Gaaaah I didn’t know if I’d ever feel ready to share this, but for some reason I feel kinda ready, AND I received a few “God nudges,” as I like to think of it. So, I’ll just say it. 🙊 I have clinical depression. I was officially diagnosed in 2017, after our second son was born.
I couldn’t focus at work. I was anxious about simple tasks — all tasks, really. At the end of the day, the simple walk from my car into the house, felt like a marathon, leaving me completely drained. My fuse was short. I was irritable about everything (sorry Cor!). I felt like a worthless mom. I blamed myself for everything. I didn’t know how to handle the two kids I had, but desperately wanted another, and for that reason felt broken. I was convinced my family would be better off without me. I wondered if I had the energy to go on.
That may sound dramatic, but that’s truly how I felt. And guess what…I thought what I was feeling was NORMAL…
“Going from one kid to two kids is hard, right? So of course I’m exhausted, stressed, and irritable.”
“I’m not as social or fun as I used to be because I’m just…changing, right?”
“I have no idea how to handle my own kids. Someone else could do this way better.”
Why am I telling you this? Because THIS IS NOT NORMAL. THIS IS NOT OKAY. Yes, having a baby is hard, and having another baby (and another) is hard. But no one should feel like they can’t cope with life. Or with their own family.
I wanted to share this so that if there’s anyone out there who may be feeling this way, they can get help right away. Don’t wait. I struggled way too long until someone I love (😘) noticed that I wasn’t being myself. After hearing of the struggles I was dealing with, she said, “I think this is Postpartum Depression.” Whoa. Depression. I thought postpartum depression was when women had trouble bonding with their baby or felt like harming them, and let me be clear…it CAN look that way for some people. That wasn’t the case for me, however — I loved my babies more than life, but I didn’t love MYSELF for not knowing how to cope, and I didn’t really want to cope, to be honest.
After a lot of self-reflection and time, however, I’ve come to realize that I’ve had depression symptoms throughout my whole life — a bit in high school, definitely in college, and other times too (not just postpartum). When I didn’t feel like myself, couldn’t snap out of feeling down, and had zero motivation to do what I love, I could always blame it on SOMETHING — stress, hormones, circumstances, etc. But you guys — this is depression. It’s a chemical imbalance in your BRAIN (I understand this now, although I fought the diagnosis and the need to take medication at first).
I’m pleased to report that I *almost instantly* felt better once I started medication (this isn’t the case for everyone, though). Most doctors will tell you that depression is handled best when you pair medication with talk therapy and I can vouch that this is most definitely true! I currently see a therapist (I still can’t believe… I. HAVE. A. THERAPIST. — I feel so cool and messed up at the same time). 😜 Anyway, I would highly recommend it, with or without depression. I’m learning so much about myself and making tiny strides toward a better version of myself each day.
I hesitated to post this was because I thought I had to OVERCOME depression first, so that I could teach others to do the same. The truth is…I will never overcome this. I will always wrestle with symptoms. For the people that know me personally… you may be shocked to hear this because I SEEM like such a happy person (or so I’ve been told), and I AM a happy person! Truly! But there definitely have been times in the midst of my “lows” when I’ve faked it. That’s the scariest thing about depression and other mental illness. So, my biggest piece of advice is just to be a purposeful friend. Check in on those you love regularly, especially if you know they’ve struggled with mental health issues. If someone seems withdrawn, or pulls away, it might be for a reason. Ask and listen and show you care (not that I’m a pro at doing this, but it’s a good reminder to us all). 😉
Okay. That’s a lot of word puke coming from my mouth onto this computer. 😝 I could say so many things on this topic, but I sincerely hope and pray that this helps or encourages someone, ANYONE, who reads this. My therapist (ahh – again, how grown-up does that sound?!) said that if I can write about my struggles and/or what I’m learning, it helps significantly toward my growth. (**Kara closes her eyes, crosses her fingers, and hopes she’s normal again when she hits “POST.”**) 😣🤞💫 😂
I’m an open book so feel free to ask questions if you have any. One of the biggest things I want to come from this blog is encouragement, not only in decorating, but with life in general, so I hope you feel it. ❤
Huge hugs and love to you! XO!
P.S. I am obviously not a doctor or psychiatrist, so please don’t diagnose yourself based on this post. Talk to your doctor, if necessary, and know that you’re not alone. ☺️💞