateful that for me it mostly isn't full time and that I get some relief. I can't imagine what it would feel like if it was 24/7.
Self-care helps. Yet, I struggle with knowing when I need self-care or even what that self-care is. Meditation, eating right, exercising, reaching out to those that love you and don't judge you helps, medication can help (although this last round it didn't...it made it much, much worse), counseling can help.
If you are struggling with this and it feels like the end of the road please, please reach out! People love you! If you are person that someone reaches out to...don't try to rationalize them back into reality. Certainly do share the good things in their life with them. But, remember many of us get it but those "mental gremlins" as my girlfriend calls them cannot be rationalized. They are a black hole that don't want to listen.
I'm at the tail-end (hopefully) of one of the worst experiences I have had with this so I'm not sure my rambling above makes sense but I've felt compelled to share.
So many of us are struggling and feel shame or are afraid to tell those around us...afraid to be vulnerable in our greatest time of desperation...especially when it feels like life isn't worth living...and we know it's not true but it certainly feels that way.
Reach out if you need it. Reach out if you know someone else needs it. Sometimes it's as simple as a hug at lunch when you are feeling overwhelmed. And, sometimes it takes much, much more. That's okay too."
I recently came across this infographic on Pinterest, and thought I would share it. The pictures are of brain scans, showing the differences between people with a diagnosis vs. those without.
It is a good reminder that we need to take the stigma away from mental illness. So many of my clients share their stories about the shame of struggling with mental health challenges.
Sometimes, pictures like this help us to realize that what we are experiencing isn't something that is "made up," "annoying," or something one can just "get over" with the snap of a finger (wouldn't that be nice....).
The reality is that many of us struggle or have struggled with mental health challenges (including me!). 1 out of every 4 adults suffers from a diagnosable mental illness any given year. We are not alone. Help is available! There is hope.
Hope you all are having a great week!
I was so devestated to hear the news about Robin Williams. He brought so much joy to so many people's lives. He will be dearly missed. In the wake of so many converstations going on since his death, I would like to share this article with you. It is indeed time to stop calling suicide victims selfish.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
As you probably know if you have ever experienced depression, it can be a vicious cycle. Getting out of bed, taking a shower, walking out of the front door can be a challenge. The less you do, the harder it is to be motivated. The harder it is to be motivated, the less you do. It can be hard to find the motivation to do anything. And, everything can seem complicated. I like this infographic, because it not only shows sources of motivation, but also gives a quick "what to do" in order to help find some motivation. Wishing you well. Let me know if I can be of assistance on your journey.
As many of you know, I have not accepted new clients for the past several months. I had my second child in May. I did things differently my second time around, and what a difference it has made! With my first child, I experienced postpartum depression. This time, I was able to prepare myself throughout the pregnancy and make some different decisions to promote my mental health. And this time around, things are going great!
I have been reminded throughout this process that we all do the best we can. With each new experience, we gain more information and wisdom. And with that additional information, we are able to make better decisions. Know that whatever path you are on right now, you are doing the best you can. If you would like some additional support along your journey, feel free to contact me. I am now accepting new clients!
Amber is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker. She offers counseling for individual adults and clinical supervision for social workers. For fun, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, researching genealogy, reading, and dragon boating.
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