I felt like 100 pound weights were strapped to each foot. I loved to read and had no desire to pick up a book. DIY shows inspired me and I never turned on the TV. At work I operated on autopilot. I wasn’t sure I even knew how to smile anymore.
With tears flowing down my face I told the doctor how I was feeling, “Sweetheart,” she said, “you’re suffering from depression and you need help.” She was absolutely right using the words suffering and you need help. I was aching inside and had no idea what to do or how to help myself.
Ladies, I’m not talking about being sad. Sadness is a perfectly normal reaction to life’s daily struggles, fears, setbacks and disappointments. Everyone feels sad or down from time to time but depression is much more.
Depression is exhausting, often debilitating, making it difficult to function and it can interfere with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep and enjoy life. Just getting through the day can be overwhelming. Believe me I know, I’ve been there and gotten the t-shirt.
I’ve suffered from depression twice in my life. Once in my 30’s and thankfully after several months it gradually went away with a lot of prayer and support from my husband. This time I knew the depression wasn’t going anywhere and I needed a medical professional. This time I needed medication and you know what? That’s okay. I call them “my happy pills.”
You are Not Alone
Women are often ashamed or embarrassed if they suspect they are suffering from depression. They may question their faith, try to hide their symptoms and avoid contact with friends and family.
This past year I’ve been open and honest, speaking publicly about suffering with depression and truthful about my need of medication. Depression is not a sign of weakness. Depression is not an unspeakable flaw in my personality.
By sharing my story I hope to encourage and love on just one Momma who feels alone, lost and needs someone to say, “I understand what you’re feeling.”
One more thing – I know the last thing you want to read right now are cold, hard, unfeeling facts but understanding the Signs and Symptoms is your first step to overcoming depression.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression
If you have several of the following, you may be living with depression.
- Sleep changes: insomnia or sleeping too much
- Appetite or weight changes: significant weight loss or gain; a change of 5% of body weight in one month
- Loss of interest in daily activities: no interest in former hobbies, pastimes & social life. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure
- Loss of energy: fatigued, sluggish and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete
- Feelings of worthlessness: Strong feelings of self-loathing or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes
- Trouble concentrating: Trouble focusing, making decisions or remembering things
- Agitation or irritability: Feeling aggression, anger, restless or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
- Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness: a feeling that nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to change it. Overwhelming and uncontrollable negative thoughts
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide-life is not worth living (seek help immediately is this is the case)
Causes of Depression
No one knows the exact cause of depression but many factors can contribute.
- Postpartum depression: approx. 10% of mothers have depression after giving birth
- Long-term stress: from abuse, loss or neglect
- Social isolation: lack of support, a network of family or friends
- Chemical imbalance
- Vitamin or mineral deficiencies
- Serious medical conditions: heart attack, cancer, Parkinson’s disease
- Certain medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol or irregular heartbeat
Ask for prayer, speak to your pastor, mentor, family member, friend or your doctor. Please don’t hesitate to receive help. DO NOT suffer needlessly or alone. No matter how helpless you feel, you can get better.
Depression is a medical condition and should be treated as such. You wouldn’t wait to “get over” a broken arm, don’t wait to get help.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Psalms 91:1-2
Get more information about depression from your doctor. You can also visit the Mayo Clinic for more information. You can get immediate help from the Crisis Text Line or the Suicide Prevention Life Line.
Sheree has been married to her best friend for 37 years, is a mother of two adult children (boy & girl), has a fabulous DIL & SIL, and two adorable, lovable grand babies. For 23 yrs, she moved around the US and Europe with the Air Force, before finally settling in Arizona.
Her favorite holiday is Christmas and has decorations that rival the North Pole.
Holly loves spending time with her husband and kids who range in age from 5-22.