Wednesday, October 26, 2011

the great depression

"depression is the inability to construct a future." 
--rollo may
i've debated about writing this for a while now because its some pretty personal stuff, but as you may know by now, i am a person who needs to talk about things to work through them. 
i don't hold much back from you guys. 
writing is very cathartic for me, and i appreciate you all reading/listening.

so i've been battling depression for most of my adult life. 

i'm coming out about it. 

well. not that its a big secret or anything, especially to those who know me, but i find that there are so many preconceived notions and such an awful stigma about depression and mental illness in general that many people just don't talk about it. 
well, i'm gonna.

as a teenager, i lost my uncle to AIDS, & my grandfather to brain cancer; my parents separated, we moved school districts, and then my father died unexpectedly of a heart attack, two days before i began my junior year of high school. 
all of this happened within a three year span. 
talk about a mindfuck.
my mind didn't do the best job (understandably so) of handling all of this grief, loss, and change, and thus began my journey 
with depression.

my life did a total 180, and i found myself seeking out fulfillment in so many unhealthy avenues. my mom did the best she could with three kids and her own grief to take care of; i went to a therapist, and eventually rehab when my behavior became dangerous. you name it, i probably did it. but that hole just wouldn't fill. eventually i was able to hear God through all of my mess, and with the help of my family, i pulled myself up out of the muck and got on with my life. but its never been easy. that scared, heartbroken young girl is still in there, and from time to time, i have a tendency to let her 'drive' more than i should. 

i'm a member of the school of thought 
(as are many in the scientific/medical/peoplewhocanread community) that depression is an imbalance of serotonin in the brain.  
it is most definitely a mental illness.
its not always something which manifests in the 
"oh i am soooooooooo sad" variety. 
more often than not, for me, i become withdrawn 
(so not my personality; when i find myself not returning phone calls or emails, and not wanting to be around people, 
i know there's an issue); 
i become exhausted, my temper flares; i lose focus; 
i'm just not myself.  
it may take a while for me to have that moment of clarity 
when i realize that i may need to get back on the ol' "zo"

(zoloft has been the most successful drug/lifeline for me, although i have to say the last round i was on it, i literally couldn't cry; it was borderline hilarious.)

i'm a wife and mama now, and have been so unbelievably blessed with an amazing life--experiences which are very rare and beautiful, for which i'm so grateful--but in times of huge change (hellooooo, moving across the country, not really knowing anyone, and going after the big dream) i find myself fighting against slipping back into old patterns, being more impatient with my girls (and myself), and feeling my inner light dim, if you will. 

After battling this beast for over 15 years, i know what i need to do to take care of myself.
lesson one: if you are experiencing feelings of hopelessness, isolation, helplessness, mental & physical exhaustion, and overwhelming sadness, please don't ignore it, 
or try to self-medicate. 
find a therapist and a doctor who can help you. 

you are not alone. 
this is not your fault, and there is help available. 
hell, email me if you want to, we'll get through it together!

lesson two: just because you "feel better" doesn't mean you should voluntarily come off of your meds. 
so since this is an imbalance of this chemical in your brain, once it works and you get it all balanced out, the last thing you should do is stop it. at least not without talking with your doc first. oops. 

lesson three: do all you can to take care of yourself while finding the right doctor, therapist, meds, etc; i am exercising regularly (to produce natural serotonin! woohoo! its free!), eating healthily, getting enough rest, and trying to keep myself out of potentially risky situations. 
(i have a slight issue with impulse control, see; i once bought a baby chimp and a yellow lamborghini in an afternoon. 
what was i thinking? yellow? seriously???)

also: give yourself a break. find inspiration and motivation in whatever (healthy) means you can. 

so yeah. i've got it. i'm working through it. 
i'll have to keep working through it forever.
and that's ok.

life is a journey, right? a journey meant to be lived beautifully. and as such, we owe it to ourselves, to those who love us, and to the God who made us to live up to our fullest potential.
to fill the single, unique spot in the universe we were each created to fill.
if you're living life with depression, and you're not treating it, you can't really live your best life. 
the mind must be clear in order to hear the whispers of the universe which will help you find your path. 

thanks for indulging me in this post; it has been on my heart and i felt compelled to share this part of me with you.
back to snark tomorrow. :)


  1. Much love. Amen to the truth-telling.

  2. well said my dear
    this is my life
    chin up
    carry on
    take my meds

  3. Molly, I don't know you well enough to comment on anything but just frivolous things. But, that was so brave of you. And, especially coming from someone who is outwardly fun, funny, witty...I think that can help so people to know that even 'happy' people deal with depression.
    It sounds like life kicked you in the balls when you were a teenager, but you got through it, and you are a strong person.
    Have a great weekend,