Depression…You’re Not Alone

Depressed

Note: This post contains thoughts involving suicide and suicidal ideation. If you or someone you know are considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK (8255). Additional resources are listed below.

In my last post, I talked about how in just seven years of time I went through my first divorce, went to school to earn my nursing degree then remarried and found myself in a marriage with an emotionally abusive alcoholic.

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Within the first year of that second marriage, I lost my mom to colon cancer was wrecked with grief all while dealing with the mental abuse of my current husband and trying to help my 3 children deal with losing their grandmother.

The first year after losing my mom, I was having some medical problems and through an ultrasound, another tumor was found on my remaining ovary.  I had to have a complete hysterectomy at this point and it was the first time in my life that I was in the hospital without my mom to be with me or to take care of my kids for me.  The stress was unbelievable, while to most people that may make me sound like an overgrown baby, but try to imagine the mental abuse I had been going through at home.  They found no signs of cancer this time and I recovered quickly from the surgery, but I was not improving mentally.   My grief was turning into depression and I eventually was able to get out of the abusive marriage, but not without emotional damage to myself and my children.

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At the time of my second divorce, my oldest daughter was now 18 and my twins were 13 and we had lived with my second husband for 5 years.  During that time my first ex-husband had not kept in touch with the kids or visited them on a regular basis.  I had kept in continuous contact with his mom and taken the kids to visit their nanny as often as I possibly could, but they missed their daddy and needed him in their lives.   We visited with my daddy every weekend after losing my mom, he was so lonely without her and I went to do his laundry, grocery shopping, and housework while letting the children visit with him.  While married to my second husband I kept my distance from my brother and his family.  I had always been very close with my brother and his wife, but I did not want my brother to notice the emotional abuse that was going on, and I felt sure he would pick up on it if I spent too much time around him.

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I also did not want my niece around that type of person I was then married to, it was bad enough I had gotten my kids involved in that mess, I didn’t want my niece subjected to it also.   My children and I were becoming more and more isolated from friends and family that we had once loved spending time with, it now seemed limited to just my daddy and my ex-in-laws.   My depression was taking over more all the time and I felt so alone, even after divorcing the abuser, I wasn’t sure how to start taking my once vibrant life back.

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I was always exhausted and had debilitating migraines so that I was not able to hold down a steady job.  I also suffered from chronic pain of osteoarthritis and fibromyalgia and was approved for disability for all these things plus my complicated clinical depression.   I would get up in the mornings long enough to get the kids up and take them to school, I would return home, set me alarm to pick them up from school and I would then go back to bed until the alarm went off in the afternoon.  That is how I spent my days, every day.  Not only did I feel worthless, but I felt like a horrible mother for having married the alcoholic that had caused so much emotional damage to my kids and that put me in the emotional shape I then found myself in.  I found myself feeling like I did not want to be alive anymore, I’d almost convince myself that my kids would even be better off without me.  The only thing that would stop me from actually going through with suicide was the fact that my mom was no longer here to take care of my kids for me.  So I knew that no matter how bad I had messed things up, I was the only one that my kids had to depend on, so I had to keep pulling myself up and trying one day after another.   Yes, they had my daddy, but he had heart trouble and was not in good health, so I couldn’t put him through that kind of trauma either.  So I couldn’t quit, I couldn’t give up, no matter how bad I wanted to.

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I had always been the care-free, fun-loving happy girl that was making other people laugh.  I was the one always cheering people up when they were having bad days.  I was the optimist, the one whose glass was always half full.  I was always laughing, singing or whistling, people at my first job had nick-named me “Little Merry Sunshine” because I was never unhappy.  But now I could barely find a smile even for my kids.  I missed ME, the old me, the me prior to my second marriage.  It felt as if I had allowed him to rob me of my entire personality and completely changed who I was.  I had to find myself, I knew that I was still inside there somewhere and I just had to let me come back to the surface and not just for me, but for my kids too.

During all the depression I had gained a lot of weight, I was over 200 pounds and my blood pressure was really high and uncontrolled.  That affected my kidneys and then my eyesight.  As my kidneys started to fail, the weight started coming off luckily, and I was able to get things under control physically.  My kidneys and eyesight slowly improved and that’s when I decided I had to do better, I had to live for my kids.  A lot of weight had come off and I had received a letter from my alma matta that a class reunion was coming up.  It took a lot of courage on my part that year, but I decided to go, and it was the best decision I had made in a very long time.   Returning to that small country town where I grew up, reuniting with those life-long friends and them accepting me like I’d never been away was just what I needed.   All three of my kids and I had a wonderful time that night, and I continued seeing my friends more and more.  I got my happy back.  Not in one night, not even in one year, but eventually I found myself again.  It was a long journey back, and I still carry some battle scars.  Sadly my kids still carry some emotional wounds and damage from those 5 tortuous years with my second husband, but I can honestly say despite all my bad decisions I have three wonderful, successful grown children, I can even say they are happy.  I am very proud of who each one of them are today.

I wish that no one ever had to feel as alone or worthless as I did when I hit rock bottom, but I know people do every day.  I had family and many friends, yet I felt totally alone, all I had to do was reach out to anyone of them.  I know there are people in this world who really don’t have family and friends as I do, and when they say that they are alone, they really are alone.  But I hope and pray that those people without family and friends could know that there are places to get help, you don’t have to face depression by yourself.

According to the CDC, depression affects 20-25% of Americans ages 18+ in a given year.  In the United States alone, nearly 45,000 people die by suicide every year. That makes it the 10th leading cause of death in the country, behind diabetes, influenza, pneumonia, and nephritis. On average, there are 123 suicides per day in the U.S.—one every 12 minutes. The number of attempted suicides is many times that; in 2017, there were an estimated 1.4 million attempts to die by suicide.

Although I have many very close friends and family, there are only a few, as in less than what you can count on one hand that knew how deep in depression I was or that I even had suicidal thoughts during that time.  So if you are reading this, if you are depressed or having suicidal thoughts, please reach out to someone, find someone to talk to.  I promise you, there are people that love you, care about you and want you to stick around.  If you need it, I’ve listed resources and numbers you can call below.

until next time,

Sharon

Resources:

If you are considering suicide, please reach out to one of the resources listed below.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1.800.273.TALK (8255)

Crisis Text Line
Text HOME to 741741 to text with a trained crisis counselor (free, 24/7)

SAMHSA Treatment Referral Hotline (substance abuse support)
1.800.622.HELP (4357)

RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline
1.800.656.HOPE (4673)

National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline
1.866.331.9474

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