Hello everyone, I know I have been MIA for a while. To be completely honest, it was because I got in a rut and I felt like I was dealing with some depression. Even though I knew that starting a blog was going to be difficult, I was not expecting it to be THIS difficult. It broke me down for a bit and I honestly believe I went through a short bought of depression because of everything that was going on this past month or so.
I feel like I am always telling people that I have been under a lot of stress. It seems like high stress is my normal. I don’t think it is and I don’t want it to be. But, life happens. There is constantly something going on in this house and we never do things halfway.
About a month ago my hubby and I walked into the house in the middle of a conversation my parents were having. My dad basically has had enough with the position he was holding and wanted a change. He felt like he wasn’t getting what he wanted out of it and was burnt out from how demanding it is. So, he requested that I assist him with a job hunt to help him find a new position. My dad had to be under a lot of stress for him to finally say something to any of us about it. So, of course I put some of my stuff aside and helped him the best way I could to help him.
Fortunately, it was a rather quick process. My dad has worked in his field in the military and as a civilian for nearly 40 years and he is amazing at what he does. He applied for one job he was really interested in, got called for two interviews for it, and was just informed that he was selected for the position. The start date is still TBD because paperwork still needs to be done, but things are looking up for my dad. I hope he enjoys what he will be doing in this new position. It does sound like he will be doing more of what he likes at the new job. But, we are all optimistic about it!
I can’t forget my mom in all of this. She has been struggling with ear pain since April and her symptoms got worse a couple of weeks ago. Ultimately, she ended up having to go to the hospital for it and doctors had us all thinking she was having strokes. She was admitted into the hospital had a plethora of tests done and no answers.
My mom had an ear infection back in April and the numbness and pain never went away. However, no one at the hospital was willing to address any infection with her. But, she never saw a neurologist while she was in the hospital. She was released two days later and had no answers as to why she was still feeling pain in her ear. Then, she got sick with a sinus infection and had to go in for an appointment. She got antibiotics and a steroid to treat it. The meds were so strong that it made her ear feel better.
The symptoms aren’t completely gone, but they have gotten a lot more tolerable. We were all thinking that the infection back in April never cleared, but no one was willing to listen. So, hopefully this week she will be able to get some kind of verification about what caused the issue in the first place.
Why Does this Affect Me?
Since we are in a multi-generational household, we are all under the same roof and at the moment in rather tight quarters while we are living in our rental. Anything that is going on with one person in the house affects everyone in some way. The men of the house are the only breadwinners. I am trying to find ways to earn money from home, but nothing has been coming in yet (but I am still optimistic). Then, my dad’s income is what is paying a vast majority of household bills right now. My hubby and I are paying our own bills and our medical and personal expenses, but my dad pays for rent, utilities and most groceries right now. The deal is that we will start paying for our share once we are better established. That seems to be never happening though because we keep having expenses pop up and can’t get our budget figured out. We are close though. I hate that we haven’t gotten there yet, but life happens. So, when my dad comes home with basically a crisis about work, it makes one worry a bit. We obviously worry about his well-being, but I did step back and wonder what it would have meant if my dad just decided to retire early. The belts would have gotten a lot tighter around here that is for sure.
When it comes to my mom, I am becoming more and more of a caregiver of sorts. I pick up the slack around the house. The deal is that we share responsibility of shared spaces and are responsible for our own spaces. But, when my mom is not feeling well with her chronic illnesses, then I do what I can to be sure the whole house is clean, organized and that everyone is fed.
I am also a decision maker when it comes to groceries and any shopping or errands that need to be done for the house/family. I also go with my mom to a lot of her doctor’s appointments to understand what is going on with her medically, but also to help advocate for her to make sure she gets the treatment/care she needs. These are all things I am used to dealing with, but when an unexpected admittance to the hospital happens, it increases the stress in the house for sure.
First, I just have to say that my husband really is amazing. He is still new to this whole idea of multi-gen living. It’s still weird to him and a lot of his family. For my family, it is not weird at all (you can read more about our lifestyle here). But, lately I have felt that I neglect him sometimes when I am busy running errands or helping my parents, or when I want to get some work done for the blog instead of spend time with him. I also really struggle in the mornings to get up with him. Five in the morning comes really quickly. I get up with him, make breakfast for him, pack his lunch and make him a coffee to take to work. But, then I have to go back to bed rather than stay up with him. This fatigue is no joke.
My poor hubby has been under a lot of stress at work lately. He has worked 80+ hour weeks for three out of the last four weeks to help get projects done. He was supposed to be promoted over a month ago and the paperwork still hasn’t gone through for him even though he did everything on his end. To top everything off, he starts his graduate school program this week. His change in his work schedule threw a lot off in our house. When he was home, all I wanted to do was make sure he was rested and spend as much time with him as possible. Since we are trying to have a baby, we had to make sure there was time for everything that entails as well.
Two weeks ago, hubby and I went to Iowa for his little brother’s wedding. My hubby was the best man. It was a beautiful wedding and we had a great time. But, before our trip we (mostly me) were under a lot of stress leading up to the trip. I haven’t seen any of my hubby’s family since our own wedding seven years ago. We’ve wanted to travel up there, just couldn’t because we didn’t have the money to do so. So, I was nervous seeing his family again after all that time. We have also been given bits and pieces of information about what is going on up north and we were just worried about coming into any kind of family drama.
There was a lot of additional stress that I put on myself to make sure we have a great trip and avoid any kind of familial issues. I also was worried about not looking/dressing right for the wedding since my hubby was the best man. I wanted to represent ourselves well and not give anyone an excuse to judge us for any reason. Thankfully it was an amazing trip and we were able to spend time with a lot of the family and catch up with each other.
Neglecting the Blog
I have so much going on all at once. I feel like I cannot ever get everything done. I must make choices and prioritize some things over others. If I am spending time doing one thing, then that means another thing is being pushed aside for the time being. There are some things that allow me to multi-task. I can always do laundry while doing other things around the house. But, if I am out running errands, then that means I am not able to clean the bathrooms. If I am home cleaning, then that means that I will not be able to run errands that day. If I am spending time with my husband, then that means most chores are not going to get done. Even though I accomplish things every day, the list still seems to be never ending. Clothes will get dirty again and groceries will need to be bought. I currently have a stack of sheets that really need to be washed and I just haven’t gotten to it.
In the last few weeks, the blog has been on the bottom of my priority list. I had to make sure my family was doing okay, and everything was running as it should be. I just couldn’t bring myself to sit at my desk to write because I knew I had so many other things to get done.
Almost Radio Silent on Social Media
I also have not been posting too much on the blog’s social media accounts. My last Instagram post was three weeks ago. I have been on Twitter, but it’s mostly retweets from other people’s feeds that I see as I scroll through the app. A lot of it was because I felt like I didn’t have the time to really engage in social media. But, another part of me just felt down about the fact that my blog hasn’t really grown as much as I hoped it would have since I officially launched.
Did I Become Depressed?
With all the stress in the house, I was just starting to feel more and more run down. I was tired all the time and just felt like I was going through the motions sometimes. Then, one night my hubby and I got into a fight about something. I forgot what exactly started it. But, during our argument, my blog got mentioned. He was curious if I had written anything lately. I said no and my hubby said that he has yet to see a return of his money he put into investing on the blog. That statement really hurt. First he called the money his money.
I get that I don’t work, but I thought we agreed that it was our money. I’m sure it was a slip, but in the moment, it stung. It also hurt because it sounded like my hubby had lost faith in me being able to make something out of this blog. It really made me start to question everything. I felt bad for myself too because this means this is yet another choice I have made for a career that failed miserably (or as of right now does not seem very successful).
After that night I could just feel different. I didn’t even want to bother doing anything from that day forward. There were a few days where I didn’t do much at all. I just laid in bed and watched TV and felt sorry for myself.
Then, to add to make it all worse is that we still haven’t gotten pregnant yet. I feel like a failure on that part as well. With as difficult as everything else has been in our lives over the years, I was hoping that getting pregnant would have been a bit easier. But, so far it has not. With everyone asking why I’m not pregnant yet and telling me to hurry up already, it just makes me feel even worse.
Even though I did not see a physician or a counselor for it, I do believe I had a short season of depression. I really hate self-diagnosing and I do not recommend anyone else do it. However, I do feel like I may have had some depressive symptoms for a short time. I know that I was working with something other than just sadness as well. Had I not been able to get out of that depressive frame of mind, I would have sought help.
What is Depression?
According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA) depression is defined as, “Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home” (American Psychiatric Association, 2017).
Symptoms of depression include:
- Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
(American Psychiatric Association, 2017)
Some people are at more risk of depression than others. These risk factors include:
- Biochemistry: Differences in certain chemicals in the brain may contribute to symptoms of depression.
- Genetics: Depression can run in families. For example, if one identical twin has depression, the other has a 70 percent chance of having the illness sometime in life.
- Personality: People with low self-esteem, who are easily overwhelmed by stress, or who are generally pessimistic appear to be more likely to experience depression.
- Environmental factors: Continuous exposure to violence, neglect, abuse or poverty may make some people more vulnerable to depression.
(American Psychiatric Association, 2017)
Depression Does Not Need to Become Chronic
I personally believe that each person goes through a season of depression for one reason or another. Just because someone says they were depressed at one point in their life does not mean that have chronic depression. If a doctor wants to diagnose you with depression, that does not always mean that you will struggle with it your entire life either. Some people might struggle with it because they have a condition that alters their hormones or brain chemistry while others are dealing with past traumas. Also, if you are just feeling down or are experiencing symptoms of depression, it might just be a short season for you as well and it doesn’t make your experience any less real than someone who has struggled with depression longer.
My Experience With Depression
I was treated for depression in high school for a short period of time. It came after I had gotten injured while at school which led to nerve damage in my leg and triggered widespread chronic pain at the age of 16. My peers didn’t understand why I wasn’t able to do certain things anymore and they gave me problems because I was missing a lot of school for doctors’ appointments. I even had a teacher start a rumor that I was having an affair with a doctor because I was always at the clinic. I was also picked on a lot because the pain meds I was on made me gain a lot of weight. I was on an anti-depressant for a short amount of time. I hated how I felt when I was on it. I felt like a stump. It made my depressive symptoms worse. So, I got off it as soon as I could. Thankfully, my depression subsided after my family and I moved. The change of environment helped a lot.
With my chronic pain and fatigue, I have had some instances where I would have a few consecutive days in a row where I would feel off and not really motivated to do much. But I haven’t had a lot of symptoms of depression since high school. So, I was honestly surprised when I realized it had been several weeks of me feeling down.
How to Get Recover from a Season of Depression
People who struggle with chronic depression may find therapy very helpful. But, psychotherapy or talk therapy may not always be the best way to help people recover from depression. There are many things a person can do to help them cope with or recover from their depression. I want to share different methods I have used to help me recover from my season of depression.
**Disclaimer: While I do have a degree in counseling, I am not offering medical advice. This information is simply being shared for educational purposes. These are my experiences and things that have worked for me. If you are feeling depressed, be sure to reach out to your primary care physician or a mental health professional.**
Take a Time Out
When I was feeling overwhelmingly stressed out recently,
I tried my best to give myself a couple of days to just check out. I wanted to
take some time to just do what I thought was best for me.
For those days, I made sure I got enough sleep and just stayed in some comfy clothes and catch up on some shows I had been meaning to watch but was just too busy. In that time, I tried to unplug from social media. I wasn’t very successful, but I tried. I just needed to focus on me and my needs and not worry so much about making content to interacting with others.
I don’t work outside the house, but if you do, it might be beneficial to take a day or two off for your mental health. Give yourself a long weekend where you an unwind and not look at work for a while. That will allow you to recharge your battery and come back feeling refreshed and ready to take on anything.
Change Your Environment
If you have the budget to do so, go on a trip of some sort with someone you are close with. The change of scenery might be just what you need to rejuvenate you and make you feel better. Going with a friend or loved one will allow you to reconnect with them; especially if you both have had a hectic schedule. Doing fun activities while you are on your trip will allow you to make great memories to hold on to when you return home.
It was convenient that we had already planned on going up to Iowa for my brother-in-law’s wedding. It was perfect timing for my husband and me. We went from Texas where it was 90* out to Iowa that was 35* when we landed. That change of climate was quite a shock to the system. But it was great! My hubby and I were able to spend time together just the two of us as well as see familiar faces we haven’t seen in a while. It was just what we needed. Finally being able to experience a real Fall for the first time in years was great too! I came home feeling so much better after that trip.
I know everyone talks about exercise to help with depression. But, it really does help. Working out allows your body to release endorphins that helps boost your mood. And, if you can consistently work out or remain active, your body composition might change and help you look better and feel better about yourself. Looking at yourself in a positive light will help you cope with or recover from symptoms of depression.
When you are feeling down or struggling with depression, it is always good to find a way to get your thoughts or feelings out. Creative outlets are great ways for you to express how you feel. It might even help you understand what you are feeling better. Some people might like to draw or paint while others, like myself, want to write. I like to write posts or articles that can help other people. Others might want to write novels, poetry, or music.
I also enjoy baking when I am feeling down. For me, it is always so great to be able to make something very tasty and be able to share it with others. I love making people happy. It makes me feel better that those I care about are being cared for and know how I feel about them. That is just how I am wired.
Change the Way You Talk to Yourself
Changing the way you talk to yourself is one of the best ways you can help with your depression. You are always with your inner voice. You will never be able to leave it, so it is good to start to train yourself to talk to yourself better. Telling yourself that something is too hard and that you are going to fail will more than likely lead you to failure.
But, if you tell yourself that something is hard, but you know that you have the skills to accomplish something and will do your best, it can lead to better results. It will never guarantee success, but it gives you a better chance. Telling yourself that you are stupid will do nothing but make you feel bad about yourself. If you feel like you need to learn a skill, put effort into learning it and hype yourself up about it.
Tell yourself that you are capable of learning new things. Remind yourself of the things you are good at too. Keeping an optimistic attitude can make a world of difference as well. If you go into a situation hoping for and thinking about positive things, then you are more likely to have a positive experience. Changing your mindset and how you talk to yourself is necessary when trying to recover from depression.
If you have been struggling with symptoms of depression for several weeks and you cannot seem to work yourself out of it, seek some help from your physician or a mental health professional. It is okay to let someone know that you need help. Just remember that you are not alone and you are loved.
Each person goes through some season of depression at some point in their lives. Some seasons are short, while others are more chronic. But those thoughts and feelings of depression are real and should be taken seriously regardless of how long a person has been feeling that way. This time around, I was able to work myself out of my season of depression by myself. Not everyone is able to do that, and it is okay. If you are suffering with depression or experiencing symptoms of depression and despite your best efforts cannot work yourself through it, be sure to reach out to someone. Talk with a friend or loved one about it. It will also be good to talk with your doctor or a therapist about it as well.
Question of the Week
What do you do to help you cope/recover from depression?
American Psychiatric Association. (2017, January). What Is Depression? Retrieved October 21, 2019, from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression.