I’ve debated hitting publish on this post for 31 days. So here’s to practicing what I preach – authenticity, courage and vulnerability.
Hi, I’m Rachel and I’m a carefree, happy-go-lucky, extrovert that struggles with depression.
There’s a reason I haven’t been blogging or youtubing or instagramming or anything recently. Depression. Not postpartum, not seasonal affective disorder (it’s totally real, google it!)… full on, don’t want to leave my house (or more specifically my couch) depression.
As I’m sitting here getting ready for my therapy appointment this afternoon it hits me, because of my personality I’m probably able to hide or mask that part of my life pretty well. You wouldn’t know that there are days (or let’s be real, more like weeks) where I don’t want to leave the couch and quietly sing “Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I guess I’ll go eat worms.”
It’s so debilitating. It’s this invisible sickness that I wish I could just shout from the rooftops about, but in reality I’m ashamed that I feel this way. I want to just motivate my way out of it and overcome it, but it seems impossible.
The trigger was vacation… of all things it was vacation. One of the first things we did was put Ryan’s parents to rest in the ocean off Long Beach, CA. It was beautiful. But as I threw the last 2 roses on their ashes it finally hit me that they were both gone, and my husband and brother are now orphans.
So for 6 weeks I’ve been in the throws of depression. Hardly cooking (which I love to do), not cleaning (which needs to be done), barely keeping up on laundry, and not wanting to go anywhere or see anyone.
I’ve struggled with depression since I was in middle school. It escalated when we moved in the middle of high school, and only resolved once I moved out of my parents house. It spiked again a few years after college, and only got worse postpartum. Living with this mental illness has been hard – especially since I’ve been surrounded by Christians my whole life telling me that I just need to pray my way out of it or “trust Jesus.”
Sometimes it’s more than that. Sometimes you need medication. Sometimes you need therapy. Sometimes it’s actually a chemical imbalance. Sometimes you want to just crawl in a hole and hide under a blanket. Sometimes you just need someone to come alongside you and love you where you’re at rather than trying to fix you. Sometimes you just need validation and acceptance, even when you’re not at your best. Especially when you’re not at your best.
So here I am at 36 – in therapy for anxiety and depression, trying to figure out who I am and what I want to do with my life. Stripping away the unspoken expectations. Listening to my heart. Leaning into my people, and trying to stay balanced. But damn, if that’s not hard as hell when you’re invisibly suffering.
When I confided in one of my friends that I was finally on the upswing she asked me a really great question, “How did you pull yourself out of it?” And you know what? I wish I had the answer to that. I know exactly what the trigger was – we said our final goodbye around the same time she was diagnosed last year. But the catalyst that pulled me out? I couldn’t tell you… maybe it was therapy, maybe it was love, maybe it was my daughter’s laughter and realizing that life is bigger and failure isn’t permanent. Whatever it was, I’m grateful that the roller coaster is coming up the hill again, and I’m grateful for my friends that kept texting, calling, and crawling in my blanket fort with me.
Check on your friends with depression, we are not okay.