February 2020: Living with Depression
Since I could remember, when the world around me was falling apart, I was on top of my game mentally. Then once things became stable or actually going great, I would find myself falling into one of my depression episodes. In one way I love that when times get tough, I am able to do what I have to in order to get through. On the other hand, it really really sucks that I honestly feel like I can never enjoy the good times.
This past year has been a whirlwind for me emotionally, mentally and physically. As I was battling cancer, going through a divorce and raising my four boys, what kept me going was my determination to make 2020 “MY YEAR”. I planned on reaching all my goals and start creating the life I’ve always wanted. If you read my previous blog, you could see I have some pretty high aspirations I wanted to accomplish in 2020. I believed I was going to do it no matter what. Now, as I sit here writing this and what my mental state has been the last few weeks, it feels like those goals are impossible.
Depression affects each individual differently. Thankfully, I have not had suicidal thoughts and have not been that deep in depression for about 17 years now (basically since I’ve had my oldest). Though I have not gotten that dark in awhile, that doesn’t mean depression hasn’t dramatically effected my life, sometimes majorly. From not having the energy or desire to not even get out of bed to joint pain to intense migraines to inability to focus on anything, when I experience a depression episode, it’s hard to even take care of myself never mind accomplishing big goals.
Check out previous blog where I talk about my depression by clicking here.
The last few years I have been able to manage my depression symptoms and be able to “fight back” or what some may call “snap out of it” when I would feel one come along. But when I look at what my life was like the last few years, I can see why I was able to “snap out of it” compared to why I am struggling to do so now. The last few years of my life I have been basically in survival mode. I had a lot going on and right now is the first time in years that my life is actually stable. The first time in a very long time I am actually able to relax and enjoy my life. On top of that, this past week a year ago I probably had the scariest week of my life as I started my treatment plan for Stage III Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Cancer. With that triggering me unexpectedly, I have been sitting here and analyzing everything I’ve gone through, feeling all the emotions that I probably should have been feeling along the way including self pity and mourning the life I thought I was going to have when I got married. With all of this hitting me at once, it has been a lot to process and deal with. I’m sure this would be a lot for anyone to take, never mind someone who has depression.
One of my goals for 2020 was to “choose to be grateful for the positive in my life & focus on where I want to take my life rather than focus on the negative & give in to the obstacles that may come my way.” This apparently is my first obstacle of 2020… my first test. The last few weeks have been rough internally but as I’m writing this update, I have to say I am feeling better. Last night I had decided I was done trying to “fight through it” everyday. So I took the night off literally! I grabbed a cup of green tea, made myself a little fruit bowl and shut my brain off by watching a nature documentary with my boys. Then what I haven’t been able to do in over a year, I actually went to bed at a reasonable time and got my 6 hours of sleep my body has been craving for for months.
What many people who do not have depression may not understand is that, yes, we may have a smile on our face & act like we are on top of the world but inside… we are dying! Depression is more then just a person’s thought process. It effects us physically. It takes over our lives like we are stuck in quick sand. The more we fight it, the quicker we go down. And worst part of it, is a person can’t tell how long or how severe each episode will be. Some can be a couple days while others can be a couple of years. Some can be manageable by making a lifestyle change like getting enough sleep or exercising while others may require professional help. Whatever it may be, those who have a loved one, friend, co-worker or whom ever in your life that has depression, a bit of compassion and a whole lot of support can go a long way.
To learn more about depression & how to get help, go to Anxiety & Depression Association of America at www.adaa.org.
If you are someone you love is in a suicidal crisis or emotional distress, call the confidential National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
What tips do you have that help your mental health?
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[…] to anything I am currently going through. I know I’ve talked about my cancer journey and dealing with depression, but those were written when I had overcome them. When I was in a good place. Today, I am going to […]