Winter is probably the hardest time of year for someone struggling with depression (unless you live somewhere it is sunny). Even though the sun is out most of the time, I don’t go places very often due to cold weather.
Struggle to Leave the House
Now that I have three kids (under 2), it is difficult to up and go somewhere. It takes about an hour and a half to pack and prep to leave anywhere. By that time, I am usually stressed out and mentally drained from rushing to get everything that I needed.
It becomes a lot and then I have already lost time I have before the girls’ next feeding. So really at this point, sometimes I start thinking why even leave. My mind fills with negative, pointless thoughts on the idea of leaving the house. If I let it consume me, it becomes hard to prevent it from going a step further: putting down myself for not doing this and that to make this situation go better.
Negativity consumes me when I am at my lowest.
I never imagined that I would battle this for several years. I was lucky to have gotten help so early on. If it weren’t for my mom pushing me, I wouldn’t have made it to a therapist to figure out how to handle it.
Every Day is NOT the Same
I have my good days and bad days just like anyone else does. Except my bad days are 10 times more INTENSE. Not one day is the same. There are similarities in triggers and bad habits that come with my bad days. But they are never quite the same.
One day I could be so unhappy with how my body looks I start to bash every part of me. Wishing I looked better or fit better into my clothes.
Another day I could be thinking about all the things I had wanted to accomplish the day prior and didn’t. Or maybe going further into the past and remembering horrible memories. Or wishing I was more successful and had finished college when I had the chance.
So many things swirl around in my head but I never know when these bad bouts come. I become so mentally drained and overwhelmed after allowing my brain to go a mile a minute for the day. My thoughts frame my actions on these days.
People who don’t understand depression think we can just turn it OFF.
A depressed individual is hard to understand if you have never experienced it or never seen it “up close in-person”. It is also not a “one-size-fits-all” kind of mental illness. Not everyone gets depression from the same things. Not all have suicidal thoughts. Not everyone survives through it. Not everyone is on medication for it.
It is also not something you can just “turn off”. Sure, there are many different actions I can take to better myself and manage it in a healthier way. But it isn’t something I can easily get rid of.
I have been battling with depression for 6 years and have NEVER been on medication. For me it just never crossed my mind that I needed it. I found other alternatives to manage it that have worked well for ME.
While there are resources out there for people who struggle like I do, not everyone has the means to get that help. And not everyone is in a place to reach out for THAT help. That is the hardest part about this illness. In order to get better, the person who is struggling with it has to MENTALLY commit to bettering themselves. Otherwise, it will never improve.
While I still struggle with depression, it has improved so much over the past 6 years. But I’ve realized it is something that will never completely go away.
Depression will NEVER define who I am.
While this is easier said than done, ever since becoming a mom I have made it a goal to never let my depression take over motherhood for me.
I do what I can handle every day so I don’t get overwhelmed to the point of my lowest point hitting me. I have three children who depend on me so I do what I can and when I can to take care of me. I need to be at my best to take care of them.
Not every day is a success story but at least I am making an effort to get there. I try not to dwell on all my failures.
I refuse to let my children see me at my lowest. If I need a break, I leave the room for a minute to collect myself and go back with a better attitude. Repeating daily affirmations to myself and realizing I am doing the best that I can right now.
Motivation is a hard habit to master with depression.
Motivating myself to get things done is ALWAYS an uphill battle. It isn’t always easy for me to be motivated to do much, especially now being a stay at home mom who doesn’t get out much. It’s easy for me to just stay in my pajamas and feel super comfy all day.
If I don’t organize my morning right, the rest of my day becomes a struggle. My level of motivation is no where near a level to get much of anything done at that point.
I have been able to put a routine for myself in place to make sure I can reach my motivation level. Things such as changing into new clothes or showering, writing a to-do list for the day, completing a task before sitting down to eat breakfast, and keeping the TV off until 10am. These are just a few simple things I do to keep myself in line.
Staying busy will ALWAYS help keep my depression from being a problem.
When I am able to keep myself occupied throughout the day, my mind never has much of a chance to wander. My thoughts aren’t consuming me. I have to work at my daily routine. I guess it has become a blessing in disguise having 3 kids who constantly need something. I am able to pour my focus on them and don’t have all day to let my thoughts consume me.
I like being busy. It keeps me healthier and more focused on my life.
Depression is not an easy thing to live with but I do what I can to live my life. I do what I can to not let it consume me everyday. I focus on who I need to live for.
It is possible to come out of the dark and manage it. Choose many different things to try not just one. When you have more to focus on and more things to keep you uplifted.
The reality of living with depression isn’t a pretty one but there are ways to make it better for you.
Depression does not define who you are, it will only control you if you let it.