Today is Bell Let’s Talk day – a day dedicated to bringing awareness to Mental Illness.
I suffer from a mental illness – depression. I’ve talked about this before in a previous post, but I really wanted to share more about it in honour of today’s event.
I can’t pinpoint exactly when I started falling into depression, but I know it started shortly after having my second child. We were moving cities, leaving behind our first home as a family. Leaving behind our family and friends, my job. Moving to a new city, new beginnings. I was excited, but scared as hell. After the move and being home with a new born, I became restless, bored, anxious. I searched for employment immediately thinking this is what I needed. Though, I think it only made it worse.
Going back to work full time meant we needed full time child care for our youngest child (as our oldest was in daycare) My Crohn’s Disease got worse once I started working again – the stress doesn’t help the illness! And as I was busy working full time, I was witnessing the relationship my baby was developing with our caregiver. I became jealous and sad. I LOVE our caregiver – she is unlike any woman I have ever met. My children love her and she took such good care of them… of us. But I was jealous of the time she was spending with our youngest.
Since my illness was getting worse, my Crohn’s and my mental state, I decided working part time might be a better fit – and yes it was! I was able to balance work, with my health, with my family, with my new friendships. I began working out and getting healthier, physically. I had good days and bad days, but it wasn’t enough. Something was still off. I talked to my doctor about how I was feeling anxious, sad, missing my old home, my family. How I felt like a failure of a mother for not wanting to spend so much time with my kids. How I felt guilty for going back to work so early. How I lost my sexual appetite and felt like a failure of a wife… of a woman. I was then put on antidepressants and started seeing a psychiatrist.
Recently, someone asked me, if I didn’t have kids, would I have pulled through on the darkest of times. My answer was no. My mind has gone into some really scary dark places over the past two years. At no one’s fault. I pulled through because I didn’t want my children growing up without a mother. I don’t believe it was one single event that brought me to those places. Rather, several at once. Life was happening and I wasn’t ready to handle it all. Children, moving, weddings, new jobs, new friends. The truth was, I wasn’t ready for any of it.
As I write this, it’s very healing to be honest about it for once. The fact is, I was scared. I wasn’t ready. And that is okay. It is okay to be scared. It is okay to ask for help. It is okay to be vulnerable.
I am not ashamed to say I suffer from depression. I don’t know if I’ll ever get through it or beyond it. I can though say I am happier today then I was a year ago, and even six months ago. The more I write and the more open I am with others, the more honest I become with myself.
I’ve been lucky to have a few great people I can turn to on these darkest days. Who sat and listened to me cry. Who listened to the dark thoughts I had and who pulled me back from those corners. For those people, I am forever grateful. I couldn’t do alone. No one should have to do it alone.
I know I will be okay. I know the darkest days are behind me.
I hope you find hope in this article and you too can become honest with yourself.
Thank you for reading.