Awe yes the D-Word. Depression is definitely real. And it's more than just having the blues or sporadic sad thoughts. Depression can be a serious illness that we as women are very susceptible to facing within our everyday lives.
So I already know what you're thinking. Lauren are you trying to tell me you were depressed? And to answer your question, I will definitely say I came mighty close. There was definitely bouts of it lurking within this year, but for the most part I was able to get a grip of it.
When I was good, I was good. But when I was down, I can admit it shook me up just a little bit. Although my case was mild, there were definitely some symptoms that stood out for me during this journey of 2016.
As surprising as it maybe, depression is a very common sickness that many will experience. Ages that seem to experience high volumes of this illness are between 19-40 years old. Some of the general signs to look out for with Clinical Depression described by the Mayo Clinic consists of:
Mood - anxiety, apathy, general discontent, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, mood swings, or sadness
Sleep - early awakening, excess sleepiness, insomnia, or restless sleep
Whole body - excessive hunger, fatigue, loss of appetite, or restlessness
Behavioral - agitation, excessive crying, irritability, or social isolation
Cognitive - lack of concentration, slowness in activity, or thoughts of suicide
Weight - weight gain or weight loss
Also common - poor appetite or repeatedly going over thoughts
Now for me, my symptoms consisted of weight gain (struggled with emotional eating since I was a child), anxiety of course, sadness, feelings of being a failure, having lack of energy, restless sleep and lastly the repetition of thoughts of what I could've have done differently within my life to not find myself in these various predicaments.
Did this cause for medical attention, thankfully for no. But I will say, taking that week off from work and Hey Mz. Lady back in May, did play a crucial role in turning things around for me emotionally. Sometimes you truly have to disconnect from everything in general in order to get a good grips over your life. That time for me was critical in assessing where my life was and in what ways could I change it for the better.
And yes, I'm one of those therapist that truly believes and advocates for we as professionals to get the help we need just as we would help our clients as well. I definitely took advantage of my time with my awesome therapist, along with prayer and most importantly made active changes cognitively to see to it that I overcame this illness so that it would not overtake me.
Since I've decided to share my 31 days of reflection, I can't help but to think that there are people wondering why am I being so open about my life in this way. Well for starters, I promised God that if He would get me through this year with a victory on my side that I would share my testimony on just how awesome He is and how He brought me through this year. But in addition to that, I truly feel that we as a society and community have a very bad tendency of hiding away from discussions that can ultimately help one another through our life's journeys as a whole.
Trust, I realize my platform is bigger than just me. As a matter of fact, it's not for me at all. It was always designed to help women live their absolute best life through valued discussion, active intentional change within ourselves and then to have the global support of women just trying to get it right like everyone else. The more we talk about matters of mental health, personal development, empowerment, authentic relationships and spiritual growth the better we as a society can become.
So if sharing my story with someone on a grand scale like social media or a more intimate setting with groups of people that I speak with helps to change their lives in one way or another, then I will remain an open book of transparency for all to read.
3 John 1:2-8 said it best,
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God. It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.