Being in good health, for me, begins with my mental health. For many many years I have struggled with depression. Of course at first I didn’t really understand that was the problem. It started with panic attack like symptoms when I miscarried my second child. I was irritable and tired all the time. I wanted to sleep a lot, had headaches and didn’t want to socialize. I didn’t take care of myself physically, because I was physically unable too because of the depression. It was literally controlling my life. Prior to and the years following my divorce this became worse. First of all, as a mom and the wife of an “ill” husband I had no time to take care of myself. I had no time for myself…period..never mind making healthy choices for myself. I just kept going day after day , feeling more isolated and lost. I knew I wasn’t happy but I didn’t know why. After my divorce and the change in antidepressant I became worse but in a different way. I was thinking about dying all the time. Thoughts would run through my head that were not ME. Unbeknownst to me, my best friend was watching my suffering and mood changes closely. It didn’t take long before he gave me the name of a doctor that specialized in Antidepressants. This doctor was amazing. She finally (and quickly) got my medication correct and within 3 days I felt so much better. It’s not only a pill that makes me happy though. You have to want to be happy. You have to want to move on and get better. I didn’t realize before that depression was a real illness. I hear people saying just “snap out of it”. It’s not something that you can snap out of. True depression is from a chemical imbalance in the brain. It’s not your fault, it’s not something to be able to control. But without good mental health, you can’t have good physical health. It’s not anything to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. It can happen to anyone.
I would sit in a chair for hours at a time, watching the raindrops, or the leaves blowing. Before I knew it the entire day was gone. I didn’t want to leave the house. I didn’t talk or see my friends, or exercise. I felt like I could not get out of my own way if I had too. My mind was like Pea Soup. It was a fog so thick that I could not see through to make the most simple decision. It affected every aspect of my life. My relationships with men, my friends, my family and kids, and even work. All I wanted to do was sleep until I started to feel better with this new medication. The color came back into my face, I laughed again. It was a strange sound, as I had not heard it in so long. I went to the gym and started feeling better. I was more relaxed and could finally start to look to the future and make decisions. It was then I started advocating for people to be open about depression.
Even though I feel better most days I have to be careful. I need to make sure I don’t miss any doses of medication or I feel horrible. My alcohol intake has to be small to none at all. I have found talking about it helps. I have had a very hard time with this, because at some point over the last 5 years or so I put up some serious walls, and I don’t let people in far. But I’ve tried to open up to people about depression, and cutting and suicidal thoughts because they are real. I don’t think you can have a healthy lifestyle or even a healthy relationship with someone if you are not in a good place mentally. Once you deal with the depression the rest of it seems to fall into place.
It’s something that I deal with every day. When I feel it…I need to force myself to push through it. It’s physically hard to do, but you have to push through it. I will get into moods where I don’t want to leave the house. I literally don’t feel like I have the energy to run an errand. I need to force myself. I don’t want to go out with friends, and I need to force myself. I have good days and bad and I constantly have to be aware.
So even though I don’t have a physical disability or an illness that can be found with a blood test, xray or ultrasound, my illness, when not controlled, still keeps me from having a healthy active lifestyle. So If you think you may be suffering from depression please go talk to your doctor. Do some research yourself and fight for your health. It will not only be good for you, but everyone else around you as well.