It comes out in different ways. Some moments I just lie in bed and cry. Other days I look around with hopelessness at the wreck my house is in and see no way out. Or I sit in church, surrounded by friends, only to feel alone and numb. My smile feels like a lie and there is no light or joy in my heart.
Or even worse, I am are so overwhelmed, so downright miserable, that I scream at my children. Then I cry in my bed, a mess of self-hatred compiling onto the depression that caused it.
I didn’t ever consider the fact that I had depression. My mother has it and battled it my entire childhood. I have some awful memories of her fits, her tears, her helplessness. I never wanted to be like her. And I never understood that depression was a disease. When I was a child she never sought help for her depression nor did she explain to me what it was. That would have helped me in so many ways. It wasn’t until I was an adult and she was hospitalized for a weekend that I began to understand my childhood through a new set of eyes.
Depression is genetic. It is a genetic imbalance of serotonin in the brain. When I began to experience symptoms of depression it was my very close friends – like Janice – that encouraged me to seek help.
And so I did. I listened to my friends. Deep down I didn’t want to admit that I was broken, that I needed to take a pill to act like a “normal” human being. I wanted to be a strong, successful woman – perfect and complete! But what I did not know was depression is not a shortcoming. You are not less of a person if you ask for a prescription.
Do you think people that take Zyrtec for allergies are weaklings?
Biologically, our bodies are all made differently. We have different needs. Some can’t eat wheat. Some can’t eat chocolate. Other’s have to take medication for heartburn. And I have to take a medication to increase the neurotransmitters in my brain so I can think clearly.
Depression affects my parenting. I am so glad I sought help from my family doctor. It isn’t simply about being happy or sad, it is about balancing my moods so I am parenting my little children with the most strength and clearest mind possible. And since I know this is genetic, when Lizzie is older I will explain this to her. I don’t want her to go through adolescence depressed and not know she can seek help without being ashamed.
Please, if you have any symptoms of depression, talk to someone. I can testify that your life will tremendously improve if you just ask for help. Make that first step and do not be ashamed. Depression is a scary demon to battle, but you can overcome it!