I am a very open book. Even in my real life, I have never shied away from being honest and open about my struggles with everything from infertility, depression, and being a parent. I have often posted long Facebook posts about these struggles, detailing how I feel, what I do to maintain my life, and helpful words for those going through the same things. I’ve had a lot of people thank me for being open, and that’s why I do it. You are certainly not alone, and I want you to always know that.
….but my family thinks my depression is not real. They think it’s impossible for me to suffer from something when I have no reason to be sad.
“How could you possibly be sad? You have a great husband, great kids, a great house!” – Mom
“You need to just quit thinking about other people so much. You can’t fix the world. That’s what’s making you sad.” – Dad
“Just don’t be sad anymore, okay?” – Grandma
I’ve tried explaining that depression isn’t just being sad about things happening around you. Yes, it can be a contributing factor, certainly. It can even be the main reason you’re depressed, like if you are dealing with a loss of a loved one, or a job loss. Depression can also be hormonal and chemical in nature.
My depression is hormonal. The hormones from my autoimmune thyroid condition, and the hormones from my PCOS, and the hormones from my PMDD and join together and crush my soul with their spikes and dips. There is rarely anything I can do to control it. I take medication and supplements. I eat right (I do not drink alcohol, I do not eat gluten, dairy, or sugar), I try to do yoga stretches (exercise is hard when your body is constantly aching from autoimmune issues), and I try to meditate. I spend 98% of my life focusing on trying to feel better, and doing everything in my power to try to avoid another depressive episode.
My family knows this, yet they still constantly tell me that I can’t be depressed. Sometimes they blame it on my caring about things, sometimes they blame it on me being sensitive, sometimes they blame it on me being a millennial. I mean, I suppose being a sensitive, caring, 36 year old might be the cause of my hormonal imbalances…. wait, no, that’s stupid.
If your parents are unable to understand you or help you, help yourself. Research, talk to people who understand, talk to a therapist. Do whatever you can to try and improve your health. I’m going on years of trial and error, working out exactly what helps and what doesn’t. It’s a constant battle and a constant struggle to feel good, or to even feel “normal”, but I am constantly trying. Constantly working. Constantly pushing through…. because what happens if I give up? What happens if I give in to the depression and let these emotional neglectful family members get in my head and echo around in there with the already dreadful voice of depression? How can I ever heal? How can I ever be a good mom, a good wife, a good person if I let them tell me that I can’t feel better while being who I am?
I can feel better, and I will feel better, and since they cannot be part of my healing, their words will be one more thing I no longer ingest.