Depression. So what is Depression exactly? A feeling of sadness? Anxiety? Hopelessness? Negativity? Feeling despondent?
Until about eight months ago I would not have been able to answer this question. As a very strong-willed, positive and determined person, I never grasped the concept of depression. My response to any who claimed to be depressed was to “get up and shake it off”. Kind of like a stop-feeling-sorry-for-yourself attitude.
Picture the scenario: Monday 1 August 2016 (it had to be a Monday!), sitting at work in front of my computer and I start crying. No, let me re-phrase… balling my eyes out, for a reason I do not even know. The tears just wouldn’t stop. Like a tap with no shutter. I have to admit I am a very sensitive person and I do cry easily for “little” things, but there wasn’t anything to spur on this meltdown.
Eventually I realise something is amiss and decide to go to my GP. My Doc asks “So what’s going on?” to which I respond through tears, “I don’t know. I can’t stop crying”. After a few tests (including pregnancy and hormonal tests) and an assessment, he says that I have Mild Depression and subscribes some anti-depressant medication. I leave (still crying) and am told to come back in 2 weeks for a check-up.
I tried to understand what lead to this. I will admit that the months leading up to that day were extremely up and down, and my life was a whirlwind of change. In March of 2016 I left my job that I had been in for over 6 years, and started a new one with much more responsibility (and of course stress). My workload left little time for life to be enjoyed, and was coupled with worry and sleepless nights.
I was also planning my wedding during the first part of the year, and the stress that comes with that is also quite a heavy load- finances, ensuring everything is in place and so on…
By the time August rolled around, I was “down in the dumps”. Bad days at the office were more frequent than good days, and everyday was harder than the previous. All the wedding excitement and being surrounded by family and friends had also disappeared, and life was now back to “normal”.
My relationships were suffering because of this state I was in. As a newly wed, you would expect that my husband and I would have been in our honeymoon phase, but this was not the case. On a typical day I would come home, do work, go to bed and not sleep, wake up groggy, go to work, stress, cry, complain to my husband, and repeat that all over again. I rarely saw my friends because in my spare time I wanted to curl up and not face the world. I never exercised or ate properly, because you just don’t see the point in doing these things when you are depressed. Moreover, you don’t care!
After 2 weeks on “happy pills”, I will admit I felt a lot better. I was chirpier, happier, more focused and productive, and even enjoyed (sometimes loved) the work I was doing. Doc also saw this improvement.
Fast forward two months and I decided that I don’t want to be reliant on medication any longer so stopped taking the pills (please don’t get me wrong, in many cases medication is necessary and sometimes the best thing you can do to help yourself). I knew the reasons I was feeling this way and what had lead up to this point, and I made steps to change.
I made the leap to start my on marketing company (www.throughthelinemarketing.co.za if you need any marketing! lol) and freelance. I also started teach swimming which is another passion of mine that I didn’t have much time for.
I have vowed never to make work a priority over my health and relationships. Ever.
I still battle with many challenges in life, but let’s be honest, whose life is all roses and no thorns? I just know that I will never allow myself to get to that point again. I also now know not to judge anyone who is depressed. If I had MILD Depression, I would hate to know what it would be like to have Major Depression from a traumatic life experience or loss.
If you are suffering with depression in any way, you need to know that you are not alone and that no situation lasts forever. As a Christian, I decided to find some scriptures that may help you to get through this:
8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.
3 But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
11 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.
1 Peter 5:6-7
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
1 Peter 4:12-13
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
For people who suffer from depression and depressive disorders and self-medicate with drugs or alcohol to alleviate the symptoms of this illness, please get help! You do not have to fight this alone…
Read more about it here:
Please share your story with me.