Some women, myself included, do not like talking about certain matters that take place in their lives. We would rather internalize our thoughts and emotions in fear of how others will perceive us or the situation. Let's hide it, not expose it, sweep it under the rug, portray that we have it all together because we can't fall apart.
But that's not why we started this blog. We're here to talk about the many issues that affect us women. We're here to help each other and build a strong community of women and that means talking about everything, including the hard stuff.
Last week, a beautiful young woman ended her life. The response, from friends, in the newspaper indicated that she battled with depression for years.
This was the reason why my heart was sad and heavy.
I'm not asking to know the details of why it happened, but want to bring to light the topic of depression. By the way, the rest of this post will have nothing to do with her story and am not comparing my story to hers in any way. Let's be very clear about that. I do not know the specific battles she faced.
We are all fighting some kind of battle.
According to Wikipedia:
1. Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person's thoughts, behavior, feelings and sense of well-being. Depressed people may feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, worried, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, hurt, or restless. They may lose interest in activities that once were pleasurable, experience loss of appetite or overeating, have problems concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions, and may contemplate or attempt suicide. Insomnia, excessive sleeping, fatigue, loss of energy, or aches, pains, or digestive problems that are resistant to treatment may also be present.
2. Major depressive disorder (MDD) (also known as clinical depression, major depression, unipolar depression, unipolar disorder or recurrent depression in the case of repeated episodes) is a mental disorder characterized by episodes of all-encompassing low mood accompanied by low self-esteem and loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities.
Major depressive disorder is a disabling condition that adversely affects a person's family, work or school life, sleeping and eating habits, and general health.
The most common time of onset is between the ages of 20 and 30 years, with a later peak between 30 and 40 years.
Unfortunately, people who have not suffered from deep depression cannot understand it, sometimes cannot see it in others, cannot identify with it, and do not know how to handle it. It's easy for them to say, "Girl, pick yourself up and stop moping." or "Well, she is allowing this to happen to her." It's not that simple.
In 2006 I met my now husband, I was all but 24. Then in 2008 I sunk into a state of deep depression.
My brief story...
I met him with his 2 beautiful children, 9 and 11 at the time. Oh the issues we encountered and the expectations that were placed on me were incredible and the tension it created lead to an unhappy and depressed me and our brief break up in 2008. (blended family post coming soon!) After talking things through we decided to give it another go. A couple of months later, the news that he would give me would affect me for the rest of my life. While we were broken up, he met someone and had a brief encounter that resulted in her becoming pregnant. WOW! What a slap in the face! The news cut me in the stomach like a serrated knife. While, we still got married in December 2008, the next 3 1/2 years would be utter turmoil for me, for us. I was beyond crushed. On top of the issues we were already having, this was now added to the mix. I was severely broken and an even deeper depression moved in. We had a 1 year old at the time and my heart ached for her because I felt this wasn't fair to her nor to his other children. I cried and slept, cried and slept, cried and slept some more. I was angry at everyone. I was ashamed. I was revengeful. I was embarrassed. I was hurt to my core. I was angry at the woman. I was disappointed. I slowly pushed everyone away and just wanted to lay in bed. I became withdrawn and I stopped being a friend to my friends. I dragged on my job and became unconcerned and very forgetful of things. I didn't know how to handle the TKO (total knock out) I was served and I didn't handle it well - I look back and realize I didn't handle it at all. We got pregnant late 2009 and the entire pregnancy was like a blur. I always think to myself it's amazing that my son turned out to be such a beautiful, delightful, and spirited child during such a tumultuous time in my life. I continued to be depressed even after giving birth but still managed to carry on my daily routines, like a zombie with absolutely no motivation.
During my depression, I heard the things people said about me. I heard that people called me an ass for still getting married. I heard that I was a cruel and horrible person and somehow it was the woman who was the victim. The things I heard about myself were just as hard to deal with as the matter itself. The comments came from friends, family, acquaintances, and complete strangers who didn't even know me! I couldn't understand how and why people could be so cruel when this happened to me, I sank even deeper. It affected me big time and thoughts of not wanting to have to deal with any of it entered my mind. I went to therapy, in fact I went to 4 different therapists.
People do not realize the battles other people are fighting! They sit there and they judge when they have no clue. People do not recognize the affect they have indirectly on people's lives. I was able to pull through my depression but the sad reality is that many others don't!
Do you remember the nurse in England that committed suicide after two Australian radio hosts pranked the hospital in which the Duchess Kate Middleton had been admitted to? The scrutiny after that incident from the media all over the world was unfortunately too great for her to bare. All because she thought the person on the phone was the Queen! None of it was her fault, and we really don't know what other battles she may have been dealing with at the same time, but for her it was too much. How cruel and ruthless can we be?
For whatever reason some of us live for other people to validate us. We live by what others expect of us and we try to live up to their standards placed on us. We want to make sure we conform to what society dictates to us so that we are not "talked about". This is a serious problem. To me this can be one of the causes that lead people to become extremely unhappy and depressed. Depression can be hereditary, but often times a major event(s) in someones life can spark depression. Everyone is fighting a battle, no matter the size. It doesn't matter if you think their problems are smaller or bigger than yours, it's theirs. People don't need the added pressure during their difficult times. We ought to be supportive and uplifting. If you went through something similar, share it with that person that is going through it. You never know who needs to hear that someone else is going through it or have gone through it. I am sure there are many women walking around in a depressed and hopeless state, desperate to get out of it but don't know how. You're not alone. Making a connection with someone who can relate is the first step.
If it weren't for my husband (and of course my family), I'm not sure what state I would have continued in. My husband experienced deep depression earlier on in his life and knew it was happening to me. He is the most honest and compassionate person I know. And while it was hard to love him through it, it seemed like he was the only one who could pull me out of it even when he was having a hard time too.
For me to write this so publicly not only has my stomach in knots...lol...but it shows that I've come a long way. I continue to deal with it, it is a healing process, but I'm doing much better than I was before.
I hope this helps someone out there who may be experiencing or experienced a tough situation that catapulted them into a state of depression. Let's talk.
a healing Candilaria