Ladies, I am going to share something with you that may be considered taboo: there was a time that I experienced depression. The depression was brought on by the circumstances of my job. I had always prided myself on being a people-person and I enjoyed helping others; so as my professional role as an administrative assistant I excelled at both. That is until I got in the cut-throat world of a company that should remain nameless where I was the assistant to one of its top executives. I managed to stay on for a couple of years before I finally had enough and walked away. But, doing this brought my self-esteem and self-worth to the very lowest I’d ever been or experienced. The experience had me questioning myself as an individual, a woman, and a mother. You see, it had taken me through highs and lows within those two years. I recall going to work when my boyfriend at the time would drop me off and dreading the moment we pulled up in front of the building. Then I would dread going to the elevator to go up to my floor. Furthermore, each time I had to use the elevator to go from one department to the other, my first instinct was to press the button for the first floor (as if it was time for me to leave and go home). I would make this mistake everyday and throughout the day.
It began to affect my personality and my interaction with my family. I had no desire or strength to participate in everyday normal activities at home. Just to interact with the kids was a difficult act. Once I had made up my mind to leave the job, I sought help from a psychologist. It wasn’t necessarily a decision I made easily; however, it was one that I made due in part to my health insurance and the fact that the reason behind my unemployment was stress. It was a first for me; something of which was totally new to me. It was unchartered territory. The counseling sessions were one-on-one and the psychologist was an older female (a little eccentric), but easy to talk to. However, I was ashamed at having to go to her and was a bit resistant at first so it was difficult for me to share my innermost feelings and thoughts with her. As women we are taught to be strong and we are labeled as such (even as women, in general). We are thought of as being able to handle any situation that may come up and deal with it. To direct and maintain our lives with our families and friends (which is personal) and our professional lives on a daily basis. Besides, I’m a shy person at first until I get to know a person. Then, I started talking and opening up to her and it became easier as time went by.
At first, I didn’t recognize it as depression; to me it was stress. I soon learned that the job was just a small component of my depression (it was the stressor that opened up these feelings and emotions that I had begun to experience). Therefore, it went much deeper than the job. It went back to my growing up (childhood). During my time off, I found myself wanting to hide, wanting to escape and sleep constantly. I begrudged or resented having to share my time to help others. I didn’t want to have to get up and make breakfast for the boys and take them to school. And when I did, I couldn’t wait to get back home and go back to bed and sleep. Then when others required my assistance that took me away from my sleep throughout the day, I hated it. I wanted so desperately to say “no” to them, but didn’t have the courage to say so without (I thought) sounding selfish. Mind you, I had been prescribed medication (Prozac was one I started off with and then she changed it to Zoloft because the Prozac was too strong for me). But, with her help I began to re-gain myself back. And what I mean is that I began to feel stronger. I started participating once again in my children’s lives and wanting to do it. You might ask yourself as a parent how can you “not participate in your young children’s lives”? Well, it’s when you do the bare minimum and not take time to really sit with them and ask how their day was and listen (really listen) to what they have to say. You just tell them to go watch TV or send them outside 24/7 so as to give you more personal time for yourself. And you definitely, don’t have the patience with them that is required.
I started sleeping less and less and being able to smile and laugh once again (doing it easily without the Zoloft; you see as soon as I begun to feel better I began to take it less and less until I didn’t feel the need for it any longer). I enjoyed doing the simple things again and talking with friends and family. Then the final test was when I was ready to tackle the task of looking for another job.
Now you know I have to say that all of that I had gone through; from the lowest back to the highest would not have been achievable without God’s help (the ability to get back up). I recognized this and thanked and praised Him for getting me through it. I looked at my psychologist as being one of God’s helpers whom he put me in touch with. Her abilities enabled me to look deep inside myself and accept me for who I had become and to whom I wanted to be; which is a strong woman who is also gentle and vulnerable; spiritual, caring, intelligent, sexy, fun, serious, positive, (in general a good person). And, that is who I am today, right now. It took me this long and my experiences thus far to become me.
So, I’ve shared this with you to introduce to you a woman who is actually on a continual journey. I’d like to name her story as a Woman’s Journey Through Depression………… Her story is an eye-opener, a look into one’s soul and personal self. It is a look at how depression can be a one-time or may be even two-three time occurrences in one’s life or in her case, a lifetime illness that she’s had to contend with. Her name is Juko Martina Holiday and without further ado, here is her story: http://vimeo.com/5043084 (“Practicum Project: Responding to Deep Sadness with Spirit”). Please note, that it is a video that lasts approximately 23 minutes.
Ladies, after you have had the chance to read my story and watch Juko’s, I hope you walk away with the knowledge that we no longer have to be ashamed for feeling the way we do. Please remember to (and I mean remember) that you can reach out for help. You don’t have to carry things on your shoulders by yourself. There is help out there for you; whether it is a family member(s), a friend(s), a spiritual advisor, psychologist, etc. Your first step is to ask for it. It’s OK!