Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Depression is real. You're not alone.

depression, anxiety, mental health, trust yourself, you're not alone,

Today is what I believe to be the second annual #DayOfLight.

This event was established to bring depression out of the darkness and into the light.

I wrote last year - with loads of resources and information and the perspective of someone who is an advocate for mental health.

I write this year with similar information, but the reminder that I know of what I speak.

Have I ever really been diagnosed with depression? No. Not really.

I've always fallen more on the anxiety side of the spectrum**.

I've never hesitated to discuss the anxiety I experienced during pregnancy.

The anxiety that kept me awake.

That rushed through my veins like the blood keeping me alive.


I'm fortunate.

Yes. Fortunate.

Fortunate that the anxiety that I experienced during my pregnancy set me up for awareness when my baby came. The awareness I needed to manage my emotions, moods, anxiety, triggers and then some. This awareness in conjunction with my doctors? Led me to a less anxious postpartum period.

Saying that isn't always easy. Sometimes I've felt "less than" in comparison to the many mamas out there opening themselves raw to share their stories. I admit it. And I know it's foolish. My word, my experience, my heart and my story? All mine. Their stories? All theirs. And that's okay.

But I've gone off on a bit of a tangent. That's not unusual. *wink*

I've talked freely about grief and loss. Written so much. So many words. Talked about the way I've struggled to bounce back after losing my father. The way that my heart hurts as I pine for more time.

The anniversary of my father's passing snuck up on me just as the weather began to change.

I knew it was coming. There was no way I could not.

And yet.

How to be prepared? How to find oneself ready to recognize an anniversary of time lost?

It's practically impossible.

I found myself trudging through.

I didn't really talk about it.

Didn't really write about it.

I held onto it.

Didn't let go.

It sucked.

I don't know that I'm past it yet.

Am I supposed to be?

Is it grief I am stuck in or am I depressed?

Do the two go hand in hand?

Does it matter whether I have a name for crawling back into bed and hiding beneath the covers?

An official diagnosis that represents why I want to avoid the phone calls that come during the day because I'm home. Alone. And I don't HAVE to talk to anyone. Do I need that name?

The sun hides and so do I.

I can't tell you the last time I went for a walk, even though I know, I KNOW I need to.

I've found other ways to work on my health. My fitness. Sure. It's not the fresh air I need, but it's SOMEthing.

It's still there.

I made it through the holidays.

Enjoyed them.

I did.

I'm lucky.

I have people who love me. 

Who need me.

Who support me.

And you do, too.

No matter how hard it seems. How much pain you might be experiencing. How much you want to keep the curtains closed and pull the blankets tightly around you.

You have people.

You're NOT alone.

Never alone.

Depression is rough.

And it's real.

Never let anyone make you feel otherwise.


Important resources:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
* Support is available 24/7. All calls are confidential.

Postpartum Support International: 1-800-944-4PPD (4773)
* email

Kristin Brooks Hope Center: 1-800-442-HOPE (4673)
* For Spanish speaking support: 1-800-SUICIDA (784-2432)

International Support: 
Befrienders Worldwide
Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention
International Association for Suicide Prevention

Online Chat Support:

Want to join in and post something for today's #DayOfLight? Find out how over at Pushing Lovely.

Because of the emotional content of this post I'm linking up today with Shell over at Things I Can't Say. Her weekly Pour Your Heart Out link-up is a place to go when you want to be heard and feel like someone is seeing your words. I thank her for that unconditionally supportive home when I have things like this I want to share.

** Note: Spectrum is a weird word. My husband and I were just discussing that last night, in fact. It has connotations of various illnesses and diagnoses, and makes people react differently when they hear it. Here I use it to represent depression and anxiety. Perhaps that's not a "spectrum" - but the word works. **


  1. Such an important post.

    I'm the same as you- not every really diagnosed, but that doesn't mean I don't have my times of feeling really down.

    I'm glad that you are making it through and that you have people around who love you. xo

  2. I have had depression since my early teens, and am now in my early 50's. It sucks. I really don't like that I have to take medication for it everyday, but I really, REALLY don't like what I am like if I don't.

    I've heard all the "you should just stop thinking like that" advice, which is about as useful as telling someone, "you should just tell those cancerous cells to go away".

    Thank you for this post, which I actually found through a Pinterest post on books. I know, weird, huh? :O) Mental illnesses should not be a source of shame, although a lot of people seem to think that way.

    The more people (are willing to) talk about mental illness, the less fear and misinformation there will be about it.

    Thanks again. Have a great week!

  3. I recently wrote about my own struggle with anxiety and depression on my blog. Your story reminds me so much of mine. Thank you for this, for helping to break the stigma of talking about mental illness. xo

  4. Grief vs. depression... don't think the label really matters, but they are both SO so very hard. As is the anxiety. All of it. I've been wishing for a few more labels lately too, though, in an attempt to understand more about what's going on, and maybe figure out some new solutions to move past it all (or at least validate that it isn't all in my head maybe?)...

    And I know this comment is late - I saw that you posted this, but never went back and read it. Your ticket giveaway gave me an excuse to come looking for it to comment here, because this had to be the one.

    Anyway... I love this post, and love you! I haven't been in a great place myself for a long time now, but we'll both get there some day! I need to come over and walk with you. Or get coffee. Or something. Sending hugs!

    1. All of a sudden my blog is allowing me to reply directly to comments. So perfect that yours is here when it is.

      Thank you so much for the love and the support. I hate that so many people are in the same place, but I also think that it helps to hear we're there together now and then.

      Miss you, my friend and I would love to see you any time you're free. XO

  5. I can see the signs of other people being depressed, and did not notice the signs in myself. There are so many people who have been in that dark, dark place. Thank you for sharing your story. It is needed for people to know they are not alone.


Comments are like air to a writer.

So please - say something - help me BREATHE!