I thought I’d share this story. I actually never planned on writing about depression, but for some reason I haven’t been able to “shake” this post from my head. The only way to stop thinking about it was to get it on “paper.” So, here it goes….
My first experience with depression was when I was in the fifth grade. I watched someone I loved a lot suffer through it. It felt like a long time in my little kid brain, but when I was older I asked how long it lasted and it had only been about two months.
In fifth grade each student was assigned to their home room and then they changed classes for two periods: math and religion. Both were taught by the same teacher. This woman was awful. I can’t remember a single time she was ever kind to me. There were kids she loved, there were kids she didn’t like, but she HATED me.
Because our family was going through a hard time, my grades fell that fall semester. There was one day in particular when I was sitting in math class with that evil teacher and she picked me to answer a question from the homework I should have done the night before.
Only, I hadn’t done my homework. And she knew it before she had called my name. She picked me out from everyone on purpose and said, “Kate, can you please tell me why you don’t have your homework done and why your clothes are wrinkled?” And then she went on to tell the whole class WHY she thought my clothes were wrinkled and WHY my homework wasn’t done. I knew at 10 years old that this GROWN woman was deliberately picking on me. I just sat there and cried while she told my classmates what was going on with my family–which was none of their business. (Seriously, why would a 50 year old woman pick on a 10 year old?!)
My second experience with depression was when I was 22 years old. It was Spring Break of my 1st Senior year of college (I went to school on the 5 yr program 🙂 and I was supposed to go to Honduras for a mission trip. The day before I was scheduled to leave I came down with a fever of 102 and was sick.as.a.dog. I didn’t make it to my flight and ended up going home. Miraculously enough, my fever disappeared within a day. To this day, I don’t think I was ever meant to go on that trip.
Once I got home I was told that the same person from before was on the brink of having a second, huge, battle with depression. We were told by a therapist to act like you would if you had a virus, basically don’t push yourself just relax. So we read books, took lots of naps, went to the movies, went for walks in the park, and spent time doing fun, relaxing things. That person told me when I was leaving that I had saved them by coming into town that week. They never sank into the deep hole of depression. I learned that week, that I had done more charity at home than I could have done in Honduras (Charity begins at home right?)
My third experience with depression was my own. I’m pretty sure I had been in a depression for a year before I ever really, fully understood what was happening. It just progressively got worse and then I crashed shortly after I was engaged. I was worried that Todd wouldn’t love me anymore & that he would bail or he would think I was crazy. Instead, he dug his heels in and helped me through it. It was that unconditional love & understanding from him (and other people in my life at the time) who really helped me out. I remember every time I would talk to my dad he would tell me, “Trust me, you will find light at the end of the tunnel. Just plough through it.”
When I was pregnant I was constantly in fear of Postpartum Depression. I was worried that since I had problems in the past, I would definitely get PPD. It never happened though, it was smooth sailing after Lboy was born (depression wise, getting spit up on & pulling all nighters, not so much fun!)
I have a hard time remembering that there are people out there who think that people who suffer from depression are crazy. I wasn’t raised that way, I don’t think that way, and there aren’t many people in my life who haven’t at one time struggled with a chemical or situational depression.
I hope that someday, everyone will have the attitude that “Depression is real. Depression sucks. But it happens. It isn’t forever. People can find the light at the end of the tunnel. It doesn’t have to own you.”