I struggled a lot with life from the time I was in middle school. Enter into adulthood and life became more complicated and my difficulties followed me.
I always thought I was doing something wrong, that I was weaker than everyone else and that's why I was struggling so at life. I thought that life was just that stressful, and I was not managing it well. Oh, I looked fine--long time marriage to my high school sweetheart, a five year fine art degree and then a master's degree in teaching. I held down full-time jobs as a professional graphic designer, and then an elementary school teacher. I even became a mom of two young boys--everything looked good outwardly. I was even a church going Christian with a vibrant spiritual life.
But I was dying inside. Struggling to get up in the morning. Surviving my days just barely and then making it to the finish line around 6pm when I would crawl into bed and be done for the day, leaving my husband to care for our babies. Deeply dissatisfied with work and living in a very dark place in my mind.
It wasn't until I was about 36 years old that I realized I suffered from clinical depression and that I could get help. I didn't know all those years as an educated and self-reflective woman, that depression was making life so much harder that it had to be and that I didn't have to suffer so.
This is a picture of a young woman suffering from severe depression. This is a picture of a young mom who loved her boys more than life, who was contemplating suicide.
If you are struggling today I am here to tell you seventeen years later that there is HOPE. That you do not need to SUFFER. That there is HELP. That therapy and medication and huge doses of love really do help make it better.
Today I am so much better than I was before. I am full of hope and life and lightness. While the depression is always there, it doesn't get to drive the bus anymore and I've learned to tame it and manage it to keep it at bay. And when the low times do come--and they still do--I am so much more empowered to deal with depression in ways I couldn't before. I'm a resilient, strong, sensitive survivor today and I am keeping on, keeping on.
If you find yourself struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, get help. Dial 988--it's the suicide prevention hotline. Make that call to a doctor. Tell someone you love and trust that you are struggling. Reach out to me and I'll support you to get you the help you need. Just don't suffer alone. I'm here and there are so many of us that have made our way through the dark with God's grace, out to the other side and you can too.