I suffer from depression – there, I said it!

by Raylene on July 8, 2013 · 26 comments

I’m a loving wife. I’m a great mom. I’m creative and talented. I’m a successful business owner, and I’m very good at what I do. And…

I suffer from depression.

Do you know how hard that is to say out loud… in public… on my blog even?

Put me in a box based on that diagnosis, if you must. However, I’m not asking you to feel sorry for me because of depression. It’s a statement of fact – I suffer from depression – as hard as it is to admit to the world.

I don’t mind telling you that I suffer from Poly-cystic Ovarian Disease, which causes insulin resistance as well. I suffer from acute astigmatism in one of my eyes. I suffer from kidney stones on occasion. I suffered for years with endometriosis and adenomyosis, with severe adhesions from scar tissue following 3 c-section births, and with the previously mentioned cystic ovaries.

Somehow, it’s still harder to admit to having depression, CHRONIC (on-going) depression, that is managed and mitigated with medications and self-care and diet and all kinds of stuff, but never really goes away…

I suffer from depression

I suffer from depression. It’s not easy. But you know what? It’s my life. And it’s OK…

No, depression itself is NOT OK… neither is diabetes, cancer, chicken pox, etc.  None of us get upset with people who have those issues. But I often feel like people are upset with me, and I know I’m often upset with myself, because I have depression.

Guess what? It just is. And it’s an issuenot my identity.  And it’s ok.

See, I think we’re trained that we’re not supposed to say anything until we’ve over come it… until we’re better and can look back at our lessons and see what really happened. Except…. this doesn’t go away. So, now what?

I’m doing my part in breaking the silence, and in standing in the gap for those who can not speak out for themselves.  I’m learning to love and accept myself for who I am, not who the world wants me to be, or who the world thinks I SHOULD be.

This is not (just) about educating other’s ignorance. It’s about learning to accept ourselves, and to love ourselves, and in doing so to accept that others hurt, too.

This TedxYouth video from Kevin Breel in Vancouver, BC, is what spurred me on to say something today, of all days. This 19-year-old is braver than I am… So much wisdom for his years. His 10-minute video is powerful, and his message is BANG ON!  Thanks, Kevin, for speaking out. I stand with you today.

I suffer from depression.

How does it make you feel when I say that?

{ 25 comments }

Tarasview July 8, 2013 at 7:48 PM

Sigh. Stupid chronic depression. I hate it and I hate that I have it too. It is important to talk about it and I’m glad you did.

xox

Raylene July 9, 2013 at 6:53 PM

It’s that “never quite goes away” thing that bugs me most, probably. How about you, Tara? I love you lady! Thanks for commenting. HUGS!!

Anne Taylor July 8, 2013 at 10:39 PM

….you saying you have chronic depression, makes me feel like I’m in some great company. I have dysthimia, chronic and sometimes severe depression, borderline personality disorder, anxiety, social phobias, agoraphobia….lol

Kudos to you for sharing!

Raylene July 9, 2013 at 6:55 PM

Aw, Anne.

“….you saying you have chronic depression, makes me feel like I’m in some great company.”

This made me kinda teary. Thanks for your sweet words! Hugs my friend.

How do you think others feel about you when they find out you have certain ‘conditions’?

Jeanne July 9, 2013 at 12:42 AM

Also a survivor. I no longer suffer, but I am a survivor.

Raylene July 9, 2013 at 6:58 PM

Jeanne, awesome!!! I thought when I was diagnoses with post-partum depression that I’d be able to say this one day, too. That’s SO encouraging – SOMEBODY right now needs to know that for some of us it DOES get better, WAY better, FOREVER better! Thanks for sharing! <3

Karen July 9, 2013 at 8:20 AM

Good for you to break the silence! I REALLY wish that as a society we saw mental illness just as matter-of-factly as we do physical illness.

Raylene July 9, 2013 at 7:01 PM

You’re right, Karen – I want the world to think of it as just part of a person, like their eye color, or having crooked toes, or dealing with migraines…. it’s a part of us. Then we might feel like its OK to get help. If we can’t see, we get glasses. If we have a thyroid imbalance, we take thyroid pills. If we are dealing with a mental illness, we do whatever we need to do to take care of it. We can hope, and talk, right!?

Karen July 9, 2013 at 7:47 PM

We can definitely keep hoping and talking!

Kenna Griffin July 9, 2013 at 3:55 PM

It takes a lot of courage to admit this. Unfortunately, there is a lot of stigma attached to admitting you suffer from depression (or any other mental illness). The most common one that comes to my mind is weakness. I appreciate that you spoke out. It shows strength and courage.

Raylene July 9, 2013 at 7:05 PM

Weakness is a big stigma, for sure, Kenna! I think people worry that I’ll be undependable, untrustworthy, incapable of doing my work or of having a relationship, or something like that. They decide ahead of time that I’ll be an issue. That’s why it’s hard to admit it in a venue that is so public.

Thanks for your kind words. I really appreciate your comment!!

Laura July 10, 2013 at 6:21 PM

Another big stigma is “crazy.” Popular media, especially thriller movies for instance, tend to portray people with mental illness as freaks and murdering psychopaths. Not normal people going about their lives while managing an illness. It sends the message that mental illness CAN’T be managed. I think that’s what throws a lot of people off if they have no experience with it. It’s either the, “but you’re managing so well, you seem so normal — you can’t possibly be sick,” or the “so it’s only a matter of time before you go on a rampage?!” reaction.

Karen July 10, 2013 at 6:46 PM

This is so true! I’ve gotten to the point that I really hate hearing the word crazy. It is SO negative. Until my husband was diagnosed with bipolar, I didn’t realize how people use it to really describe others who are scary or unstable. Just hearing someone say, “That woman is crazy,” frustrates me. Usually they mean really rude things about the person, and they know nothing about her at all. I hope that makes sense. Also, a coworker of mine describes her roommate as “bipolar” when she is angry with her and the roommate is being difficult. It’s all just so NEGATIVE. To me, it’s the same as saying, “That’s so retarded.” It’s offensive. As a society we don’t realize the impact of our words sometimes.

Raylene August 3, 2013 at 2:15 AM

I was afraid for years that I was going ‘crazy’. This is different, so different! I agree, that the connotation is so negative, and so misused that it doesn’t even make sense any more… *sigh*

Raylene August 3, 2013 at 2:17 AM

“waiting for the ticking time bomb to finally blow” – I’ve heard that, too. You’re right, Laura. It’s such a wrong message. And those of us who suffer from depression aren’t all ‘emo’ kind of peeps either. It’s these stereotypes that can be so harmful, and keep many from seeking help, and even allowing themselves to get better I think.

Laura July 9, 2013 at 5:51 PM

People who admit to suffering from mental illnesses are often stigmatized in a way that reminds me of people who come out of the closet only to be rejected by their friends and family. Kudos to you for standing strong. The more people like you talk about depression, what it is, and what it means, the more the stigma will go away. :)

Karen July 9, 2013 at 5:59 PM

That is a great analogy and one I was thinking of, too, though I wasn’t sure it would make sense to anyone else. My husband is bipolar, and we have definitely experienced the loss of friends and family. The worst part is that they are shunning us due to the strict routines we follow to keep my husband stable. They wouldn’t laugh at a diabetic for needing insulin at a certain time, why should they not understand that we are always home and getting ready to wind down for bed at a certain time?

Yes, keep talking, keep sharing. The only way for the stigma to go away is for people to see that their friends and family are still just “normal” people.

Raylene July 9, 2013 at 7:14 PM

Karen – EXACTLY!!!! I’ve been saying this same thing for a while. A diagnosis is a step toward HELP, so stop using the diagnosis against us!!! If I have to take thyroid medication, or blood pressure medication, or high cholesterol medication, and change my diet for those reasons, it’s fine… go with the flow. If I have to take anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds, and change my diet and routines for mental health reasons, I’m a freak, I’m weird, I’m over the top….? Yah, NOT cool. We do need to just keep letting people know that those of us who ARE trying to cope need acceptance – give us some grace and space, just like you would expect for yourself if you were faced with a ‘condition.

Karen July 9, 2013 at 7:55 PM

The funny thing is that people don’t even realize how much courage and strength it takes to ask for that help in the first place. Yes, grace and acceptance are needed in these situations.

Raylene July 9, 2013 at 7:09 PM

You’re right, Laura, it looks very much like that. Especially depending on your circles of influence. Heart breaking, really. :(

Thank you for adding this thought. I think it’s VERY appropriate for the situation. :)

Anne Taylor July 9, 2013 at 7:40 PM

I’m pretty isolated and don’t really meet alot of new people. My mom, who passed away in 2009 was really the only person in my family that “understood” my illness and was the only person I could talk too. My dad tells me to ” buck up” and that other people are much worse off than I am, in other words, he doesn’t get it lol My sister is the same and my brother won’t let me talk to him or his children. It sucks.

Because of my borderline personality, I’ve, in the past made some horrible choices with friends and but have left them all behind. I have nobody to talk to about how I feel, if I’m having a bad day, whatever…. (except my poor husband) lol Here in Victoria, there are no psychiatrists that take on patients who need long term therapy; they only want to add medications or take me off others.. its a nightmare really. I had a wonderful psychiatrist who saw me for about 7 years until he passed away. He passed away on the same day that my step daughter’s mother passed after committing suicide. I had another psychiatrist whom I liked but he moved back to England. I haven’t had therapy now for about 5 years.

As you can tell, I’m very open with my life, my illnesses etc. I don’t know why….I just am.

Here’s hoping we all have a brighter future ahead.

Raylene August 3, 2013 at 2:20 AM

Messing with medications is no fun. I’ve done that, and it can be a real roller coaster. Anne, I’m with ya – hoping for a brighter future for sure! <3

Heather, Mmm... is for Mommy July 19, 2013 at 7:51 AM

As someone with ongoing anxiety issues, just being open with the fact that I have them, eased them some… Paxil helps too :P

Raylene July 19, 2013 at 9:44 PM

I think you’re right, Heather. Admitting it, and being open about it, helps ease the stress of it!

I’ve not tried Paxil, but I know a lot of people have. :)

Rose October 6, 2013 at 1:16 PM

We all experience depression in varying stages, if we would acknowledge this we would be more understanding of people like you, who live with it everyday, a real illness, it may not be visible to the eye, but it is there. We dont call people who have headache mad or crazy, and this is invisible to everyone except the sufferer No I am not one in four who suffer, but have worked if the mental health field for many years and I have met some amazing people, it has been a humbling experience. I applaud for speaking out, better out than in. I wish you well.

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