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