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four little words

four little words

depressionLast week, I had the great privilege to hear a brave young man say aloud, in front of a room full of strangers, the four words that I sometimes have trouble saying to myself:

I suffer from depression.

If you met me in real life, you would have a hard time believing that I suffer from depression. I am extremely outgoing, relentlessly positive & freakishly energetic.  I am a busy, happy mother of two amazing boys, owner of a successful business, reliable volunteer, master connector and social butterfly. I am the girl who will strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere and form deep friendships with complete strangers. I am, as the saying goes, the life of the party.

Except when I’m not. Because sometimes . . . Shit gets dark.

We all get sad – when people we love don’t love us back, or when people we love get sick or die. That’s normal. But when things are really good and we’re still sad?

That’s not normal and it’s not good.

My outward positivity is not an act; I really am that vivacious girl you see but I’ve also been the girl who lacks the energy to get out of bed for days. Who can’t stop crying. Who needs help taking care of her kids. I am fortunate to have a very loyal support system that includes my kick ass mom, many dear friends, my ex-husband and my incredible therapist.  And for the past 6 years, I relied on anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication to help me get through each day and have the energy to face the next one.

People tend to get funny (and by “funny” I mean “judgmental”) when you discuss anti-depressants.

Maybe you need to exercise more? Do more yoga?

Have you tried St. John’s Wort?

Yes, yes and Good God yes.

But you also have to recognize and accept that sometimes these things alone may not be enough to help someone who is truly depressed. For me personally, it is a combination of therapy, medication and mindfulness that allows me to be happy and productive and manage my depression.

These days, I would say that I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I’m excited about the possibility of a new day to enjoy my children, take on a great project, do the things I love and be with people who make me happy. In fact, I’m feeling so content that I have decided to test the waters of a life free of anti-depression meds.

With the assistance of my doctor, therapist, friends and family, I have slowly been weaning myself off of my current medication. We’re aware of the warning signs should my moods start to go sideways and I will not hesitate to go back on medication if I need to. But right now, I want to try to be meds-free. Wish me luck!

A large part of depression for many people can be found in the stigma attached to it. Thanks to the courage of people like Kevin Breel, I’m no longer ashamed of my disease and hope that others find solace in knowing that they’re not alone. And maybe find the courage to say those four words to themselves and to others and do whatever it takes to get well.  It will be the best thing you can do for yourself and the people who love you.

About Pam

Pam
Pam is a Vancouver-based mother of two who writes with honesty, humor & hope about her post-wife life at divorcedoula.me After working through a difficult separation and divorce. she now enjoys a enlightened co-parenting relationship with her former husband. She started DivorceDoula.me to share her experiences and resources with others who may be going through a separation or divorce of their own.

8 comments

  1. Shannon Fisher

    I’ve been saying the shit out of it all over my blog for years. Good for you, sister friend.

    This is a tricky journey we’re on.

    xo

  2. Stephanie Robbins

    Thank you for writing this post! Beautifully written. We have a similar story Inspiring and spoke to my soul.

  3. Tiffany Grisdale

    Great post. Your courage inspires me. Thank you for writing it.

  4. Tara Wilson

    Depression is such a challenging thing to deal with, and feeling judged should not ever have to be a part of it. Best wishes in your journey.

  5. Brooke

    You took the words out of my mouth. I too am the social butterfly, talk to anyone person, so nobody would believe me. However, I am not ready to wean yet. I don’t feel ashamed but I hate people’s judgements and assumptions about it.

  6. Pam

    Thank you everyone for your support. I’m glad that this post inspired you to share. xo

  7. Magnolia Ripkin

    There is nothing wrong with medication when you need it, and checking to see if the coast is clear and maybe you can go without. There is also nothing one can do about people who think a person can just power through depression. They are assholes and would be pretty surprised at the level of smack down that is delivered by a depressive state.

  8. You are not alone. Yup, me too. Been on medication for centuries. I wish you well on your journey to come off meds. Someday, i’ll tell you what happened to me when i tried it, lol. Never feel like you are alone.

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