Depression is not a total foreign concept to me, I grew up with people close to me who struggled greatly with it. I’m aware depression varies from person to person on the extent of how they’re affected and even the reasons why they’re affected.
While I was obese prior to 2009 I recall going through great feelings of sadness and just being plain down on life… I thought I had some mild form of depression, and I may have, but looking back I think I was just so saddened by where I was at physically that it took a toll on my emotional health.
Fast forward a few years, I dropped the extra 77lbs, was regularly working out, feeling great and accomplishing some big race goals. Throw in having my third son, losing the baby weight and moving on to accomplish even more big running goals. I had proven to myself that I had truly had a lifestyle change, which is what I wanted from the beginning. Then it happened….
At the beginning of 2014 I became extremely fatigued, tired all the time… emotional… all of it in ways I can only compare to the symptoms of being pregnant, only without actually being so. Finally I saw my DR, we did blood work and I answered a thousand questions…. The diagnosis? Either not sleeping well at night or depression. Why on earth would I have depression?? It MUST be a sleep issue, so we chose to address it as such.
I started taking magnesium at bedtime to help me sleep… it seemed like it was helping at first, but within a few months, it was apparent that wasn’t it.
I was in so much denial I kept pushing forward and trained for a marathon… running helps me, there is no doubt there, but after completing the 26.2 miles in November I fell even further in to an emotional rollercoaster and exhaustion.
Back to the DR early this year, more tests, more questions, and only one diagnosis: depression.
I wasn’t sidelined by some injury… at least with an injury you get a time frame of how long it may be around.
Depression has this terrible stigma, we are very hard on ourselves. You know what has an even worse stigma? Taking medication for depression.
Being around it growing up I am well aware of the benefits of it and have the view that if you were told you had cancer, you wouldn’t just will it away, you would get help… so that’s what I did. I began a low dose antidepressant. It took a while but I began to notice a change in how I was able to get up in the morning, however I also noticed how it affected my weight. Despite knowing I needed to be on the medication I had the hardest time telling people out of fear of judgment. I wanted to break the stigma, but sobbed when I told others. Several public emotional breakdowns later and I contacted my DR asking for the next highest dosage. I started running for a big race again, my second marathon, I did it… which is an accomplishment in and of itself, but it was so much harder than my first one, and I know this is why.
Depression is so complicated. You’re emotional. You’re exhausted. Lost in your thoughts about everything and nothing. You miss friends but find it so hard to be around them. You don’t want to do the things you first enjoyed. I would rather go run 15 miles alone than to be around other people for an hour… being around others is SO unbelievably draining, it takes way more energy emotionally than running did physically.
Depression affects everyone, it affects my kids when I don’t have the energy or motivation to do stuff. It affects my husband when I cry and he can’t help “fix” me…. But goodness he is so great at just holding me.
Running helps me, and sometimes just choosing to nap helps me. I’ve put on a few more pounds by choosing sleep over running, and from emotional/stress eating. I keep telling my husband how I’m getting chubby and I don’t like it. He assures me I’m not but my immediate response is, “my clothes say otherwise”.
Today I had my “ah ha” moment…
my clothes should NOT dictate my health.
Yes, I do not fit in all of my clothes right now, that doesn’t make me fat, or unhealthy. I don’t need to be upset over my clothes when I’m finally doing better emotionally, so I chose to go buy a few things a different size to make me feel comfortable during this trying season I’m in. And you know what? I felt good.
Depression sucks… literally. It sucks the life out of you. You criticize everything about yourself, but clothes won’t be part of that now.
Do what you need to do to help yourself get through it. Don’t deny the symptoms. Seek help. Take the medicine if need be. And do whatever is necessary to see you through. I’m not out of it yet, but at least clothes will not be bringing me down on myself anymore.
I get it friends and so does God. Lean on Him… cling to Him.