It started with a whisper. {Jill Anderson}

This post is 6th in a series on depression.

Jill has been blogging since 2007 and can currently be found oversharing at Just Jilly.   She resides in Grand Rapids, MI with her handsome hubby and three adorable kids.  Jill is a lover of chocolate, cheap wine, fashion and is fluent in sarcasm. 

depression blogger series

I have been a pretty glass half-full person most of my adult life. Actually most of my life in general, if you ignore a prolonged period of moodiness and drama during the teenage years. In all honesty, life has given me very little to complain about. I had a happy, stable childhood, had a lot of fun in college, met a great guy who makes a great husband and have three amazing children.
A few summers back though, I felt like the rug got pulled out from under me when out of nowhere I spiraled into a place where I couldn’t stop crying for days on end and I could barely muster the will to get out of bed.
It started with a whisper. I began noticing in the morning when I woke up that I felt a tightness in my chest and like something very bad was about to happen. It wasn’t like I had nightmares, but the way I woke up you would think that I had.  Suddenly I felt my heart racing at the weirdest times and I just couldn’t shake the “fight or flight” feeling. I told my husband it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. I just felt the weight of the world bearing down on me. And I couldn’t seem to catch my breath.
I didn’t have words for what I was feeling. I wouldn’t have known to call it anxiety because in general I am not a worrier. I am married to someone who admittedly worries too much and is quite open about it. I trend towards the laid-back and subscribe to the “why worry?” philosophy in life. But it was beginning to become crippling and making it difficult for me to be around people.
Then the anxiety began to spiral into depression. Again, I didn’t have a word for it. I guess I just thought it was a bad case of PMS. I would find myself unable to stop crying for no reason at all. The littlest things would irritate me to the point of me snapping and yelling at my husband and kids and then feeling so awful I would hide in the bathroom and sob uncontrollably. I felt incapable of parenting and participating in life. And on the weekends and evenings when my husband was around to take care of the kids I would crawl in bed and not come out.
The thing that is so awful about depression is how isolating it is. At a time where you probably need people the most, there is so much shame about how you are feeling and coping, I didn’t want anyone to be around me – partly because I was so ashamed. What kind of person who has a great life by every measurable standard cries in her room all day? What kind of person sticks her kids in front of the TV for hours at a time because the thought of caring for them is too overwhelming to process? What kind of Christian can’t see the blessings she has all around her and just snap out of it already?
But I couldn’t snap out of it. My husband couldn’t love me out of it. I couldn’t even pray my way out of it. I was just sinking into it and thinking my family was better off if I just stayed in my room and they went about life without me.
The voices in my head lied to me whispering:
  • What do you have to be down about? There are people going through horrible things right now who are maintaining a positive outlook.
  • As a Christian you should be able to pray/ read scripture/”insert other holy activity here” your way out of this.
  • What kind of mother lets her children watch hours of TV while she cries in her bed?
  • Your husband deserves someone who isn’t moping around all the time.
  • I thought you were a strong woman. What is wrong with you that you still feel this way?
It was a dark several months.
Somehow the fog lifted with a lot of patience and love and support from those around me. I talked a few times to a counselor. We discussed medication but I never pulled the trigger. I truly can’t say that I know what happened and I fully expect that it might come back some day.  I am smart enough to know that the fog doesn’t always lift and the next time it might require a more serious intervention. And while I don’t find myself in the pits of depression anymore, the anxiety stills shows itself from time to time. I have to fight my natural urge to retreat and hide away and force myself to join the land of the living.
I am so grateful that people went before me down this road and shared their journey. Giving voice to depression and anxiety takes a little bit of its power away. It becomes less shameful. I don’t know why there is so much shame surrounding depression. So many of us suffer in silence and I am so very grateful for those who share openly about it. What a gift to hear someone say, “I struggle with that too.” This gift was given to me and I hope by putting words to my struggle I can pass that gift on to someone else.
* * *
Feeling shame is a common theme for those struggling with depression.
My hope is that this series can give someone the courage to say something.  Speak up.  Maybe it starts by just doing some research.
Postpartum Progress is a great place to start.
A community of other women to find encouragement.  A wealth of information.
Please ask the questions.  Click the links.  And say the words aloud that will get you help.
And if you’re so inclined, please donate to the phenomenal work being done there.
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jeannett
I'm a mom to four. A wife to one. I believe in story. I love telling you about mine and would love to hear yours. There's really no sense in wasting our suffering and not sharing in each other's joy. We're all in this together...even if it doesn't always feel like it.
jeannett

Comments

  1. 1

    Oh Jill, I had no idea. I’ve struggled as well and it is weird how it comes into my life and then leaves. How sometimes I can pull myself together and other times I can’t. Sharing your story is helpful to so many so they know they are not alone.
    sommer @greenmom´s last blog post ..Finding Healthier Lunch Options

  2. 2

    Thank you for being open and sharing! So many people are dealing with this and feel so alone! People like you are what helped me get through hard times!

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  1. […] I just felt the weight of the world bearing down on me. And I couldn’t seem to catch my breath. Read the rest of my story of depression over at Life Rearranged…. Filed Under: […]