Thursday, December 27, 2007

on the road to recovery

It has been almost two months since I first posted about my struggle with depression and I figured it was time that I gave a bit of an update.

I'll get right into it and let you all know that I'm happy to be able to say that things have drastically improved for me over the course of the last several weeks. It got worse before it got better -- but the important thing is that it got better.

I'm not even exactly sure what changed, or when it changed; but the details don't even matter. All I know is that I haven't cried in almost a month, which is a huge change from it occuring on a daily basis. I know that I have more energy to give to my family and I have a greater ambition to focus on things that make me happy. And I know that I have more confidence in myself, especially in my abilities as a parent. Les has noticed a change too, as he has mentioned several times over the last couple of weeks that I am much more up-beat (which probably translates into being more fun to be around!).

I know the battle is not over. There are still times where the ugly beast of depression makes a re-appearance, and perhaps it will be something I will fight off-and-on for the rest of my life. But now I know that I am equipped with the tools to get through it.

For those of you who are struggling with depression and are wondering how you will ever survive it, here are some tips that worked for me (I don't claim to 'know it all', I'm just speaking from my personal experiences):

1. Prayer. Even when you don't feel like praying; when you feel like it won't even matter. Pray anyway. And ask others to pray for you, too.

2. Talk. I didn't actually end up going to a professional cousellor (although I toyed with the idea very seriously), but I talked about it with others that I trusted. Friends and family members who have been where I have been -- and got through it. Friends who could offer me support and hope and be by my side through it all. Friends who allowed me to be me.

3. Keep busy. This was the hardest thing for me. So often I didn't feel like doing a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g but wallow in my self-pity. Some days it was all I could do to get out of bed and start my day. But those days were the worst. I eventually came to the realization that keeping busy was a much better way of getting through the days. Making an effort to look my best even on days when I wasn't going to come into contact with the outside world. Cleaning or organizing a room in the house even when I rather felt like 'vegging' on the couch. Making a decent meal for my family for dinner instead of just quickly whipping up hot dogs yet again.

4. Acceptance. Accept the fact that this is happening to you. Don't pretend that it's 'nothing' and that it will just go away on its own. Understand that you are not at fault for it and that there are things you can do to improve how you feel. And allow yourself to feel the way that you feel. If it's inside you, you need to be able to express it.

They may not seem like mind-blowing suggestions, but they seemed to work for me. And just in case I haven't expressed it enough already, I want to say a gigantic "thank-you" to the outpouring of love, acceptance, prayers, encouragement and support that I have received. I debated whether or not to be that open on my blog about my personal struggles, but I see now that it was definitely the right thing to do. I think know that the positive responses that I received were a major contributor in helping me get where I am now.

Prayers are still appreciated since, as I said, the battle is not over -- but I am definitely on the road to recovery.


Leeann said...

First of all, thank you, thank you for the kind words on my page regarding my current stress. Your prayers are well appreciated.
Secondly, I completely understand how you have felt! It's amazing to me how many people suffer from depression!
I, too, still fight it and struggle with it. Outwardly, I have a fabulous life and no reason to be "depressed." Inwardly, I fought staying in bed all day, hiding from my family and driving everyone around me...away from me.
Thankfully, I found what triggers my depression and as long as I avoid it...I am fine.
I will pray for you and your struggle and I am so proud of you for being so open about this very common battle.

Hazel said...

wow such a lovely and happy family..happy new year to u.

Lisa said...

I, too, suffered in silence... Until the day I started crying and couldn't stop. That was 6 years ago. I'm still fighting the battle, but now I have weapons! Thank the Lord for His mercy! Sending you big ole hugs! :o)

Regina said...

Hey Andrea,
As usual you are so real and transparent. I pray for you and others who struggle through depression but especially for those who have no support system or worse, have yet to even know that they are struggling with depression.
As you continue to fight, God continues to be an ever present help in your time of need.

Blessings to you,

Pamela said...

(((Hugs))) The long dark days of winter play with my feelings too!

Kellan said...

I have several loved ones around me that struggle with depression and I know how difficult it can be to live with. I'm so glad to hear that you have see such positive improvement and sound so positive. I will keep you in my prayers and just so you know - just because my sight implies that I like to look on the upside of life (and I do - it is my nature) - I have issues in life too - we all do - and I am hear for you as your friend - should you need me. Take care and have a great weekend. Kellan

Pam said...

I am so glad that things are looking up for you. You have no reason to hide I am glad that you shared it on your blog. Depression is hard enough without having to feel like you carry the burden on your own. You have some great ideas to help you keep going even on those days when you don't feel like going. I hope you will keep us posted so we can lift you up when you feel down and we can praise you when you are feeling good. Hey- we are on the way to more day light! That will help to. You are the one who taught me to look at it in the positive light instead of thinking about how cold and hard it is right now. Yeah for you and your success!! Love ya girl!

Pam said...

YAY for improvement!! It is awesome that YOU see that as well... ((hugs)) - didn't remember to do that after I saw you today, so I'm doing it now while I remember!

Tot's Mom said...

Well, I'm very glad that you are getting better. Hope the new year would also bring further progress for you. Have a good weekend and Happy New Year too!

Rebecca said...

I'm so glad that things are looking up for you. Depression is a rough thing to get through and like you said the battle isn't over but it sounds like you've got some great tools/strategy that work for you. Keep it up girl!

Dawn said...

It is amazing how much depression there is, as leeann said. But thankfully there is help. You have come up with great suggestions. I don't personally suffer, but know many who do.

Thank you so much for coming over to check on Kristen. I am so glad you two have connected. She is going to be hospitalized until the babies are born, apparently. This makes life even more difficult for all of us. The specialist thinks maybe he can keep them in another 2 weeks.

Thanks for your prayers and care!

Melanie said...

I love how open and honest you are about this. I think many people suffer in silence. Your suggestions are great.

Carl & Kathy Heppner said...

Thanks for the update. I'll be keeping you in my prayers.