My friends, the time has come for me to write the post that I wish I never had to write. A few weeks ago I promised that I would share with you why I had been away from the blog for so many months. I am making good on that promise right now.
This is probably the hardest thing I have ever written about. It’s my dirty little secret. Only those closest to me know anything about this, and even they don’t all know the extent of it.
I suffer from depression.
Depression, to one degree or another, has been a part of my life since I was a teenager. I had post-natal (post-partum) depression after each of my three daughters, and in recent memory, each winter the darkness has descended upon me. This year has been particularly bad. Usually my winter depressions last from about November to April. However, this year, probably due to the record-breaking poor weather in the UK, the depression has not fully lifted even now.
Usually I have a few days or weeks, here and there, when things get really bad and I feel my lowest. But this season has been much worse. I have found it difficult to concentrate and had no motivation to write or do little else. My day to day struggles have sometimes been as simple as getting dressed and feeding myself. I am utterly grateful to God that I have managed to take care of our children and kept going through the motions of daily life. I am blessed beyond measure to have a husband who is not only sensitive to my feelings and limitations, but a workhorse who picks up the slack in every possible area when I can not function properly. And he does so without complaining or blaming. The fact that I have such a loving family only makes me loathe myself more. I know that this is a part of the illness, but it doesn’t make it any easier to conquer the feelings.
I, who have a professional background in psychology and mental health, should feel no guilt or shame about admitting all of this to you. But I do. The argument has swirled in my head for months. Do I or do I not share this ugly part of my life with you? Will people think less of me? Probably some. Will I shatter the illusion that my life is perfectly together? Most definitely. Will I seem hypocritical trying to help all of you when my own life is in need of help? I hope not. My sincere hope is that through sharing this with you, you will know that I too have real and sometimes extreme struggles. I do my best to find my way through and hope that my experiences can help you find your way through too.
I was hoping that by writing this, I would suddenly feel liberated. (I don’t.) That the weight of the world would be lifted from my shoulders. (It hasn’t.) I still feel afraid and vulnerable. But I am also proud of myself for finally having the courage to say- “this is me”. This is my story and I am living it every day. I know that there are thousands out there living it too. I hope you will stay on this journey with me.
Please leave me a comment below and share your thoughts. I would love to hear from you.