Depression can be a serious condition. It is a mental state that could lead to major consequences if professional treatment is not seeked. But how serious does the depression have to be? How do you know if you have the warning signs? These were questions I had asked myself when I too was feeling depressed.
How I was, before depression
I had always been an outgoing, energetic, friendly, funny, and very hard working gal. I had always worked more than 8 hours per day at my salaried employment. When I would get home, I would immediately start supper, then throw in a load of laundry. While supper was cooking, I would help the kids with their homework and tidy up the house if it needed it. I stayed busy until midnight or after. At 5:00 A.M., my morning would start all over again. I woke up every morning in a good mood and a smile on my face. Life was good…..then.
Noticing a change in behavior
When my family would come over, eat dinner and visit, my mother would constantly tell me to sit down. I was always preoccupied with serving everyone, keeping the counters clean and picking up after they were done eating. Never taking the time to sit down and visit with them. My mom always told me I had “bad nerves”, just like my grandma. She also said that I kept myself busy because it was “nervous energy”. Is there even such a thing? I didn’t think my nerves were bad. I might have been a little stressed out, but is that the same thing? This had been going on for several years. I never thought anymore about it.
I had been through some life changing events. We had purchased a new home, and I had given birth to my third child. This was supposed to be happy times. Instead, I noticed increased arguing over every little thing. Nothing of any importance. I was easily agitated and always had to have the last word. I was not in a good mood anymore. I didn’t smile or laugh like I used to. I blamed it on my spouse. I couldn’t see that I was changing, slowly.
As time went on, I became increasingly withdrawn. I would go to work, come home and barely had enough energy to start supper. I started disassociating myself with family and friends. Always being a neat freak, I stopped cleaning like I normally did. I took a leave of absence from my employer. I secluded myself from everyone and everything. I didn’t even go to the grocery store anymore. I stayed in the house, not wanting to go anywhere or talk with anyone, family included. I was living in a shell. I was finally secluded with nothing but my thoughts. It was ugly and I felt ugly. This wasn’t me, but I couldn’t see past what was happening, why it even happened or what had caused it to happen.
I’ve never been the type of person for telling my problems to anyone, especially my physician, with whom I had worked with. At this time, I knew I was battling depression. I assumed that I could handle it on my own. This went on for another year and a half. I got to the point, I didn’t even walk outside for a couple of months at a time. I was physically and mentally weak. I had extremely low self-esteem. I had finally hit rock bottom. I kept thinking, if I continue like this, what is going to happen to me? I knew my children needed their mom back. I mentally knew if I went back to work and became productive again, I would feel better about myself. But could I do this on my own? A couple of weeks had passed before I had my doctors appointment. Sitting in the waiting room, I was contemplating on whether or not I should discuss my feelings with him. I decided to tell him everything. I didn’t hold anything back. I was a shaky, tearful mess. Afterwards, I felt a sense of relief. I had finally been able to express myself. I had finally told someone who wouldn’t judge me. I continued following up with my physician so we could determine the underlying cause and begin to work on fixing the problem. He had prescribed me a low dose antidepressant to start.
I had continued on the low dose of antidepressant for approximately six months. I was engaging with my family and friends again. I was enjoying my spouse and children. I was going outdoors again and I no longer had mood swings. I began to feel like myself. I no longer take antidepressants, nor do I feel ashamed that I had to. I believe that sharing my emotions, getting my problems off my chest and confiding in someone, really saved my life. I had participated in my treatment. Noone should ever feel ashamed or afraid because they are dealing with depression. I had learned to never judge anyone, because you never know until you walk in their shoes. Depression can happen to anyone. No one is banned from this mental state. My depression stemmed from an underlying cause that had just been building up for years and I kept it bottled inside. I am now able to deal or disassociate myself from the cause. There are millions of citizens fighting the process every day. Severe depression can cause life altering altercations and actions, such as suicide. Seeking professional treatment early on helps you to continue a happy and productive life. I am so thankful to everyone who had supported me through that difficult time in my life.