This topic is not comfortable to talk about. It’s something I’ve gone back and forth with deciding if I wanted to talk about for a while, but I know how important it is to have this discussion. I am currently in the middle of a season of depression. And I just want to start out by saying, I am not a doctor or a psychologist or a counselor. I am a mom of four kids, and one of them has special needs. So, this is just coming from my own experience and my own journey with depression, what I’ve found helpful, and advice I have for you if you are in a season of depression.
COVID and Symptoms of Depression
It seems like it’s starting to set in. This pandemic is having an effect on ALL of us in different ways. Someone said something that resonated with me about what is going on. “We are all in the same storm, but we are on different boats.” This has been true for me because I lost my mom a month and a half ago, and that kind of instantly set me into a season of depression. I was having SO much regret because the last few years of our relationship were really bad. I felt regret and sadness and it quickly spiraled into depression. I look around at the other people in my life, and I know people going through divorce, or having a hard time with their kids. A lot of people that have special needs kids are struggling because they have no services and increasingly negative behaviors. Other friends have lost their jobs, or they are working in the health industry, people have lost businesses, or are scared to leave their house because they are deathly afraid of this disease. COVID is having so much more of an effect on us then we even realize.
What I Learned About Depression From Instagram
I did a poll on Instagram because I was hesitant to do this topic about depression. I think that this is something that a lot other people are going through, and if we could just talk about it, that is a HUGE step. I haven’t been sharing with people, because it’s uncomfortable. But I realized that this is how almost everyone is feeling.
I did a poll on Instagram to gauge where you all are at and where you are struggling. The first question I asked was, “Have you ever struggled with depression?” Ninety percent of you said yes.
The next question was, “Have you dealt with depression since March?” 75 percent of you said yes.
I asked on a scale of 1-10 how bad it’s affected you, and it was about an 8. That surprised me. I know so many people struggle with it, but how intense it was made me really surprised and sad.
“I doubt myself,” and, “I’m irritable and exhausted.” “Difficulty falling asleep.” “I feel like it drains my energy and physically affects how I feel.” “Everything is gray and I have a lack of desire to connect.”
What you probably noticed is there is a theme. Loss of appetite, sleeping more, angry, disconnected, a lack of desire to do anything. That is EXACTLY how I have been feeling. What that tells me is that these are the symptoms of depression. When you can’t walk because your foot hurts, that is a symptom of an injured foot. It’s not just you. It’s not that you are weak or not good enough, it’s that your brain has been affected and these are the symptoms.
How To Improve Your Mental Health
I received several amazing suggestions from Instagram about how to improve our perspective and work on overcoming depression.
Some suggestions are, “music, yoga, walking, focusing on something good, being easy on yourself, reminding yourself it won’t always be this way, finding someone to help you validate your mind. Finding a therapist. Talking to someone.”
No one knew each other’s answers, yet there were SO many themes still. What that tells me is that all the things you are experiencing are TOTALLY normal. And you are not alone.
How I Began My Struggle
After my mom died, I was just sad all the time. I had a lump in my throat that would trigger me to cry in a split second. I would be watching TV, or driving in the car, and I would feel the overwhelming urge to cry. I spent a lot of time just crying. I knew there was a reason I was sad, and that I would get over it. But I started to realize that every feeling I had, I was shoving down. I needed it to get out of me but the motivation to do that was pretty low. I don’t recommend that you stuff it down because you can only do that for so long until you explode in a way you regret.
What Has Helped Bring Me Out Of Depression
I have been excited about serving this audience, helping moms, building a course, upcoming podcast episodes, and social media. I was really getting a good feeling about where people were in their life. But depression prevented me from fully showing up. I was putting off a lot of my responsibility. But then I realized that there are so so many people going through a hard time, who could use a listening ear, and to know they are not alone.
I began watching a lot of YouTube videos and motivational speakers. I am pulling from my tool-belt to get myself out of depression by forcing negative thoughts out of my head and consistently filling it with positive thoughts and energy. My thinking started to change when people began telling me a different message than I was telling myself.
There is a part of us that can control our state of being. We do have some sort of control over how we think, and that is my ticket out of depression. If you are struggling right now, I highly recommend you find the tools to heal your brain. To make yourself better. Give yourself grace and love. You may feel guilty or shameful, and you might get mad at yourself, but I am asking you to just love yourself anyway.
If you are going through a hard time, it’s because times are hard. The more you can just accept that, the more you can love yourself anyway. Don’t ignore the things you need. If you don’t take care of yourself, you will only get more destructive. Seek help. Go see your doctor, a therapist, a friend or family member. Don’t do this alone. And remember that SO many people feel this way. It is a part of the human experience. But you are not by yourself on this journey.
- We are all on the same journey, in the same rough waters, but each in our own boats. Your experience may not be exactly like someone else’s, but we are all dealing with things in our own way right now.
- By filling your mind with positive thoughts and encouragement, you are pushing the negative thoughts out of your mind and reprogramming your thinking in a whole new way.
- You are not alone in your depression. So many people are feeling the same way that you are. Don’t struggle alone. Find a therapist, talk to a friend, call a family member, or speak with your doctor. It is so much harder to endure it by yourself.
- Find your own method and reach in your own tool belt to bring yourself out of depression. Sometimes it takes a while. It doesn’t mean that you are broken or crazy. You simply have a different programming in your brain than other people do. Just like pain in your foot is a symptom of an injury, depression is a symptom of an injury as well that is affecting your brain.
- Be kind to yourself. You are having a hard time right now because times are HARD. Speaking kind and positive internal thoughts are so helpful to overcoming depression and processing through what you are feeling.
- Depression Symptoms and Warning Signs
- What Does Depression Feel Like?
- How do I know I am feeling depressed?
- 9 Types of Depression and How to Recognize Them
- Types of Depression: The 10 Most Common Depressive Disorders
- Am I Depressed? Signs and Symptoms
- Depression and How It Differs From Sadness
- What Causes Depression and How It Affects The Brain
- Is Everyone Depressed? Depression and How COVID is Causing It
- Bipolar Disorder: Signs and Symptoms
- Bipolar Disorder: What It Feels Like Personally
- How To Fight Depression: 20 Things to Try
- Depression Treatment Tips
- Depression Switch? Treatment of Severe Depression
- What Grief Is Really Like
- Grief: Symptoms and Why We Grieve
- The Stages Of Grief After Losing a Job
- Coping with Job Loss During COVID
- Grief: Coping With The Loss of a Loved One
- Coping With The Loss Of a Loved One During COVID
- Why The Autism Mom Gets Depressed
- Depression in Parents of Children with Developmental Disabilities
- Coping With Depression: Tips for the Road to Recovery
- I Feel Sad: How To Deal With Depression
- A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose
- You Are a Badass: How To Stop Doubting Your Greatness & Start Living an Awesome Life
- ‘The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time’
- ‘Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn’t Teach You and Medication Can’t Give You’
- ‘Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain’
- Depression During the Holidays
- Depression and Grieving the Child You Thought You Were Going to Have