Above All: My Battle With The D-Word

Ever since my son Jack was born, I have struggled with recurring bouts of depression. If you know me personally, this might come as a surprise. It’s not something I talk about very often. It’s just so dark and heavy. It’s hard to talk about without losing it. And, as Marjorie Hinckley said so well, “…crying gives me a headache.” For a while, the depression got rather serious. Every day was a challenge. I just couldn’t remember ever feeling happy about anything, and my days were punctuated with questions from my five-year-old like, “Mommy, why do you cry so much?”

It’s gotten better. We just celebrated Jack’s first birthday last month. As the dust settled from our move, and the daily routine settled into a productive(ish) life with four kids, so did the emotions (and the hormones) begin to balance out. But, every now and then, there is a backslide. I can feel the storm clouds gathering overhead. I can feel myself begin to withdraw, huddling deep within the recesses of my mind. And the battle against the darkness resumes.

Interestingly, the worst part of this particular battle for me is the guilt. I mean, there are people out there in the world that have real, legitimate problems. And here I am, crying in the shower again and feeling sorry for myself.

I don’t have all the answers yet. But it is getting better. Today, this talk given by a church leader I admire has given me great strength, and great hope. There is peace in knowing who you are. And this reminded me that I am not my depression.

I am not my bad days.

I am so much more.

Photo courtesy of Helena Zanting at https://www.flickr.com/photos/helenajz/

10 thoughts on “Above All: My Battle With The D-Word”

    1. I bet if we took a survey, 98% of women would admit to having struggled with depression at one time or another….and the other 2% would be lying. HA! Just a personal opinion, of course. 😉

  1. Kim. What a brave thing to do to share such a personal challenge that you have kept deep within. It madee think about your previous post… About starting things (which I am also so good at and then stop)… And how you weren’t sure what all this was for at times etc. In addition to just being a voice for so many of us that are living parrellel lives and see ourselves In so any of your stories….perhaps this is your therapy. Maybe that is the silver lining in all of this? While you give us other moms comfort… You are also healing yourself by just letting it out. I love these little posts. They are so so real, so human, with faults and with so much love:-) who would have known that after 18 years of not seeing you since highschool that I would come to admire you again as an adult:-) good for you for being true to yourself and embarking on this journey!!

    1. Lisy, I feel the same way about you! I think it’s a powerful thing, how social media can connect people in such positive ways, reaching across distance and time. It’s funny how up until a few years ago I felt like my life was segmented into these separate chunks of different friends and experiences, and only now am I feeling like it is one whole piece! I love the connectedness of it. Does that make sense? Anyways, thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. You are such a beautiful person, inside and out. Thank you for being so supportive!

  2. I bawled my way through that talk when I heard it. I do think you are brave for sharing your struggles, but it’s so important because you are not alone. I think many people battle depression at some point (or all) of their lives and it helps to recognize it and search for ways to treat it. My family has several members who have gone through this and I have been there as a caregiver to my Mom as she has. I love Elder Holland’s words to be kind to those who are depressed and that we need to be charitable always to them. Thanks for being so personal here. I, too, haven’t “known” you for a long time, but as I’ve followed along with you, I have come to admire you so much!

    1. Oh Erica, I don’t think of myself as being brave at all, but thank you. It is a bit scary sharing something so personal, but I think it’s important because depression is shrouded with such mystery and stigma, it only further isolates the people struggling with it! My family also shares a history of similar struggles. I appreciated Elder Holland shedding light on the subject and bringing it to the forefront of our discourse. Thanks for following along. It makes it worthwhile knowing I have readers like you!

  3. I hear ya, lady! This is a battle many face, me included. I have found strength in not feeling guilty about my feelings. I feel them and then turn to Heavenly Father. I realized that even though I feel like others had bigger problems than me and I had no right to be crying over such a silly thing…..Heavenly Father does not think my problems are silly. He knows that it is hard for me, and He will help me. This has helped me when the “storm is looming.” I am learning to embrace my imperfections and rolling with what may come my way.

  4. I appreciate your honesty. I am fairly open about my depression. My ‘baby’ is 2 1/2 so I definitely do not have the baby blues. I have been off and on anti-depressants since becoming a mom and I have recently, in the last month, decided to stop that roller coaster. I’m happier, better adjusted, and more stable ON medication and that’s ok. Im just going to let myself be ok about needing it. Depression runs in my family, mothering little kids is stressful and if I need to pop a pill each morning to avoid the pits of depression, then that’s what I’ll do. I feel like Elder Holland gave me permission to do that, in a way. He told “us” to seek spiritual and temporal help. I KNOW, for me, that I cant read and pray my way out when I’m really low. So I accept that medication keeps me in a more balanced place where I can then use exercise, prayer, scriptures, fasting, friends and family to pick me up. We are meant to have joy in this life so we all need to be really honest with ourselves and acknowledge the ways we can help ourselves achieve that. You’re so right about the stigma attached to depression. It’s better in recent years, but still spoken of only in hushed voices. None of us need endure this alone. We’ve got to pick ourselves up off the closet floor and rally around each other! 🙂

  5. After struggling with this for 6 long years (since my son was born) and a total unwillingness to prescription medicate, I had a doctor recommend trying St. John’s Wort. There are possible side-effects and warnings, so check thoroughly, but it is enough for me. I can see the forest for the trees finally.

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