Some of my hardest times with depression were when my life was going great. I experienced postpartum depression after the birth of my child and, 15 years ago, I experienced situational depression because of my breast cancer.
But major depression was different. It arrives when I have no reason to be upset. I have a blessed life. But still I have times when things are going well and I’m depressed. I have dealt with major depression my entire adult life.
Four years ago I checked myself into a hospital because I could feel an episode coming on. I felt a continuous sense of foreboding that wouldn’t go away. The feeling was dark. I was tearful,irritable, and withdrawn. Each day was worse than the day before and I knew I had to check myself into the hospital. As soon as I did, I wanted to leave, but I knew I had to stay. I was in the hospital for two days—the longest two days of my life. When I left, I was not “cured” but I was in a better place.
One of the things that helped me deal with my situation was the Mental Health First Aid training I received. Mental Health First Aid has helped me start by asking the question, “Are you suicidal?” I feel better about asking this question, not only of other people, but of myself.
Another helpful resource has been peer support. Peer support is different than family support. While my husband is my rock, he couldn’t directly identify with the feelings I was experiencing or relate to situation I was experiencing. All he could do was be there.
Peer support helped me realize I am not alone. Prior to that I would see people and think, “Why can’t I be happy like them?;” or “Why do I feel different?” but then I went to peer support and realized I’m not alone.” – Patty Morrow
While the focus of Pat’s story is in regards to major depression she has also dealt with postpartum depression. She wants women reading this to know that if you are suffering from postpartum depression then you should tell someone. If the person you tell doesn’t listen or react in a way that you believe supports your needs, then keep telling people. You should keep telling people until someone truly listens and helps get you the guidance you need and deserve.