A few years ago I published my book "Growing Up Nobody". In the book I was quite open about the struggles I faced in my younger years. The fact my dad suffered from mental illness and facing the death of both of my parents by the age of 24. Because of this I have also had the opportunity to give talks and do many podcast interviews. I use this time to let people know that at times you can feel like your at the end of your rope but you can make it. Yes life can be hard but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Just look at me!
But what if the motivator if depressed. Yes I have overcome a lot. Yes I am very blessed to have a great job that provides for my family and allows me to travel. Yes I have a beautiful wife who loves me greatly. I also have three wonderful children who, yes, drive me absolutely crazy but deep down wonderful people and make me proud. But that doesn't mean I cannot suffer from depression.
I find myself fighting Seasonal Depression most winters. This year has been one of the worst. So as you can imagine it becomes very hard to stand up and tell others that they can over come the opsticles in their life when you yourself are experiencing great sadness, lack of energy and feelings of hopelessness and loneliness.
Over the years I have developed some things that help me get through. One is vacation planning. During the winter months I spend a lot of time looking for places to visit and plan our next vacation. This helps give me something to be excited about in the future. It gives me a feeling of today may be rough but look what is coming. It helps bring hope. Another is playing guitar. As I wrote about in a previous post, Daughters Daddies and Guitars I have recently been living out the dream of being able to play guitar. This also bring me joy to know that I have progressed far enough in a skill I have always wanted to learn to do it in front of people.
I know that fighting depression isn't as easy as playing guitar. I spent a winter as what I call a functioning depressant. I went to work and then came home and slept until it was time to go to bed. It was a rough time. But I do believe that everyone has things they love and a lot of the time we do not get time to do them. Sometimes cost prevents us but more than not we just don't have the time or we feel selfish when we take time for ourselves. I know I do. But not taking care of yourself can take a toll on you not only emotionally but physically. Many professionals say that the lack of certain types of self-care is linked to all sorts of diseases and illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. Taking care of yourself is not selfish. It is just the opposite. Taking time for yourself can help reduce feelings like anxiety, exhaustion and stress. When these are reduced you will be able to be more of yourself for the people around you. By you taking care of yourself, you are giving to them.
It can be hard. So many people rely on you. That's a good thing. It helps give you purpose but you need to say no sometimes and go do that thing you want to do, even if it's just a long hot bubble bath.
I understand this is not a cure for depression. In fact there are many types of depression and many need treatment from a doctor. You may even be given medication. Which is okay. There is nothing wrong with that. It's just another way of taking care of yourself. So if you find yourself feeling...
feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
have sleep changes
lack of energy
inability to concentrate
difficulty getting through your normal activities
lack of interest in things you used to enjoy
or withdrawing from friends
You just may be suffering from depression. Talk to someone. Anyone. Especially if you have a preoccupation with death or thoughts of self-harm. You are worth it!
This world can demand a lot from you. It's okay to say no sometimes. It's okay to take care of yourself. It's okay to admit you are suffering from depression and it is more than okay to get help. There are tons of us that fight the above feelings everyday. We stand next to you at the store or are in the car next to you. We struggle to. Even those of us that seem like was always have it all together and live wonderful lives. Sometimes even the guy who is trying motivate you! You are NOT alone.
Below are some common types.
Major depression - People with major depression experience symptoms most of the day, every day. Like many mental health conditions, it has little to do with what’s happening around you. You can have a loving family, tons of friends, and a dream job. You can have the kind of life that others envy and still have depression.
Persistent depression - is depression that lasts for two years or more. It’s also called dysthymia or chronic depression. Persistent depression might not feel as intense as major depression, but it can still strain relationships and make daily tasks difficult.
Perinatal depression - occurs during pregnancy or within four weeks of childbirth. It’s often called postpartum depression. But that term only applies to depression after giving birth. Perinatal depression can occur while you’re pregnant.
Seasonal depression - is depression that’s related to certain seasons. For most people, it tends to happen during the winter months.
Situational depression - clinically known as adjustment disorder with depressed mood, looks like major depression in many respects. It may be brought on by specific events or situations, such as the death of a loved one, a serious illness, divorce or child custody issues, being in emotionally or physically abusive relationships, being unemployed or facing serious financial difficulties.
If you think someone is at immediate risk of self-harm or hurting another person:
• Call 911 or your local emergency number.
• Stay with the person until help arrives.
• Remove any guns, knives, medications, or other things that may cause harm.
• Listen, but don’t judge, argue, threaten, or yell.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline. Try the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.