It only seems appropriate to blog about my battles with depression after hearing about Robin Williams. I was just in complete shock when I heard the sad news. I loved all his movies and never had a clue he was battling depression. That’s the thing, we can be battling this horrible disease and no one knows…. I come from a family of depression and other mental illnesses. I have never wanted to admit that I might have any kind of an illness. I wanted to be just a regular girl. One that had it all together. I will go into details about my depression before Fibro (Fibromyalgia), and after. This is all very personal and hard for me to talk about. I haven’t really talked about it with ANYONE. Not my husband, not even my best friend. Maybe bits and pieces here and there but never a thorough discussion. I was in denial. No, not me. I am a mother and a wife. I have to have it together for them. Well guess what? I don’t always have it together….
Back in my school days, I had a hard time fitting in. I tried to be like others but it was obvious that I wasn’t. I couldn’t style my hair like the cool girls and didn’t have fancy clothes. I couldn’t even say the right thing. So I just kept quiet. It felt safer that way. I lived a long time wishing I was like other girls and keeping quiet. I did get to meet the love of my life when I was about 16 and everything changed, for a while. I felt loved and appreciated! I could open up and be myself. Senior year of high school was by far my favorite year in school. I was myself! And felt good about it. Graduating was exciting. I was doing good in school. After high school, I started to go down again. I didn’t know what kind of career I wanted for myself. I wanted to be successful and important. Well I had to switch jobs a couple times because my husband was in the military and got stationed in CA, and then a medical discharge got us sent back to WA. I found a great career when we moved back home. Loved what I did but there always seemed to be someone or something to get in the way of that. Someone that wants to wreck the good thing you have going. I switched jobs and found another job I really loved but again, something got in the way. It was a stressful environment and when my Fibro started, I couldn’t handle the stress as good as I used to. (You can read about My Fibro Story here.) Some of my insecurities from school developed in the work place too. Trying to fit in with others….
Anyway, I have always dealt with some kind of depression. There were days where I was fine and others where I wanted to sink in a hole. I turned to TV a lot to escape reality. I was addicted to watching General Hospital. Never missed an episode. And I ate a lot of junk. Food and TV were my comforts. I was disconnected with my friends for a long time. I would talk to them periodically but wasn’t really there. I wasn’t myself. Just said what I thought needed to be said. I wasn’t handling life well at all. Things really got bad after having Tyler (my 2nd child). I dealt with some postpartum depression. Especially having to leave him and go back to work. I really really really didn’t want to do that. My husband was in school at the time so I had to work. I knew we needed to get him through school to get our family in a good place. So I pushed along, feeling like a robot. TV, food, drinking occasionally…. Those got me by.
The bad times were really bad. I could hear voices in my head telling me really bad things. “I am a bad mom. I suck at life and could do so much better. I am a horrible cook. Don’t even bother. My house should be clean all the time but I’m lazy. I’m fat. No one cares about me. I am bad at my job.” It just goes on and on. It was so hard hearing these things and believing them. You want to curl up in a ball and cry forever. After being diagnosed with Fibro, it was a whole other kind of depression. Finding out you have a chronic illness that will never be cured is devastating. It took a long time for me to accept it. Even now I still struggle with some depression over the fact that Fibro can control my life. I can only do certain things based on how my Fibro is for that day. Because if I push myself too hard, I may suffer later. And the amount of that suffering can be huge sometimes. It can effect everything. A lot of times, I beat myself up for not treating my body right and letting it get this bad. Wishing I could go back in time and change everything. Have another chance. And then being around people that don’t have it and don’t understand can be hard. You just want to be like them.
Some of the Robin Williams stuff that was going around really hit home for me. One of my favorites is:
“I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone, it’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone.” So true. I would rather be alone than with people that pull me down. My husband always knows how to make me feel better. And he can always make me laugh! Love him.
I am definitely better now than I was but I refuse to take medication. I was on an anti-depressant that caused more side effects and problems than anyone would want to deal with. And getting off of it was brutal. I also tried St. John’s Wort (a natural supplement) but there are some possible side effects with that too and it didn’t agree with me. I am just doing what makes me feel good now. Helping others makes me feel good, eating healthy, doing fun things with my kids. I like to watch things that make me laugh and be around people that make me laugh. And I love to write. I have always kept a journal. I’m putting myself out there hoping to help someone, anyone. To know that they aren’t alone. And I think it helps to face your fears, admit things you never EVER want to admit to anyone. I still have bad days where I just want to lay in bed all day. But I push myself and get up, get moving, live life. There is definitely a lot more I need to do to improve myself. I think an exercise routine would definitely help, along with sticking to my diet. Keeping busy really helps. When I worked, there were slow times and I hated it. I like to keep busy now all the time… but I do rest sometimes, haha. I just try to keep busy and positive about life as much as I can. We have to fight this depression and Fibro, and not let it win. And fight hard! We are fighting for our life here. And we only get one shot at it. Do we want to live our life wishing we didn’t have Fibro, feeling sorry for ourselves, letting everything get us down? I know I don’t want to live that way. I want to live life and make memories. Be there for my kids and let them experience life too. But it’s okay to have a bad day. Tomorrow is always a new day.
Ways to Help Those Suffering from Depression: It may be hard to tell if someone is suffering from depression. It’s very hard to talk about being depressed and a simple question could be a call out for help. Listening is key. Just be there for each other. You may not always have an answer but sometimes just listening really helps. Contact them as often as possible. It could just be a little note to say you are thinking about them. Anything helps. Offer to come over and help, or just be there with them. It is VERY hard to ask for help, at least for me. And make them laugh! Laughter is the best medicine. Or watch something funny together. Do something fun together. Help them enjoy life. The smallest things can be huge.
Things NOT TO SAY to Someone with Depression: “You need help.” “What is wrong with you?” “Oh, you’re fine.” “Yea, life is hard for everyone at times.” These don’t help. And like I said, you may not know if someone has depression but just be aware that they could be calling out for your help and what you say to them is critical. These kind of comments have always made it worse for me. It brought me down even further… And you can’t just snap out of depression. It doesn’t work like that.
Natural Remedies for Depression:
- Tangerine Essential Oil is good for depression because is helps release serotonin in the brain and is often used in treatment of anxiety too.
- Cashews – Apparently 2 handfuls of cashews is the equivalent of a dose of Prozac! You can read about it here: http://www.realfarmacy.com/cashews-anti-depressant/.
- Magnesium – Consume more magnesium-rich foods like seeds & nuts, beans & legumes, dark leafy greens, and whole grains.
- Vitamin C – some foods that have vitamin C besides the obvious oranges are: bell peppers, dark leafy greens, kiwi, broccoli, strawberries, tomatoes, peas, papaya, grapefruit juice, vegetable juice, brussel sprouts, cantaloupe, pineapple, mango.
- B Vitamins – meat, eggs, dairy, fortified breakfast cereals, enriched soy or rice milk, fish, shellfish, yeast extract spreads, of course you can take a supplement too.
- Yoga – here’s a 15 minute yoga video: http://yogabycandace.com/blog/yoga-practice-for-arthritis.
- St. John’s Wort – a natural supplement (do not take with an anti-depressant). There are some possible side effects like dizziness, dry mouth, and upset stomach. And, it can interact with certain prescription medications, therefore be sure to talk to your health care provider first.
- Acupuncture – I have never tried this but have heard about this helping with Fibro too!
- Serotonin-Enhancing Diet from omega-3 fatty acid foods, healthy fats like coconut oil, and a high protein diet.
- Being around people that bring out the good in you, make you laugh, are positive and help you enjoy life. Being around negative people can really bring you down.
- Listen to Music, and Dance! – I know this gets me in a good mood.
- Diet, Exercise, Sleep and Vitamin D are very important. Cod Liver Oil is the next best source of Vitamin D (after sunlight).
This information is all based on my experiences, and some research I have done. I am not an expert and what works for one person may not work for another. I am sharing my personal story and information to hopefully help others. I hope to help at least one person out there, hopefully more.
Here is information from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, if you or someone you know needs help: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.
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