Wednesday, October 28, 2015

My Story, My Fight Song with Depression

I'm back or really trying to be. 2014 was a very hard year for me. I had to take a step back from a lot of things so I could focus on self-care and get "my act together" again as I fought with depression really hard in 2014. I've had the opportunity to share many parts of my story in different ways. I want to continue to be brave and so I've put the full story as much as I could get into words in one place.

What a great end to an amazing week this past Saturday! I had the privilege to meet and work with a powerful woman Ashley Sargeant who is helping to change the world by spreading the word on mental illness through social media, Don't Stop Sargeant! It was amazing to work with other amazing women wanting to be brave and share their stories to empower others. It was honor to be a part of this Stay tuned on Saturday, Halloween, for the music video to Rachel Platten's Fight Song which has also been my theme song this year. =)
Great read:

Here's my interview from Saturday, October 24th. I can't believe I did this! I've been anxious the last couple days waiting for this to be posted.

“I just want others to be brave and share their story because it will help spread awareness so that you don’t ever have to feel like no one else understands you. I’m so glad to continue to share my story because I kept feeling this ball of tangled fishing line in my chest every time I tried to share my story and it has become easier and easier to do so.” 

I didn't know I had depression in high school. I know I had suicidal thoughts sometimes in my high school years. Without the help of friends then, I don't know how badly I could have became. I'm grateful to my best friend who made VIP to help me to work on self-care, little did he or I know that's basically what it was. I'm grateful to my boyfriend, who is now my husband, for never judging me and my life. I tried so hard to be perfect. In college, about 8-10 years ago, heard depression explained from a classmate and started to think that was what I had in high school.
I'm the oldest of 3. I took care of my brothers many times as my parents had to work night shifts for a time. I was taking accelerated classes and AP classes.
My biological father left shortly after I was born.

My daughter, my 2nd child, was born in April 2011. I didn't have family around to help and all my other friends were having their babies too so I didn't feel like I could ask them. She got RSV at 3 weeks old. My son at the same time got Croup. I tried so hard to be strong during these times, but I was terrified. Later I really struggled to wean my daughter from breastfeeding. I wanted to wean her because neither of us were sleeping well....I was getting probably 2-3 hours of sleep a time. More on weaning my daughter. 75th Mommy Mondays, 77th Mommy Mondays, 80th Mommy Mondays

At 18 months, I got on a birth control that I didn't really want to get on, but eventually felt pressured to get on to help wean my daughter. I think that's what really triggered my depression again. October 2012. For those next 6 months, everything felt like a blur and so hazy. I stopped the birth control because it didn't really help me wean my daughter and my hormones felt so out of whack.

PostPartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
In the last week, I've learned others' stories with mental health. One is of woman who dealt with PPOCD. As she was brave enough to share her story on FB prior to meeting us, I have come to realize that I must have had this as well after my daughter was born which was probably another major trigger to my depression.
Here's some of her explanation on this:
"Women who suffer from Postpartum OCD (PPOCD) know that the repetitive thoughts they are having are horrible and completely unwanted, but they can't stop these horrifying thoughts from mentally attacking them.
Postpartum Psychosis is something completely different-- the woman might not recognize the thoughts as horrible. She might even think she should act on them, which is what puts her children in grave danger.
Even though women with PPOCD have FEARS that they will hurt their baby, there is fortunately ZERO EVIDENCE that anyone with this disorder has ever acted on any of their fears. In fact, most mothers with PPOCD are awesome moms who care so much about their children. They love them so much and would NEVER want to hurt them, and that's precisely what makes the intrusive thoughts so awful and scary. You can't understand why they won't go away. It makes you doubt yourself. If makes you wonder if you are some kind of monster.
If only I'd known. It would have saved me over a year of self-hatred and crying when I was alone, because I was so ashamed. I was scared to tell anyone, because I was afraid they'd take my baby away from me." More of her story:

For more information on this, check this site out.

As I read her story, I reflect back and I'm almost 100% sure I had this as well with my daughter. I feel like because I didn't have the support from family this time around near me, I felt like no one cared for her as much. Which probably brought me back to not feeling as loved or of worth since my biological father left me as a baby. (I had grown up thinking that he had left before I was born, but knowing he left after meeting me, seeing me, made me feel unloved or like something was wrong with me).
One of the recurring thoughts I had when she was a baby was that I would somehow stab her. I'd be so scared about this horrible thought that I'd be very deliberate when I was handling a knife or scissors, cutting things up. I'd walk to the cutting board or even the sink to put it away warning those around me or carrying the knife high above me just in case I tripped or acted out those horrible thoughts. I felt so paranoid.
I know that this is my main reason why I have been so fearful about having more children. There's hope now that I could possibly have more children. We'll see what promptings we receive since we've always received promptings on when to have our children. I'm so grateful to have met this amazing women so I that I continue to understand myself more and help spread awareness to others.

January 2014
We had just made the decision for my husband to quit his job in December 2013because they weren't letting him progress like he wanted to. We tried to prepare for this financially. Being me, I worried so much over this and just became more and more stressed out all while trying to rely on my Heavenly Father that everything would work out and even getting such strong spiritual confirmation that this was what we needed to do. Just because it was right, didn't make it easy though. 

February 20, 2014
This is was the worst day of my life. All I could hear was my failures from people for the last couple years about my parenting, how I took care of my home, not going home to visit, and little things with my skills and attempted work, but I didn't feel like anyone could give me enough support to help me through it. I didn't have family around; no one was able to come help me when my daughter was born; she was strong spirited, loving breastfeeding. My husband didn't end up having a job for three months. Those things just kept adding up on top of another until I just broke, not knowing what was wrong with me? Why couldn't I have all the answers, get my daughter to eat better and sleep better, why couldn't I keep my house clean and do a business at home, etc. etc. ?
All I knew was that I'd rather be with my Heavenly Father and my Savior who could give me the support and answers I wanted and who loved me unconditionally. I struggled to breathe that night and all I could feel was blackness surrounding me. I knew if I left the house, I would try to take my life so I just stayed by myself, hiding for a while so that I wouldn't leave the house. I lived off a 50 mph road at that time in Idaho, about 10 minutes away from the hospital. I've talked to others who have driven themselves to the hospital when feeling such extreme suicidal thoughts. Honestly I have no idea how they got themselves there without trying to crash the car. My husband didn't understand; he didn't know what to do.
For days, weeks after that I just went through the motions, trying not to feel. I felt like I failure for every little thing people commented about that wasn't good enough.
In March, I started to go to counseling every week. I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder. My counselor did tell me right away that if I ever did have suicidal thoughts again that extreme that I would need to call someone to drive me to the hospital over 30 minutes away in another city because they specialized in that.
It helped some, but I just kept thinking about the past and how often I felt like I was doing stuff alone or on my own like I was expected to do everything.
One story shared to me during my counseling was the worth of a $5 bill.
Here's a video that is pretty similar to the story: Inspired by Dieter F. Uchtdorf's 2010 talk "You are My Hands" and the story of the 20-dollar bill's continued worth.
"Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless; but no matter what happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value.
Dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still
priceless to those who love you. The worth of our lives comes, not in what we do or who we know, but by ...WHO WE ARE.
You are special - don't ever forget it."
After having my first child at the end of 2008, I came to realize that I was beautiful everyday no matter what. If I was beautiful though, why did I still feel like people didn't care about me or want to support me. I didn't think I was of worth because I didn't feel like I was doing enough. This story helped me to know that I am always of worth.

May 2014

I went to my first leadership retreat for my work as a wellness advocate and that was like counseling for me in a way too and with like-minded people. Leaders were encouraging and gave guidance, always positive. People I didn't even know that well told me that they could see me making a difference and being able to go far in this business. I started making changes, small ones.
Sara Bareilles' song, Brave, helped me to have the courage to start sharing more of what I was going through. Knowing myself, this was my biggest step in fighting depression.

July 2014
I told my families about my struggle when I went back to my hometown. First my in-laws so that my FIL could give me a priesthood blessing and then my parents. It was nice to have people know so they could try and offer support in helping me reach some goals I had.

August 2014
We made another big decision. My husband wasn't happy at his current job so again relying on the Spirit to know of Heavenly Father's will, we quit and acted on a leap of faith to move to Utah, again not having a job for some time; this time for about 2 months.
I was really scared that I would sink into depression again especially because this was something I didn't want to do. We would have leave our home from the last 5 years and the towns we had live din Idaho for the last almost 10 years. We would have to get rid of things and downsize for this move.

Depression, to me, is falling into a sink hole, scared and hopeless.  . . so hurt that you can’t get out, don’t know how, and feeling hopeless that no one will care enough to try and help you.

October 21, 2014
Turning Point - my 30th birthday
We just moved about a month before and I was starting to feel that nagging from people and felt like I was failing again. Why aren't you all unpacked yet. You have a lot of stuff. It took my husband about two month to get another new job when we moved. The night before my 30th birthday, I realized that my License expired and I couldn't renew it unless my green card was renewed. This gave me a ton of anxiety because I needed a lot of paperwork to renew my green card or get my citizenship in place along with a lot of money. With just moving, it would take a while to get that paperwork and with my husband not having a job for 5 months in this past year, I didn't know how this was all going to work out. Again no one offered support or help or they didn't remembered what to do so I was stuck again trying to figure out how to do things on my own. I didn't know anyone around except my husband's brothers but they were busy too. I didn't have other people to celebrate my big birthday how I wanted. I was starting to feel how I did back in February and that scared me so I started to think about the changes that I'd been told to do from my business leaders (not necessarily to help depression, but to improve my life overall) while I was smelling my Joyful Blend essential oil, breathing deeply. The two things I felt I had to do to make the biggest difference was the essential vitamins and Personal Development. Personal Development Books I've read.

Pictures of how I was feeling that night - I had been crying and tried to be happy and smile. I stayed up crying and getting pretty depressed since the next day was my 30th birthday, and I had no party and didn’t have any plans with any friends since we had just moved to the area. I watched some chick flick, ate some food, and used my Joyful Blend and kept smelling it. It’s a great oil for mood support. It really helped me to calm down again and remind myself that it’s okay.

Maryanne's 30th Birthday4

Within 3 weeks I started to see a difference working on those self care things. I tried to fight the difference, thinking this couldn't be happening. I had calmer, happier days and started to see the blessings. Of course my days haven't perfect. I still have tough days, angry days, but I'm not left feeling hopeless or feeling like a failure. I actually have hope for the future. I can actually picture the amazing things that I want to have happen in my life like owning a house, being financially secure. I couldn't picture anything good before. I was just living to survive.

The differences must have been pretty huge the last couple months of 2014, because in 2015, I was called to be the Relief Society President in my ward of 3-4 months and I also jumped 2 ranks in my business. For those who are not LDS, Relief Society is a women's organization in my church. In my ward, congregation, there are about 125 women. I was really nervous to be taking on such a big responsibility and worried about the pressure since I had just felt like I was getting my act together. I knew that I was supposed to accept this calling though I did ask for support from my husband's family since they are all active in the church just to make sure I could do it.
2015 really has been amazing, with several goals reached from my efforts and not worrying about what other people think. Following my heart has been key to my fight song. In past years, I had been so concerned about what others thought and feeling pressure from them to do what things how they did them. I'm grateful for advice and I hope to continue to take it just as that; not necessarily what's true for me and my family. My family has received major blessings in all areas of life this past year.  We've still had a quite a few challenges, but I again I have hope for the future. I hope to help people find that for themselves, but they have to be willing to put in the work and want to change.

This picture is from January 2015 ---- really showing how amazing I felt that 2015 was going to be! =D

One of the girls part of this movement, and actually one I learned from back at that retreat in May 2014 and she moved into my ward a couple months ago.....share this quote recently. It describes perfectly the changes in my life in this last year.

1 crafty contributions:

Shalee and Andy Weston said...

You are incredible Maryanne! I am glad you get the chance to share your fight song.