The Sun🌞continues to Shine😁

Standard

It was 1 year ago today, (with the thanks of the Bell Let’s Talk” initiative) that I openly talked about my struggles with depression. I have to say, I am SO happy I did! The people who reached out to me about their struggles and the compassion toward my struggles have indeed been incredible. I am touched that there are so many kind people in my world that have opened up and confided to me, and offered their shoulder and listening ear if I need it.

What have I learned in the past year?
If you talk about it you can get the help you need. By letting people know the signs to look out for when I am starting to “spiral downward” I get the support and help I need. It doesn’t have to be talking to another person in person though. Just getting your emotions out in any way that works for you is the goal; I often find that I on bad days I am on the verge of tears and absolutely do not want to talk to anyone. But, I will text. Texting with certain people in my life has worked wonders for me in working through my emotions and trying to keep my head above water. Thank you to those people for being there for you, you know who you are!


I have learned that I am not alone, actually FAR from it. It is a way more common health issue than, I am sure, most of you realize. So many people struggle with depression and don’t even know they have it. I know people that I wish would open up to me because I can see they are struggling but they just keep carrying on struggling every step of the way. This makes me so sad as I know that if they at least talked in confidence to their doctor or other confidant about it this would make a difference and get them moving in the right direction.
I have learned that for me medication DOES work, and I NEED it. I tried reducing my dosage when I felt I was in a really good place. I felt good for a couple of weeks, then after about 3 or 4 weeks noticed some things that I chose to ignore. I, once again as I did in the beginning, found excuses for feeling down; PMS, not enough sleep, stress. Well, after about 5 weeks I had gone into a deep, dark spiral and realized I needed to go back to where I was. What I realized was that the medication takes a while to get out of your system, and then to get back in it as well. Sure enough at week 3 my body was reacting to being on less of the serotonin it needs that my body doesn’t produce enough of. Then I just got worse and worse. When I finally accepted that I do need my original dosage and went back up, again it took my body time to adapt and get back on track. Lesson learned. Would I try this again? Maybe yes! I had let those who are close to me know what was going on, and they were helping me and keeping an eye on me, so it was tough, yet my support network was there. Too many people dismiss meds and insist on dealing with depression their own way, but I encourage people to at least try some to see if there is a change. There are so many different ones out there and if one doesn’t work, don’t assume all don’t; there are tons.


One other thing I learned is that I need to be around things and people that make me happy and

avoid those that don’t. I no longer waste my time being with those who bring me down, and am spending more and more time with the people that care about me and that I love to be around. I used to worry about pleasing everyone, but now I know my happiness is in my hands and I surround myself only with those who can provide this! I find, for the first time in my life, that I am putting myself and my well-being first. I have also realized that Finley, our dog, is an absolutely incredible therapy tool and I encourage anyone out there who doesn’t own a dog to consider it! He helps me in ways I can’t even describe! He is a constant, complete joy in my life and I love him as unconditionally as he loves me!

If you d
I am ecstatic that many people have come forward and been able to open up to me, and said it was because of my blog. That truly touched me. My purpose of writing about my troubles with depression was to help people understand what it looks, sounds, and feels like. Many people weren’t able to put a label on theirs until I put it all out there in words and they realized that “Yes! That is exactly what I feel!” If I just affected one person it would have been worth it, but thankfully, I had a ton of responses and people coming to thank me for opening up.


All in all it was totally, completely worth it and I would continue to encourage others to seek the help or the listening ear they need to get through it.

Remember………Suzy Sunshine is ALWAYS here to listen and talk.

Your Suzy Sunshine “ray” of the day!🤣

Advertisements

Suzy Sunshine 🌞

Standard

For those of you who know me personally, would you believe me if I told you that I struggle with depression? Even to my faithful blog readers it’s likely not something you would have figured out, since I like to keep my blogs positive and happy.

With Bell’s Let’s Talk Campaign approaching us, I want to bring awareness to Depression and Mental Illness and encourage people to recognize the signs and symptoms and I thought I would start by telling you about myself.

20171117_110559_Film1.jpg

That’s right, I am one of the many people who deal with this on a daily basis and have learned to hide it very, very well. Not only that, but I have also learned to cope with it and also learned who truly loves me and accepts me for who I am.

I know this likely comes as quite a shock to many of you who think that I seem like the opposite of someone who suffers from depression; I mostly always have a huge smile on my face, I laugh A LOT, and I always have something positive to say to people! I am often referred to as “Suzy Sunshine”! The thing is, I treat others the way I want, and hope, people will treat me and others. It’s as simple as that. I want to feel good, and I know that when people greet me with a smile and a friendly hello, it can instantly make me feel good. I like to spread the joy and it truly makes me a happier, better person.

I feel the need to bring this out there and deal with it head on as I feel like there needs to be so much more awareness and acceptance out there about mental illness.

I came to terms with it only about 5 years ago now, but know definitely that it is something that I have hidden, struggled with, denied, and coped with since my teen years at least. Depression can be brought on by traumatic life events such as sickness or death of loved ones, or, as in my case, genetics. Because depression is a mental illness, people in older generations have difficulty accepting and admitting to having it as they see it as “psychotic” or “mentally disturbed” among other things. It is not accepted by them as easily. I have tried to educate and show my family member that they also suffer from it and could benefit from treatment, but this was not well received, and in fact it was adamantly denied. I can easily trace it back 2 generations and in my case, it is genetic. Thankfully, my children are now fully aware of it and we have many open discussions with each other and our doctor.

20170416_092332_Film2.jpg

It is such a very hard thing to come to grips with and accept. For me, I totally recognize that I have a great life; an amazing, loving, supportive husband, 2 incredible, supportive children, a wonderful home, a job I love…..so when I was suffering daily, crying, feeling hopeless, feeling so sad that I thought life would be better for everyone without me, I knew that this was not right. For too long I suffered in silence thinking I just couldn’t handle the stresses of daily life because I was weak. I put myself down, had daily battles with myself, and faked it, faked it, faked it to those who knew me quite well. I truly thought that if I told people, that they would judge me, think I was making excuses and think I was weak. So, I hid it and suffered in silence as so many do.

Once I hit rock bottom…..everything in my life was going very well, yet when I was using one of my best coping strategies (running it out) I was crying uncontrollably and decided that enough was enough, I got home and immediately made an appointment to see my family doctor. She knows me very well, and has helped me very much over the years.

Now I know many people are against taking medication to help them deal with depression. They worry that it will change them or that they will be on it for life and be dependent on it. If you had diabetes and required medication to stabilize your blood sugar would you take it? Of course you would. So why, when you have a chemical imbalance in your brain that can be regulated with medication would you not take it? Medication can definitely help, but is not for everyone. There are so many treatments available to you, you just have to first accept that you need help then speak with someone you trust to see what is out there.

One thing people don’t understand about depression is that just “thinking about happy times” “thinking about all I have, the great life I lead and all I have going for me” or ” watching comedies” doesn’t get me out of my downward spirals. Boy do I wish it were as easy as that! That would be the life! Thinking of those things actually makes me worse because I realize that I have no tangible reason to be feeling as bad as I am feeling and I feel I must have everything wrong with my brain if I feel uncontrollably sad when I have no real reasons to be. I hated myself for feeling the way I would feel and felt so weak and like such a loser.

Negative thoughts are like magnets that attract each other and get heavier and heavier eventually weighing you down so far you feel as though you are in a deep hole that you’ll never get out of. You get a sort of tunnel vision and you just want to bury yourself in a hole and never emerge. Thankfully I am starting to recognize when I am spiraling down and reach out to close friends and my family for help. Now that I have opened up to some people that I knew would not judge me, I am able to get out of my spirals sooner and feel better more quickly than in the past.

I don’t have a tried and tested way for getting myself up and out of these downward spirals, but I THANKFULLY have some very special people in my life who really help me and love me no matter what. It is these people (and my dog Finely of course!!) as well as other factors that get me up and out of the hole I am. Sometimes though I still feel like such a burden that I try to hide it so as not to bring others down with me. I still feel weak a lot of the time for letting things get to me and not being able to cope but am learning to accept it for what it is an not over analyze it as much.

I accept that this is a lifelong struggle I will have, but with acceptance comes happiness…eventually!

WHOA! That was a lot to unload.

I do not want you to think that I, or anyone struggling with depression, uses this as an excuse for being grumpy, cold, moody, or short-tempered, I just want everyone to be aware that things and people aren’t always as they seem. I have become a “master of disguise” and it certainly has fooled others because those who I have shared my suffering with truly had no idea. One of my favourite comedians always comes to mind when I think of people having depression and hiding it well, r.i.p. Robin Williams.

My advice to anyone else out there who thinks they may also suffer with depression? Be honest with yourself and talk! That’s the best advice, talk, be open, accept yourself for who you are, and get some help.

Feel free to comment or send me a personal message. This was a big step for me to admit this in such a big way, but hopefully by reading this I will help at least one person and hopefully many more.

Your Simply Susan truth of the day!

Keep positive and smile on! You know I will.