The Part of My Story I Don't Usually Talk About
This post is inspired by my own struggle with depression and by those in my life who struggle. I think it is important for anybody struggling with their physical health, to also take care of their mental health. The two are inextricably linked and one can not reach their optimal health until they address both.
Growing up, I blamed my unhappiness on my weight. I was too fat to look good, fit into clothes, or get looks from boys. I was too fat to be my parent's favorite, not athletic enough, not cool enough. I spent a lot of time by myself. It seemed that people around me were always having fun with friends, going places, doing things.
In high school and in college, I must have appeared normal. I didn't dress in all black or cry all day. I was in honors classes, school activities, student leadership, journalism, drama....a little bit of everything. My grades were decent and I appeared to be on a good track. I blamed my feelings on myself. If I just tried harder, if I could just lose the weight, if I could just join another team or club.
Asking for help was really hard. After my son turned 5, I sought help from my Dr. She was empathetic, but explained that it was probably just, "...going back to work that has you down" and suggested that, "...working out will really help your mental attitude..."
That was it, I reached a point in my life when I was ready to take control of my health and fitness. I lost the weight. I worked out every day. I did feel a little bit better. However, after doing everything I had always been told to do, the loneliness and sadness remained.
It wasn't until my husband walked into my large closet and found me laying on the floor, crying did I realize it wasn't my fault. He assured me this wasn't normal. I returned to my Dr. and finally she referred me to a mental health professional.
I was diagnosed with Dysthymia. Essentially, a low grade but long lasting depression. I never wanted to take my own life, but my life was never happy, full. There was always something pulling my physical wellness and mental wellness down instead of pushing me up.
Medication, exercise, eating well, and taking care of close relationships is all part of my fight against depression. I look back on the old me and wish I had gotten help sooner and not wasted so much of my time feeling alone.
I encourage anyone who reads this and identifies with how I felt to seek help from your Dr., your spouse, or a friend.