THIS IS HOW TO HOLD THE BURDEN OF DEPRESSION
Published by Elephant Journal ~ December 6, 2016
I come from a family of extremely positive people.
The glass is half full. Somebody else always has it much harder than you, so don’t complain. It could be much worse, so be grateful. Pick yourself up—it’s not the end of the world.
I agree with all of these things of course. So allowing myself to feel anything but gratitude and happiness on a daily basis was incredibly uncomfortable for me.
The first time I experienced depression was after the birth of my first child. He was colicky and screamed almost every moment he was awake. It wasn’t the normal crying of a newborn infant, it was the full-pitched screeching until he was blue in the face wailing that left him choking for air and left me and his dad feeling hopeless, exasperated and exhausted.
By week six, I was in a full-blown depression. Exhausted, sleep deprived, hormonal, aching breasts, unable to bond with him or feel an ounce of real love in my heart for the child I had longed for my entire life—it all left me in shattered pieces.
IT’S OK TO NOT BE OK: SHOWING OURSELVES COMPASSION WHEN THINGS SUCK
Published by Elephant Journal ~ July 6, 2016
I was walking through the airport the other day and saw a woman standing in line at Starbucks who clearly wasn’t feeling her best.
She had such a look of forlorn sadness in her eyes, it broke my heart.
I offered to buy her a coffee and she seemed taken aback. “No, no no… that’s so nice. But you don’t have to do that.”
“I want to,” I said. “You look like you need it.”
She smiled shyly, grabbed my hand and said, “Thank you so much. I needed that.”
As we stood next to each other at the cream and sugar station I could feel her sadness. One of the hardest things about being empathic is feeling other people’s emotions—but in this case, it was a gift. I asked her what gate she was going to and if she wanted to walk with me.
“I’d love that,” she replied and in the 10 minutes we had together, I learned a little bit of her story. She admitted she had a tough holiday. It was the anniversary of the death of her father. She had been feeling depressed leading up to it and had a big breakdown on July 4th.
I shared that it would have been my seventh wedding anniversary that weekend so the holiday is also hard for me every year. She shared how after five years of her father being gone, she thought it “should be getting easier” but it wasn’t. I shared the same expectation I had of myself.
We were two strangers who just got each other.
FOR THE SAD & LONELY THIS HOLIDAY SEASON… YOU ARE NOT ALONE
Published by Elephant Journal ~ December 13, 2015
At a time when we are surrounded by holiday cheer, gift-giving, parties and end-of-the-year festivities, you’d think that everyone would be in the holiday spirit, filled with joy, happiness and warm fuzzy feelings.
It’s what we should be feeling.
It’s not what many of us are feeling.
In fact, the more I talk to people, the more I’m hearing what a difficult time of year this is for them. Many of them are sad. Depressed. Filled with regrets. Trying to muster through the rest of the year, because this year has brought so many challenges and heartache, they just want it to be over.
A colleague just shared with me she took her father off life support at this time last year. My friend lost his father and this is their first Christmas without him. Another friend lost her husband unexpectedly and is trying to get through another holiday putting on a false sense of cheer for her two young kids as her heart aches with sadness and grief.
They all talked to me this week about how difficult the holidays are for them. How they feel sad, depressed and empty.
And nobody is talking about it.
I’m going to talk about it.