Living with Depression
I live a pretty happy life most days. I always try to see the glass half full and always try to reflect positivity over negativity. Because I'm always smiling and happy, people often don't believe I live with depression, but I do. (I don't want to say I'm "suffering from depression" because I am surviving and living with it.)
Depression isn't just a sad day or moment. It isn't my monthly cycle messing my emotions and hormones. For me, it's a black tunnel that most days stays at my back but not always. You see, some days I feel like I'm trapped in that tunnel. I may be at the opening and can still see the lighted way out, but other days, I'm trapped deep inside and can't see the light any more.
Since the miscarriage and subsequent cancer scare and surgery, I feel like I'm stuck in the middle of that tunnel. I keep trying to find my way out, but I don't know if I'm moving toward the light or further into darkness. Anxiety over hospital and doctor bills keeps me from fully relaxing. More and more of my friends and family are popping up pregnant, which makes me feel like a failure as a woman. (BTW, the time to tell someone you are expecting is NOT when they are talking about their miscarriage. Have some courtesy and sense people. This has happened to me MULTIPLE times and I have sobbed afterward. Every. Single. Bleeping. Time.) I'm working solely from home for another week and while I love being with my husband every day, I feel so disconnected from my co-workers that simply working is becoming hard. We have invited roughly 100 people to our delayed wedding reception (we got married at the courthouse in November) and only 28 people are coming thus far with the RSVP deadline being this week. And these are just the highlights of what is dragging me deeper into that dark tunnel.
Because this isn't my first rodeo, I've been taking steps to make sure I don't sink so far that I can't find my way back. I know I can't go back on antidepressants. The last time I did, they helped but I still suffer from the side effects from coming off them 5 years later. So the steps I am taking do not include a prescription.
(I'm not a doctor, please do not take what I'm about to say as medical advice. What follows is how I'm dealing with my depression. If you are feeling symptoms of depression, please seek professional assistance. Also, affiliate links to follow.)
How I Handle Living with Depression
1. Supplements. I take a dose of SAM-e every morning at least 30 minutes before breakfast. I've tried St. John's Wort in the past but I developed a tolerance quickly, so I skip this herb. If it works for you, great! But for me, it's SAM-e. (I use Nature Made SAM-e Complete 400 mg.)
|My Wonder Woman notebook in use!|
2. Self-Care. I am not the best at this right now, but I do practice self-care. I meditate, journal, read, move my body, etc. Currently I'm working on my "I am Strong and Powerful" journal, filling my Wonder Woman notebook full of words and quotes that make me feel empowered.
3. Talk with Someone. Prior to realizing I was going down my dark tunnel, I had already informed my hubby that I could become depressed over losing the baby. After my surgery, I noticed my former, happy self was slipping away. I immediately told him my concern and that I wanted to go back on the SAM-e. Even yesterday, when I felt like everything was crumbling, I told him. Each time I've told my husband that my mental state wasn't right, he has listened, offered suggestions and funny faces, hugged me tight and made me feel better, if only for that moment. Talk to someone, anyone, who you can connect with. Just make sure they are there for you 100% and ready to listen or you may feel more defeated afterward.
4. Focus on the Good. I'm not sad, I'm depressed. There is a difference. So in the moments when I'm laughing, dancing, playing with the animals or just smiling, I try to hold on to those happy moments. When I start sinking again, I try to focus on those recent happy moments.
5. Track my Day. I use a habit tracker to make sure I take care of important tasks on my non-dark days but right now I'm focusing on tracking the basics- brushing my teeth, taking my supplements, going outside, etc. I even rate my overall day on a scale of 1-10. You can download apps for this or create paper trackers, but I created a form on Google Drive. I saved the form's URL to my phone's home screen and update it each day. It automatically saves my entry into a spreadsheet and I've created charts to visually show my progress. Doing it this way allowed me to customize my data entry the way I wanted it, but by all means use the method that works best for you!
6. Stay Offline. Social media is a slippery slope for those with even the best mental state. One minute you are on Facebook looking at kittens playing with ducks and the next, you are trapped in a heated debate over animal cruelty. Or you see someone you forgot about 10 years ago passed. Or has cancer. Or is just a giant boob full of hate. So you pop over to Instagram and immediately feel like a sack of old potatoes because you are now surrounded by #instaperfect lives- perfect hair, make-up, coffee art, cupcake designs, the list goes on and on! So I try to limit my social media usage to people and groups promoting positivity, real life and my geek loves.
Life with depression is hard. Trust me. It never really goes away. But each day that I open up about my mental state and each time I smile, I know it's getting easier. While these steps are not an overnight fix, they are exactly what I need to cope with this round of depression.
What are some of the non-prescription ways do you handle your depression? Tell me in the comments!
To help with medical expenses, a Go Fund Me donation page has been created. If you wish to donate, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/wvfg67-marys-medical-expenses.