Posted in Faith journey, Personal growth

A personal talk about depression

Photo by Bryan Schneider on Pexels.com

If you’ve been reading my blog, you will know that November and December of 2018 was an upheaval of sorts with my 5-year-old daughter getting hospitalized three times in one month. When she gets sick, it affects our whole family taking us time to recover and settle back into our regular life. After the last hospitalization, we spent the last week of December catching up on sleep and physical rest.

January couldn’t come any faster. I wanted to put 2018 behind us and start new: a new year, a new attitude, new experiences, new adventures, new plans. The first two days of this year went well for me. Then, on January 3rd, a rush of sadness and hopelessness swept over me. These feelings surfaced intermittently, but I pushed them away so I could keep moving forward. But at Ellis’ cardiology appointment on January 3rd, a casual conversation with the social worker brought my despair to light. I didn’t know why it was a big deal that we had a rough month; I was doing just fine.

On these clinic visits, parent/s and child meet with various specialists to discuss issues, progress, and questions. Many parents with children who have chronic medical conditions suffer from depression, anxiety, and symptoms of PTSD (hospital experiences become a war zone in the mind). Doctors always ask parents how they are holding up. But this time it was evident to me that I was not okay. I recalled what happened each time, which events led up to it, and how I was coping; having someone ask me with sympathetic eyes just broke me down. I was hurting.

My depression has made another grand entrance in my life. I’ve struggled with it since my twenties, and I notice it reoccurs with major life changes or stressers. It’s hard to talk about depression openly with all the negative stigma attached to it and as a Korean-American. These kinds of things are rarely discussed, acknowledged, or admitted in Asian cultures; there’s lots of shame attached to self and to one’s family. It can be seen as a sign of personal weakness and lack of willpower. Oh well. So be it.

I have depression with propensity for panic breakdowns. I wish I didn’t have it and many times I white knuckle it through those anxiety sweeping moments. But talking about it releases the grip it has on me. Sometimes I get tired of smiling and making it seem like I’m doing fine when really I’m scared and hurting badly inside. This kind of stuff is hard to share: what if my feelings burden someone else?; what if it makes people dislike me?; will they think I’m crazy?; will this label me?; will people think I’m a bad Christian?

I don’t want to be seen as the party pooper who walks around with a dark cloud above my head. It’s not all the time, so I would rather keep it to myself. With depression, it’s hard to articulate those waves of sadness and hopelessness that overpowers the self.

I made a doctor’s appointment the next day. My current medication was not working. I couldn’t let it get worse; I really was holding on by a thread. I’ll see a therapist again. My constant irritability and crying were affecting my family members; it wasn’t only about me anymore. I feel very vulnerable and weird sharing this on my blog. But this blog is about my life and how can I ignore it. Believing in God does not mean that I’m immune from things like this; God is here in the midst and helping me work through it. I cling to Him more in times like this.

I’m learning that it’s better to seek help to get better than to sweep it under the rug. I do the latter a lot and it explodes in various ways. I hope anyone who is depressed and feel hopeless will reach out for help. It doesn’t have to stay this way.

BTW, if my writing sounds defensive or too explanatory, please understand. This is a vulnerable topic for me and something I feel ambivalent about. Thanks readers!!

Author:

Writing and daydreaming have always been two of my favorite things to do. I've been an avid journal writer since junior high school. It was a way for me to survive the complex world of being a Korean-American female straddling two cultures. Journal writing continued through graduate school, but that luxury is now replaced with multitasking to raise and homeschool two young kids. As the self-proclaimed domestic C.E.O. of our home, personal reflection occurs mostly in my subconscious dreams, during solo grocery shopping runs, or when my husband Chris takes the kids to Costco for an afternoon trip.

23 thoughts on “A personal talk about depression

  1. Aw, my heart aches for you. I can’t even begin to sympathize with your situation, but I can empathize from a mom’s perspective. We hold so much in, we carry such a burden on our shoulders, and we can’t do that indefinitely without release or reaching out for support. You’ve done the right thing by seeking professional help and by releasing what’s inside you in words as they flowed on the page. If I had perfect words of wisdom to share, I’d do it. All I can come up with is that you are a wonderful and loving mom, and your children’s smiles indicate to me how much all of your efforts of digging deep for strength are worth it. I’m sending you hugs and healing prayers from me to you xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Shelley!! Your words are so encouraging and lovely. I appreciate the last part of your comment about my children’s smiles. It’s good to share this journey with you and be your blogging friend. 🙂

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  2. I understand your feelings very well. And I often feel the same. I have had a very hard childhood with a narcissistic mother and later I married a deeply narcissistic man.
    I often felt so very depressed all my life and it was very difficult for me to see the sense or the meaning of the whole.
    Acceptance sounds crazy, I know. But the better way is to accept that your inner soul led you to this point for raising your personality.
    Often we feel depressed because of our heritage, because depression can also be inherited. I know only from my father that he had severe depression and took his own life because of it. That’s why I never met him, so I can’t ask him about his family anymore.
    Nowadays, I still have depressive phases and the sadness is almost unbearable. But since I accept them as my legacy, they don’t last as long as they used to. I accept these phases as part of my life and accept them like the weather. When it rains, I wait until it stops again. Because: it stops again.
    I’ve got you in my heart. Everything’s gonna be fine. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand what you’re saying. Depression is not something that just comes and goes; it can be inherited or it can result from difficult childhoods and relationships. But it’s hard to pinpoint one reason why it happens. When it comes though, it feels devastating.
      I admire your perspective of accepting this part of myself and weathering them. I can’t wish I had a different life because then I wouldn’t be where I am and who I am.
      Thank you for sharing your vulnerable experiences with me. My goodness, how much you have experienced and overcome tells about your strong and brave spirit. It’s hard to know what other people are going through from just seeing on the outside. Your support has been encouraging through my experiences and I’m grateful for this blogging community.
      Love your open spirit, empathy, and kind words!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wrote you to let you know: you’re not alone!
        I think it’s very good that you wrote about your depression, even if it’s very difficult for you as an Asian.
        If you want, write me a personal message (https://thousandmiles.blog/contact/), so we can go through this dark phase together; it helps a lot when you know that there are people who understand you! ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  3. As reading from post above, you have many friends who really care about you. Depression is a real condition, not a weakness or something to be ashamed of. If talking about it helps, talk away. We will all listen and send out blogging hugs of love. Hang on tight to Christ’s hand. He will help you get on level ground again. you have a beautiful family that loves you dearly. May you all feel God’s love through the year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel truly blessed that people accept me and love me as I am. I sometimes assume that people won’t like me if I’m not my usual chipper self. The last thing I want to do is drain other people with my issues. But I’m learning to accept kindness and to know that I am worth it. Everyone gets depressed at some point or another and life circumstances can exacerbate it. I keep reminding myself that it’s okay to feel this way; the reality is that it’s been tough caring for a special health care needs child. Not saying this to get sympathy…just really hard.
      Blogging friends like you make this space safe and inviting to just be myself!! And yes I am holding onto Christ’s hand going through this. I love the Psalm verse about God being close to the brokenhearted.
      Thank you for your blogging friendship and for your kind and encouraging words!!

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    1. Feeling your love!! You’ve always been my constant cheerleader and letting me know that I need to ride out the feelings and not brush them away.
      All our conversations remind me the importance of being authentic and being kind to myself. My goodness, how many lessons of life I’ve learned with you. Even though we’re on opposite coasts, you are one call away. So grateful for you. Love you so much!!!

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  4. It’s slightly different but we have some guys at our football club who suffer from mild mental illness, anxiety and depression. They have all found that being open with the other supporters about the difficulties they experience brings about a new level of, well, support and friendship. I think you will find that writing about your depression is an important step in fighting it 🙂 Best wishes to you and yours 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind comment and encouragement! Not talking about it makes it worse and self-isolating. And talking about it helps other people to share too; makes for a safe space to share. It’s great that those guys are sharing their troubles with friends. I can imagine how tough that can be for guys who may not feel so comfortable talking about feelings.
      Thanks again for your comment and for the follow!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It takes courage and strength to talk about depression. It is great that you put it in writing; it can be very therapeutic and give you empowerment. I had depression in my twenties and forties and I do take anti depressant. The beauty of starting a new year is that there is hope it will be better than the last year. So cheers to you, for taking so many steps for your health!! Prayers that as you go through your journey you never feel you are alone. Hugs and kisses sent your way. 💙

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words and support!! I hesitated at first putting into words, much less sharing it here. It sure makes you feel vulnerable, but it feels better to know that I’m not alone and not crazy. Wishing you a good year filled with goodness and hope!!

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