Finally, Without Fear

I am scared.
I am nervous.
I am hopeful.

And, I am depressed.

I have been depressed since July. Many people have asked me why I stopped writing so much, why I became some quiet on Facebook, why I didn’t reply to emails. Am I pregnant? Nope, but yes, I am dealing with my first bout of depression ever. I have casually written that I will tell everyone what is going on soon, when the time is right. And then whenever I thought that the time was right to share this deep, uncomfortable truth, I became really nervous. Nervous that sharing about my personal life was perhaps too much, too much for you all to know, too much for me to bare sharing.

And then, if I actually overcame the nerves and focused on the fact that I am desperate to write about my struggle, I became scared. Scared that people will judge me, scared that people will judge my family; scared that people will treat me and look at me differently; scared that people will think less of me, that I am weak and should “just get happy,” and scared that people will think I am too much of a downer and therefore not worth hanging around because I am uninspiring and a real party pooper.

And then on a good day, like today, for a brief moment I stop feeling nervous or scared and I just feel like the “me” that isn’t struggling with depression. I feel passionate about sharing my story and my struggles because I want other people who feel like I do, to not feel so alone. I want to share my story so that the stigma around depression can lessen and people like myself don’t feel scared or nervous to talk about his/her struggles, but instead feel welcomed and encouraged so they can get the help they need, or just feel loved and not so scared and alone.

And then, like today, I become hopeful. Hopeful that maybe, just maybe, that sharing my story will help just one person get help. I don’t know if that is true, but I do know this, writing thus far has already helped me. I feel lighter and a little happier. I have kept this struggle secret since July and it has been eating me up because I feel like I am keeping a really, awful deep dark secret from people I care about and I can’t stand it. Yes, I feel like The Orange Rhino Community is my extended family, seriously. And not telling you about my struggle daily feels like I am not being fully honest and I don’t like that. So here is my story (the short version.)

This has been one of the hardest years of my life, there is no doubt. I have experienced struggles like I couldn’t imagine. From numerous trips to the Emergency Room for one son’s seizures with concerns that he might have epilepsy to my marriage boulder to my foot injury that just won’t go away, and to everything in between (there is a lot in between!), it has been a long, long trying year and the hits just keep on coming, and coming, and coming. Some of the factors grew this July and my stress hit a whole new level. I felt sadness and pain like I have never felt before.

I didn’t want to get out of bed and I couldn’t wait to go to bed at night and yet, as soon as the kids were asleep I just sat on the couch cuddled up flipping through the same websites for hours because I couldn’t find the motivation to actually go to bed. I didn’t want to do things I love like playing with my kids, blogging, participating in The Orange Rhino Community, getting ice cream or sitting outside to enjoy a beer in the summer night. If I ever had a quiet moment alone during the day and a slow song came on I cried my eyes out. I ate everything in sight just to feel better (it didn’t work). I started drinking every night to feel better (that didn’t work either.)

Nothing really worked to make me feel better. Nothing has really worked to make me feel better. Right now I still feel the same sadness and pain, although perhaps deeper. In fact, it was deep enough and worrisome enough to me, because it has lasted so long and is growing, that I decided it was time to do something I have thought about, but vehemently fought since July. It was time to let go of my fear of being judged and do what my family needed me to do.

It was time to get help.
It was time to go to a therapist.
It was time to go on anti-depressants.

This was an incredibly hard decision to make. I wanted to believe I was strong enough to get through this tough patch on my own. I mean, I have hit tough patches before in my life, whoa nelly have I ever! I have felt sad from some of my traumas, but never so badly that just getting out of bed felt like an unbearable chore. I have never been so unmotivated in my life and not cared about not achieving anything as I do now. I have never wanted to run away as much as I do now. I have never felt truly depressed. Until now.

Six weeks ago someone asked me if I was depressed and I said, “no, of course not. Things are just tough.” And then my stomach curled and my feet twitched because I knew I was lying. I knew I was depressed; it was obvious to me because the intensity of my emotions was on a whole new level, but I was scared to admit it. I was scared to share just how bad I felt because I didn’t want to believe the depth of my pain; I didn’t want anyone to worry about me. I didn’t want to be taken away from my kids.

But now, now I can say without fear, that I am depressed. And I don’t just feel this new sense of not being scared to share this hard truth that will undoubtedly bring judgment just because the anti-depressants are helping, but rather I feel the need to share it after several emails I have received. Turns out, I am not the only one in pain. Numerous people have emailed me lately and shared that they are struggling and think they might be depressed and might need an anti-depressant but that they don’t want to go that route because they fear what people will say and … because they fear what they will say about themselves.

Because they fear what they will say about themselves.

Oh, oh do I get this. From the onset of my struggles, I haven’t wanted to go on anti-depressants because I feared it meant that I was weak for not being able to mange on my own. I feared it meant that I was screwed up and a bad role model for my kids. I feared it meant that I was different than everyone else. I feared that it meant I had just given up and stopped trying and sought the easy way out.

And, I feared it meant that I was pathetic…because that is what I have heard people say about those who go on anti-depressants; that those who need anti-depressants and can’t get just “get-happy” and “choose to be happy” are pathetic. I feared it meant that I was choosing to be depressed…because that is what I have heard people say about people on anti-depressants. Let me tell you, I am most certainly trying my hardest to not be depressed; it is just really, really hard under my current circumstances. There isn’t a day that doesn’t go by where I think, “UGH. Come on. I just want to feel better now and forget the pain! Please, help me to feel better!”

So, I write this post now to stand up for all of us who are struggling with depression, whether it be chronically or situational.

I write this post now to say you are NOT alone. We are not alone.

I write this post now to say you, me, we are not weak, pathetic, or screwed up because we need and seek help and choose anti-depressants. No, you, me, we are none of those things.

We might be scared, sad, embarrassed, confused and hurting, but we are also more. We are courageous to admit we need help. We are strong to actually get it.

I write this now with fire in my heart and with conviction to end all convictions, and I hope that I remember this in five minutes when I press “post” and in five hours when I take my new little pill and inevitably think, “shit, I needed a pill because I am in so much pain, why couldn’t I just do it on my own.” And I hope that I remember my conviction that I am courageous and strong when I feel overwhelmed by pain and sadness because I don’t want to go any deeper into this hole.

And, I hope above all else that I keep on fighting to get past this period of depression in my life. I hope that despite what people say about taking an anti-depressant and despite what I feel about taking one, that I do keep on taking my new little pill because the truth is, I need it right now. Right now I need a little extra help. And that is okay. There is no shame in needing help. None. Especially if the little help makes me a little happier which means my kids are a little happier too, for at the end of the day, this is why I am doing all this hard work, so that I can be the best person for me and my family.

Last week was Mental Health Awareness Week. I intended to share this post then but got scared. Please share this post so that others out there like me can start to live without fear and can get the support they need. 

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132 thoughts on “Finally, Without Fear

  1. Hiiiii! I stumbled upon your website and randomly this blog… I just really wanted to say YOU ROCK!!! I love your story and your motivation for sharing and your willingness to be vulnerable and search for a solution :). “When you work to create light for others, you naturally light your own way.” I’m sending a virtual hug across the ether will do. I see you, and you are beautiful 🙂 xoxo

  2. Thank you for your bravery! Sharing your story will help so many others who struggle w/ depression, meds or no meds & all the negative self talk & expectations we as mothers place on ourselves. (I have struggled w/depression for 20 or so years. I also have a child who is bipolar). Please continue to share your thoughts! You have made me feel not alone & give hope to SO many!

  3. Dear Orange Rhino (love the name, by the way). I am very sorry to hear about your struggles with depression. It is hard and it is bad. It must have been difficult for you to admit this, and thank you for finding the courage to share your struggles. You are not weak. It is OK to need help. It is OK to need medication. It is OK to be sick. After all, when our bodies get really sick, we treat them, so we should also treat our minds when they are sick. It is not about weakness, it is about getting better. It is about living, not just existing. Sending huges from the land of orange (The Netherlands), and by the way, the Dutch don’t yell at their children either! Please take care and will be thinking of you!

  4. You are so brave and STRONG for writing about this. There is nothing to be ashamed of. You have to do what you have to do! It’s so important for your kids to see you willing to help yourself, no matter what that means. They need to see you happy and not anxiety ridden or depressed. Trust me… I know. My dad suffered from clinical depression his whole life… and even though he’s been diagnosed, he refuses to get therapy. He REFUSES to seek help. He takes medication, but it’s just one of the many, many little pills he is currently on… he self-medicates and that’s what I saw growing up. At least you are cognizant of it and are taking the other steps needed to help yourself. Your kids need you to be present. And they need to see you happy… or at least not sad all of the time. Do what you got to do, OR. Even if it means taking happy pills for a while. We’re here for you. And if someone ever tells you to “just be happy”, they are clearly ignorant and uneducated. So let me know… I’ll send them a throat punch. 😉

  5. I am continually in awe of your courage and honesty. I cannot thank you enough for what you are doing to change lives and make us all a little more connected. I will be holding you close in thought and prayer that you may soon see light again, dear one.

  6. Clearly…you are not even close to being alone! I just stumbled upon your blog when googling “how to stop yelling at my kids”. I have often wondered if my suspected depression and anxiety are tied in with my impatience and yelling. Vicious cycle! I have almost taken meds on a few occasions..but have a bit of OCD as well that makes me paranoid about side effects. I am really getting to a place, however, where I feel like I might give them a try. My 12 y/o says I “yell alot lately” and I feel her distancing herself from me. Breaks. My. Heart.
    Thank you for writing this post. I would love some updates on how you feel about the meds.

  7. Thank you for writing this. I was directed to this website by my son’s occupational therapist. This is the first time I have visited the site and I could not have found a better post! I have battled depression for the last 10 years and recently go sick of having to take medication to feel better. I should know better than to just stop taking them but I did it anyway. I felt the same way as you and others that have left comments….I should be able to cope on my own, other mom’s can so I should be able to also. Thank you, again, for reminding me that being the best mom I can be means taking care of myself first!

  8. Wow. Your blog has been an inspiration to me and this post tops them all. I have a history of mental illness in my family (bipolar disorder, alcoholism) and have fought depression myself off and on for 20 years. One episode in high school, one in college. Another the year I lost my cat, my dad, my job, and my baby. I kind of spent 6 weeks in my jammies that time. (No kids yet). I pulled it together with some counselling and the realization that I was pregnant again. I was good for 5 years, but things started slipping when I had 2 kids, one with special needs (multiple developmental diagnoses), a business that was failing, a hubby working 2 jobs with major medical issues. The day I realized that if my meal plan included something from the freezer in the basement I couldn’t make it because the trip up and down the stairs was too overwhelming I thought, oh no here we go again. I went to my doctor to be referred to therapy. I had never taken the anti-depressants in the past not because I felt it meant I was a failure, but because of all the research I had done about them.
    I didn’t want to get therapy because I was rear ended in a car accident years ago and when we were in the legal process of negotiating a settlement I learned that they can obtain your medical records even if they don’t have anything to do with the case. They do this to intimidate you into withdrawing your claim to get paid for your medical bills, because of the stigma of mental illness and because who wants a stranger reading your private thoughts?
    But it was too bad to go on, so I went to therapy. Two years later, I was not making progress. It felt different than the other times I was depressed because I also felt tired. I mean, exhausted. Then I went to the doctor because of a pain in my leg. They sent me for blood work and learned that my iron was almost life threateningly low. I went on iron supplements 9 months ago, and started feeling better in only a few days. I am steadily getting better. The symptoms of iron deficiency are depression, irritability, forgetfulness, and more. Because of the research I have done regarding the meds they wanted to put my daughter on I am very wary of all of these meds because of the hidden and long term side effects. So I would highly encourage anyone struggling with depression to get a full work up in case it also has another medical component other than chemical imbalance, and try that first. But if it is solely depression, then get the help you need!!!!! Take the meds, get therapy. Because often there are underlying issues that you need to resolve so that the meds will (hopefully) not be life long *Note, my bipolar family member is and will be on her meds for life, sometimes that’s how it is.* I found the base of much of my issues is that I never learned to love and support myself, and that I am really judgemental and perfectionistic of myself. I find help through reading, it’s how I have been able to help my special needs child. For myself, the three books I am loving right now are: ‘I was a really good mom before I had kids by Ashworth and Nobile (This one let me know I am no squirrley than any other mom out there), 52 weeks of conscious contact by Melody Beattie (this one is good always), and Madly in Love with me by Christine Arylo (I am learning to give myself what I need, so I am not waiting around for others to help me). We neeed to take care of ourselves so as to be strong for our kidlets and others, and because we deserve it.
    Orange Rhino, and everyone who posted, you are not alone. I too look forward to the day when we can get the help we need and it is no big deal to anyone. In the meantime, let’s all hang out together and love and support each other. Orange Rhino, I know how much courage it took to talk about this, and I know depression rarely makes sense, but know how bright a light you are for all of us and know that it will get better because of your strength. Keep reaching out so we can keep lifting you up. God Bless!

  9. Wow. First, I want to give you a hug. Second, a thank you. Third, wow. I don’t know what made me go to your blog today. I’ve only looked at it a few times when I felt motivated to stop yelling. That usually lasts about 2 hours before I, once again, yell at my five year old twins. I would always be devastated I couldn’t even make it one evening or one morning. So today, I came here looking for some motivation before I head home for an action-packed evening of putting things away, packing lunches, putting kids to bed, etc. I did not expect to see this post but am so glad I did. I am sorry you are struggling. Your post has made me realize I too am struggling. I’ve blamed everything under the sun for the last year or more for my unhappiness and stress but through all that I’ve vehemently said “I’m NOT depressed”. But holy cow, shut the front door…..I think (know) I am. And I’m not sure I like how that feels. But again, thank you for sharing. As always, your words touch me. If I could give you a hug right now, I would.

  10. I just found your site today and I am so excited. This one particular post resonates. I am a single mom of three children, ages 8,9 and 12. My youngest was diagnosed with NH Lymphoma in February, I’ve been having struggles in my 4- yr. romantic relationship, and… I have a stress fracture in my heel. Really. I have NOT gotten help bc I’ve taken those pills before and it didn’t go well for me, but I know I must do something. Part of the yelling is all of the stress and plodding forward when you just really need to sit down and take a deep breath. Truth is, there usually isn’t time for that. So, thank you! I’m am very glad to have landed here today. Best of luck to you!

  11. Wow does this hit home. It’s not me, but my 10 year old daughter who is battling depression and anxiety right now. I, of course, am her lead soldier in that battle along with my husband. We started to notice it in the spring, and by midsummer we needed medical help for her, she was saying that things would be better if she was dead. She is very good a knowing what is going on, and what she needs, so the Doctor explained all of the options and let her pick how to start treatment. She chose talk therapy but she didn’t click with the therapist. She started an anti-depressant a few weeks ago and we are already seeing change for the good.
    She has only allowed me to share this information with a few family members, and only after I assured her that they love her and will support her. It is still such a secret battle. I will pray that your treatment works for you and will continue to fight for my daughter as best I can.
    Hugs to you!

  12. Hi. Just read this post. Yes, we all need help sometimes. And in my opinion it seems your a very aware person, so you’ll most definitely get through this period in your life.

    I’ve never posted here. Though 2 weeks ago I was looking for help online with yelling. Because the guilt that I was carrying on my shoulders was weighing heavy. I found the Orange Rhino challenge, and so glad I did. I feel a lot better as a mother because I’ve almost reached 2 weeks of no yelling! One day I raised my voice. I have stickers on my calender and look forward to the end of the day when I put another sticker on it!

    Many things happen in our lives to show us something, to open a door.

    Thank you for your honesty. You have helped me incredilby. I’m motivated and the change that has occured in my life is wonderful.

    Your right, there is no need to feel ashamed for needing help. It also sets a good examole to our kids that we take charge of our lives. Then later when they are adults, if they need help, they will ask for some too. 🙂

    Take care. I wish you a speedy recovery/ transtion.

    Greetings from The Netherlands,

  13. I always thought I should be strong, other people can do it, so should I….
    Untill I read this:

    Depression is not a sign of weakness,
    it’s a sign that you have been trying to be strong for too long.

  14. I’m normally just a quiet observer in the orange rhino community. I read the posts on Facebook and the blog, and just keep trucking along trying to be a better mom and yell less, but this post really hit home for me. I have struggled with anxiety mixed with depression for about the last 10 years. Probably longer if I’m really being honest. I’ve been on antidepressants off and on for 8 years or so and recently decided I was feeling pretty good and should try to find some other vitamin or supplement and go off if them. I just got sick of the idea of taking something every day and a little jealous that plenty of other moms can handle life without them, so why can’t I? I tried for 3 months on a supplement, and I really tried to feel okay, but my husband was noticing, my kids were noticing, and I knew I was not ok. I started thinking about going back on Zoloft, but I still wasn’t ready to give in. I actually need to preface this last part by explaining that I have a heart condition that I was diagnosed with after my last baby and have to take heart medication for the rest of my life to avoid damage to my heart and an eventual transplant. Anyway, finally one day my sweet husband and I were having a conversation and I asked him the loaded question, “Do you think I should go back on Zoloft?” Followed by a long pause where he scrambled trying to think if a nice way to scream “yes!” His answer was so great. He just said, “You would never quit taking your heart medicine because you felt like it wasn’t fair or that you should just be able to make your heart start working like it should again, right? So why should it be a big deal to help your brain out to make the right chemicals that it’s missing so you can feel happy again?” It was the push I needed. I started on my meds again the next day. I’ve had to start on a small dose again and work up to my maintenance dose, but I can honestly say I feel so much better. I have more patience with my family, I laugh more, and I don’t feel completely overwhelmed with life any more. I’m not saying medication is the answer for everyone, but for me, right now, it is the best option. Thank you for your posts! You encourage me every day to try again to be a little better.

  15. Thank you for sharing, I know what courage it took… most people who know me have no idea the depths of depression I have been through in the past. And a lot of that is because of the huge stigma and shame surrounding it. I can’t say for sure I’ll never be back in it either, but I am very grateful to be out, and I want you to know, there is another side, and once you get out of it things will feel so much different you will be amazed. Please don’t be afraid to keep talking to your therapist, it can be so helpful to have someone listen to you who has heard it before and can understand. It can also help to identify what triggers it in you. I am so glad you took this step before it got worse. It got a lot worse for me before I dealt with it, I almost didn’t make it. And I have known other people who were taken down by it… forever. You ARE doing something about it on your own, something strong, you are confronting your depression and dealing with it with the tools available, and the best tools for dealing with depression sometimes come from outside yourself, because inside is too affected. You will get the inside back with the outside help.

  16. Couldn’t have liked your Facebook page at a better time! Very helpful article.. After trying to research ” local GOOD” therapists.. And no one having a website, a picture.. Or any reviews.. I remembered reading something about one year no yelling.. Sure enough.. A website.. And a
    Fb page.. And an article that is very inspiring.. As a mother of 2 boys… I have also been in the ER several times with a 3 year old who has seizures.. Scariest thing ever.. I need to find out more about the challenge.. And If I could honestly do it! It sure would be helpful to my family! Thank you for all the posts that I am just beginning to read and follow!… No one told us that parenting was this hard!

  17. Wow. Thanks. I’ve struggled with depression for over twenty years (luckily on and off). It is so stinkin’ tough. Sometimes when people say things like, “Happiness is a choice” I just want to punch them in the nose. Not really, I know they mean well and our attitudes do powerfully affect our emotions, but I still resent that phrase.

    Not wanting to go to bed at night because a new day will start. Not wanting to get out of bed in the morning. Feeling like it takes all my energy and willpower to take a stinkin’ shower. I’ve been doing so much better lately, but sometimes it’s been bad. And the last time I went off meds I felt better than I had so I’m hesitant to go back on them. I know the people that compare it to diabetes or blood pressure mean well, but it is not that simple. It can be such a crapshoot figuring what medications you will respond well to, and it takes time to ramp up, and with all the side effects. Even when times have been hard in the last few years, I have not turned to medication because I’m scared. It’s like my last resort and I’m scared they won’t really help, or will be a huge pain. And I’m tired of the people in my life who just act like I should just take medication as if it is a super easy cureall. I’d like to say, thanks for sharing your struggle. I hope the medication and therapy will help you get on a path back to a healthy, motivated, content, peaceful you.

  18. GO YOU!
    I want to share with you that a year ago next month I made the same trip to the doctor. I needed help. Panic attacks every night, my work was suffering, my parenting and even my spiritual path had come to an abrupt halt over the past two years. In April of 2010 my second child was born. I felt that PPD creeping in just a little but decided to tackle it with meditation and sunshine. I started to feel much better. Then my marriage completely imploded. I won’t go into details as to why but there I was standing in a spot having to make the decision to divorce or start from scratch. I chose to work through it. But as time went on this lump seemed to form in my chest and I started to dread the nighttime after I got the kids to bed because that was when the mental demons came into play. After 18 months I asked for help. And I was put on a low dose anti-depressant. So here I am a year later and let me tell you….life is better. I am a better mom. My job is back on track and facing those demons has led me into a deeper spiritual study than I ever imagined. And it’s not because the pills fixed anything. It was because they gave me the edge I needed to fix things. In fact I am now working on the plan with my doctor to stop taking the meds and try it on my own. But I promise myself and my family that if I see the symptoms return I won’t wait 18 months to ask again. Society can kiss my…. well you know. If they want to judge me for this so be it. The fact of the matter is my kids have an active engaged mom who laughs. That is the only judgement that matters.

  19. Bless you!!! Much love and many prayers!

    I have fought depression my whole life, even as a child. When we were growing up depression was a major taboo, and definitely in children! As a young adult,22, I was clinically diagnosed with depression and went on anti depressants. Man did they make my world right! I became me again! I was even on them through my pregnancy with my son with much watching from my OBGYN and a prescription safe for my baby. It has only me in the last 6 months where I felt I was ready to fight the battle of depression without medication, 12 years later. I have tried over the years to wean myself off medication and couldn’t. It has taken me 4 months, but I am no antidepressant free for 2 weeks. I still struggle with being short tempered/snippy. But I finally feel like the same me!

    I am so proud of you to realize you needed help! It is NOT a bad thing! It is a good thing! Taking medication is a good thing if it works for you! Take your time! Work on it! God is with you and on your side and so are all of us! It’s okay to be on medication, it’s okay to have a disease, depression is a disease! You are a woman, you are a fighter, your are a mother, a lover and a friend! God bless you and know I love you! We all love you!!!

  20. I havr been dealing with depression and bi-polar disorder for 20 plus years….I have been on meds for that long. I feel no stigma because I have a support system. I truly have never understood the fear people have with being honest about this debilitating condition. I liken it to diabetes. …it is a chronic condition that I have to take a pro active role in keeping it in check. I havr to be extra careful because suicide runs in my family so I am diligent with keeping up with my kids emotional states. I almost lost one son earlier this year to a failed attempt and the guilt I felt was unbearable. Mental health should not be a cause of shame. Every day is mental health day in my house. Just a side note, there are a few medical conditions that cause depression, anaemia being a big one. I suggest seeing a regular doc or asking your psychiartrist for a cbc to rule out some other factors. Also, if one pill doesn’t work there are others and combos of others. …hang in there.

  21. You are such a beautiful and strong person. I congrat you. Keep in there. I am happy to meet (you &) your work on the orange rhino. You inspired me, I always learn something from you. You really change my relationship with my beloved daughter.
    I use to take that pill for many years, was necesary, was ok.
    I pray to God for you to pass throug all and every thing turns right. Specially your kids wellbeing. Dress yourself as a warrior for the battle and ask for the strenght of God, he will do it all.

  22. Thank you so much for sharing. It takes incredible strength and courage to face up to what others may see as a weakness. I see it as both a brave and compassionate act and I am glad I have found your blog. You are an inspiration to me daily.

  23. You are not alone. My heart is with you on this big step and I appreciate you hitting post, sharing the hard stuff and making us some of us realize that we aren’t alone either. Hope, prayers and the best of orange vibes to you!!

  24. Oh, friend … I’m so glad you’re “coming out” and finding your brave center. I tell all the mamas I work with that we’re all scared, all the time. The only way out of that feeling is to share and talk and admit to our fears. I know everyone here in your community feels as I do … that your perfect just as you are and your life is just as it should be right now. I am so glad you are finding peace … be gentle with yourself as you navigate the rough waters. xx

  25. I am so proud of you for bein open and brave! I went through much of the same – when i finally went to doc, she thought to check my thyroid- thank god!! It was really slow!! I was ready to try antidepressants but it turned out it was thyroid and thr fastest easiest blood test! I feel so much better now and i know the root! Thyroid issues are incredibly common and i never knew.
    I hope everyone in a similar situation asks for this easy blood test too!! Hanged my life!

  26. Can I just say…THANK YOU! Because YOU are brave. I don’t love that anyone has to suffer from depression, but I do love when people like you speak out and give voice to this silent disease. We need more posts like this to overshadow all the negative stigma and judgment from those who just don’t understand how hard it is. I know, because I’ve been there and I’ve felt the same fears you have. Mostly, I was afraid that admitting I had depression was admitting that I was a failure as a mom. But depression is no one’s fault and it doesn’t mean you are a failure. It takes so much courage and strength to ask for help and even more to publish a post like this. Keep on fighting, brave momma, because you are already so strong.

  27. Taking medication for what amounts to a medical condition really isnt shameful. Would you say a diabetic is pathetic for making insufficient insulin? Why then would depression be any different when our bodies are making insufficient seratonin or other antidepressant chemicals for our needs?

    I’ve suffered depression in some form (including PPD and ante-natal) for well over 20 years on and off. It’s a horrid, debilitating and socially challenging illness and extremely controlling and manipulative. It’s wretched.

    I deeply admire your strength and bravery in posting this post and sharing publically. You will rally a support network that is like no other. The strongest tool that Depression has in its tolbox is to make you feel alone. The strongest tool you have in yours is community and friendship and not being alone. And when you have a wonderful supportive and loving family and a huge online community there to make sure you are never alone then you are heavily armed to fight and win your battle.

    • I rarely hear some one talk about ante-natal depression (or intra-partum as my therapist called it). I had it with all three of my pregnancies (that includes a miscarriage at 11 weeks). It is the main reason I am not having a 3rd child. Don’t want to rock the boat. Makes me feel less alone, so thanks for sharing that.

  28. You are an inspiration to anyone who has read your blog, and even moreso now! God bless you in your struggles, and thank you for finding the courage to share what you have been going through! It’s way too easy to feel inadequate in life, and to beat yourself up first. Take it one day at a time, and know that by sharing, you have helped many people today, as you have so many times before, and as you are certain to continue to as long as you keep writing! Thank you!

  29. I just wanted to send love and hugs your way. Depression sucks. Pills save lives. Hope you mange to keep taking them and they help (first few weeks can be tough). you’re certainly not alone in the struggle.

  30. To hell with what people think..You are the only one you have to answer to. Any one else who criticizes is not your friend, so screw them..I used to worry about everything every one said, then realized, I grew up being criticized. I even started to do it, then I thought, wait a minute, I’m doing the same thing that was done to me..You have every right to feel depressed, I was at that point, when I was 12, I actually picked up a gun, that was in the house, and put it to my head..Then I thought, my mother would feel really bad if I did that, even though she was not very loving, she had her own problems..I had a terrible childhood, I mean really bad, but it made me strong and defensive and I learned that I come first. You have to, too, for your children. You are strong, but that doesn’t mean don’t take help when it offered..That’s why we have medicine. It’s not something that people take that are weak and think they have failed to cope with life, it’s for people who are strong and want to be happy and healthy..Part of it might be a chemical imbalance in your system, so you might want to check that out. You have the right to be happy and healthy, you just need to do whatever it takes to get there.

  31. Thank you. Just Thank you. Your post brought tears to my eyes. I have been battling with depression since I was a senior in high school. And I have always felt this way, “why do I have to take a pill to feel normal?!” I hate it. But with two little boys and my husband depending on me to function I take my little pill every night. Even when sometimes I feel like it’s not even working, I take it. Thank you for sharing your struggle with all of us. To know we are not alone in our struggles helps so much. To know someone actually truly understands how we feel, what we are going through it makes us all a little lighter inside. So thank you for being brave and for sharing. You are not alone in this struggle and now I know I am not alone either.

  32. You did a service to help change the stigma associated with depression. Keep asking for what you need, others will be there for you and you will feel better. Hugs and positive vibes as you transform this situation into something positive.

  33. For me an anti-depressant is the difference between knowing I’m being a “mean mommy” and not being able to stop and recognizing that I’m overreacting and stopping. I’d rather have the second…K

  34. So proud of you. I remember these feelings well… so well, in fact, that they kept me from having more children. Depression is the scariest thing I’ve ever faced and it is real. You are so brave and so smart to seek and accept help. You WILL get better, day by day, you WILL get better. Know that above anything else. It gets better!!!

  35. I think you are brave to post what you have. This blog has been an inspiration to me for a while now and with this post you have humbled me. Thank you. I felt myself drowning with the kids, and the yelling… But I would think of you and this blog and smile or sing or something. You supported me without even knowing it, and I want to let you know that I don’t think you have anything to be ashamed about. You are a good mother and a good person. Thank you again.

  36. Well done u! If you don’t look after yourself then everything collapses! Like in an airplane! First put your own mask on then help the kids! You having been Doing so much in the past, now it’s your time and your turn! Take care of yourself!!!!!!

  37. I just needed to say that I’ve been there. You have our support. It was brave of you to post this and you need to know that MANY of us have been there.

  38. So many people I know have depression &/or anxiety & take something for it. Once people started opening up & telling me about it I was very surprised by how many of them there were. I think this struggle is far more common than people realize. Both my roommates in college took medication, one for dysthymia, the other for anxiety & A.D.D. My best friend of 32 yrs, several other friends, a handful of my aunts & uncles (I have a big family), at least one cousin, my mother-in-law, and my husband ALL take something to help them through their battles w/ depression and anxiety. That is a LOT of people for one girl to know who struggle w/ this & I’m sure they’re just a portion. Like I said, I believe this is MUCH more common than people care to realize. I’m very proud of you for opening up & sharing this w/ so many people. If it makes just one other person see they are not alone then it was most certainly worth it because you & everyone else who deals w/ this everyday are most assuredly not alone.

  39. I just want to say thank you for sharing, it does take a lot of corage to admit this. And admitting depresion is the first step to get better, to get the help you need. There is no shame in needing help to get better, on the contrary, it takes a lot of corage for you to do that. My aunt suffered from deppression this last summer, we all knew she wasnt herself for a while and when she finally reached for help everything changed, luckily for us she was open to theraphy, she was open for help and today with medication she is getting better, she is getting her life back, and we all love the way she feels now and we all support her anyway we can. Talking about it will just help you feel better, and those who jugde you can take their worthless opinion any place else, you are a great inspiration to a lot of people and this situation just show you are human like the rest of us, and this in my personal opinion will just bring you closer to your extended family, here at the Orange rhino community. Keep it up and remember you are not alone in this path, we are all waking with you. A big hug and praying you feel better soon.

  40. Dear Rhino,
    One in ten people will experience depression and or a mental ill health issues at some point in their life. The only thing to be ashamed about is that we still live in a society where we hide our depression because of all the fears you spoke of.
    Choosing to do something about it be it those little pills or asking for help and talking to someone qualified is actually the bravest move and one that will show your little ones that it IS OK to ask for help when they need it rather than turn to drink, drugs or other pain staunching crutches.
    As someone who has been there and out the other side I send you my love, my prayers and the biggest congratulations on having the courage to share – thank you.

  41. Thank you so much for this!!! I just started on anti-depressants 2 weeks ago. I too was ashamed and in denial about how I have been feeling, but it was getting worse and I was hit with my own marriage boulder that helped me see I needed help if only to be the best mama for my girls. I also talked to my Pastor who told me he was actually on meds for depression. I hate how there’s such a stigma about mental health and that I was part of that mindset. I told my Dr. I thought it was PPD, but when I was honest with myself I think I’ve been suffering for 10 years or more.

  42. What a great post you have written. Self disclosure is one of the hardest things to do EVER, yet it helps others to heal.
    I try to understand what it is like to live with depression, however I dont have it. I work with people with disabilities and depression is very common in my area, my partner, sister, sister in-law, a few work mates, several friends all have depression and several will say they are able to live their lives way better than they could without the meds. The so called ‘stigma’ does not exist. The more you chat to others, the more you realise it is so common. Those who dont talk of depression, either dont have any idea about it, are fearful of it because you cant see it, have it themselves or are struggling with something else in their life. My thoughts are with you and your family! Stick with a great therapist and you will be ok!!! And do keep sharing your journey! I can only learn from you as my partner is also very fresh in being diagnosed with the black dog. Take care!

  43. Hi there orange rhino! You really are an inspiration!
    I am a mental health nurse and counsellor and I so often see people who are not only struggling with mental health issues, but also with the stigma attached to their struggles. People can do so much damage to others without even knowing or meaning to… but then there are people like you who stand up and speak for people who don’t always have the energy. It’s a brave thing to do, but it is also a therapeutic thing for you and for others.

    I hope that the little pill helps, I hope your doctor told you it can sometimes take between 4-6 weeks to notice any difference (so you don’t feel like it’s not working after a few days), i hope you also know that if this pill doesn’t work, there are many other ones to try, i hope you stay on the medication (unless it’s not working) for as long as your doctor says to (because coming off too soon, even if you are feeling better, is a bad idea) and I really hope you find yourself a good counsellor/therapist who you can trust and work with on what lies underneath this episode of depression and what will help you recognize early warning signs and avoid relapse. All the best!!! I look forward to hearing more!

  44. Thank you for sharing this – AND for loving yourself and your family so much that you went to get some help. I pray that you will start feeling better very soon.

  45. Good on you for sharing. I found this book very good for dealing with stress/anxiety/depression – “The Happiness Trap” by Russ Harris – you can get it online from It is based on ACT (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy), a revolutionary mindfulness-based programme for overcoming stress, anxiety and depression. It gives some great tips on dealing with painful thoughts and feelings. Studies have also shown it is much more successful than Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – which a therapist might use. I tried the therapy route and this worked better for me – heaps cheaper too!! Another fantastic book that gives a solid scientific explanation for why so many of us struggle emotionally is “They F*** You Up” by Oliver James which you can get from the same website. It explains exactly why what you are doing with your blog is SOOOO important. How we treat our kids moulds their personality and affects them greatly later on in life!!! So you are a hero – plain and simple. I couldn’t recommend these 2 books more strongly – knowledge as to why you are struggling and simple techniques to relieve some of the mental burden that stress & depression cause will help a lot!!

  46. I could have written this 15 years ago, and I too was afraid of what people would think, and I was ashamed of myself for not being the strong woman I thought I was. It took a couple of years of alcohol abuse to finally get to the place where I could seek help. May your journey be a little smoother now that you have taken the first step Bless you

  47. May you continue to be strong in your battle to be the person you want to be for you and your family. Thank you for sharing your message. I have worked in mental health for many years and struggled with postpartum depression after having my son. It is not easy but it gets better. Sending many warm thoughts your way.

  48. Hello Orange Rhino. I have read your blog for a while, but never managed to leave a comment.. But, on this I felt I need to.. As someone who has suffered with depression through her adult life I know how hard it can be, I know how helpless and worthless I felt.. But, it can, and does, get better.. I no longer feel weak about the fact I am prone to depression, and when I feel it coming I am much more willing to go and seek help. Yes, I’ve taken tablets (but I haven’t had to now for 5 years), yes, I’ve been to therapists/CBT groups and currently a psychologist and yes, sometime life is hard.. But… life is also good, much better for having had help and, for today and many days/months now, I don’t feel depressed.. If/when it arrives again that’s fine – I’ll deal with it then.. The worst thing I could do would be to ignore it – that much I’ve learnt! As someone said (I think there is even a book by this name) “depression – the curse of the strong!” You’re not alone OR, please never feel that.. This is just part of your journey, like it is part of many people’s journeys..
    With love to you, and the other who are suffering. Susi x

  49. You are so brave! Thank you for sharing with us your battle and your fears. When someone takes that big step, it makes it easier for others to follow. Even with baby steps…I found this talk- you may want to check it out. I found it extremely uplifting, compassionate and a message to the world about depression and mental illness and how we as a society should be treating those and ourselves that are afflicted with it. Warmed my heart. If you are suffering from depression or mental illness, or know someone who is, please watch this.

  50. Thank you so much for being brave enough to post about depression. Something that so many of us struggle silently through. I too felt like you at several different times in my life. I would fight medication. I hated feeling like a “happy person failure.” I hated thinking that my positive, naturally happy husband (who has never struggled with depression or anxiety) would maybe look down on me for something he couldn’t possibly understand. I hate that words such as “whacko, psycho, nut job, crazy” etc make me cringe and feel shame because without my meds, maybe I’d be called or considered that? I hide my happy pill from everyone except those that I know who are “crazy like me”. With them we can laugh & compare who is nuttier or which med works best!
    One day I’m hoping that our society won’t base mental illness or periods of time when depression may hit us as such a vile prognosis. If we had diabetes we’d take insulin with no shame …no brainer. I’m hoping one day that this illness will be dealt with – with respect.
    Thank you for taking us one step closer.
    Bless your journey!!

  51. You have helped so many through your orange rhino project. And now by opening this door you allow others to help you in return. We believe in you!

    I have struggled with depression off and on since I was a teen. In my 20s I took antidepressants for ~4 years and stuck with therapy all that time. When I was ready to go without medication I titrated off and stayed in therapy. Eventually I realized I know had the tools I needed to get through future tough times. Since then I’ve had kids and a marriage boulder and have returned to therapy for assistance, but I haven’t had to return to meds so far (though I’ve considered it and might have if I wasn’t breastfeeding).
    As you go through this I encourage you to remember that if the first med doesn’t work another may. And that for many people with situationally-triggered depression the need for medication may be temporary. Use it as a tool to gain some perspective and calm so you can reflect and make the change that is needed in your life. Medication and therapy go well together. It’s hard work and can be expensive but its well worth it. It’s good for you and good for your kids. Model taking care of yourself.

  52. You are awesome!! I’m in the same boat as you and have dealt with depression the last 8-10 years. Started with post partum baby blues and then just stuck around and lasted a while. I have been on and off medication and I have finally accepted that this is how it’s gonna be so just give in and take the pill and move onward. I don’t care who knows and it’s great to share with people because more than not we are all struggling and it’s nice not to feel all alone!!

  53. You have taken the hardest step and admitted it to yourself. I have been struggling since my first pregnancy almost 8 years ago. My problem is that as soon as I start to feel better I think I am better and I stop the meds and go back to denial. My husband and kids are suffering because of my refusal to really accept I have problems. Even when I am doing well, at this point it has so seriously impacted my marriage, we still fight, and our kids are starting to show signs of impact too. And I still blame other reasons. On days like today I realize I am a huge part of the problem, but too often I find excuses. To all those who struggle with mental illness, please be strong enough to accept it and not fight it. Some people won’t understand it and will be embarrassed or will avoid you. You will just have to learn to surround yourself with people who won’t do that. It can be isolating, which makes it worse, but however bad it gets, there will be better spells and in those times you can remind yourself why you keep struggling the rest of the time. I am still struggling with acceptance, but looking at my family, who are still with me, though it is so fragile now, I know I must keep trying. I applaud your openness and hope you feel more like your old self soon.

  54. Very brave post. We’re here supporting you. There is no shame in getting the help you need. Taking care of yourself is a great example for your boys. You are taking the right steps and you are not alone. Big Hug!

  55. I have suffered with depression since childhood. In college I finally went to a therapist of my own free will and started working through my triggers/issues. He immediately put me on meds and though I didn’t want to o on them and felt like a failure and broken for having to, they helped. I have been in and out of therapy since then but always on meds. I have come to know myself and my illness very well over the last three decades, and I have come to think of it as any other illness. If I had diabetes and diet and exercise didn’t keep it in check, would I not turn to medication to help? And if things went well for a while, would I not try dialing back the dosage? Ad if it didn’t work would I not try something different? A different medication, a different combination? I would. And so I do for my sake and that of my son.

    Unfortunately, most of my friends haven’t understood or tried to understand my mental illness and have left my life.

    You are brave, you are strong, you are courageous!

  56. I follow you a lot and after reading your post i am happy that you found a way to help yourself. I really feel strongly about one thing though. Its about believe in God and knowing that He does things for some reason. I think you shoudl really start reading up on Islam and try to read a translation of the Quran. It will open new doors for you.

  57. I have followed your blog for some time, but never before now have I felt so motivated to say something. I hope you’ll bear with me as I try to make sense of what I want to say to you. And what I say is not to condemn or chastise you, but to support you.
    First of all, I am puzzled as to why you feel this is a mental health issue–I mean, why you feel you need to go on antidepressants–as if the depression is something you instigated! My God…(and I say that with utmost respect, out of shock, maybe) You had a career that it sounds like you were very proud of. You underwent a monumental life change when you became a mother not just once, but 4 times over, and now you’ve young children close in age to raise. I’m totally with you so far, my friend. This in itself is enough to make most of us stress out completely. We go into this thinking we can do it, because thus far we’ve handled everything Life threw at us and survived. NOBODY tells you how hard even parenting can be; why is this? Are the others suffering from short-term memory loss, or have they been bound by blood, sworn to secrecy? Oh, some commiserate but the fact is, none of us can ever amply prepare for even that aspect of life in itself. We can’t predict what is going to happen when we’ve got four children with different personalities and different sets of issues or health. But you seemed to have that covered at the very least as well as the majority of us do. We keep our heads above water…barely. But we survive. You have, too. You’re here to tell us about it. That counts for something.
    And all this other “stuff” is coming at you with both barrels. Honey! Anybody in their right mind would be overwhelmed by this! Any of us would surely become depressed too, because it is absolutely overwhelming. It is too much.
    But to suggest or assume that is “just your problem” because it’s too much for you to handle, so anti-depressants will fix it… No, no. That’s like putting a Hello Kitty band-aid on a napalm wound. It might help you deal, for a while, but it’s not going to make the problems go away. If you feel you need it for a bit just to cope and think more clearly, well, I can’t fault you for that. But YOU are not the problem that needs fixing.
    Sharing your life with your readers I hope has at least allowed you to vent some of this incredible stress. But I know that no matter how many of us say, “I feel your pain and I’m sorry!”, it doesn’t take it away, does it? But truly, I wish I could, for you.
    I also wish I had answers, solutions. I and other readers will need to think on that, and find a way to help give you the support you need, because that is the key: getting support and help from the outside to deal with what’s going on outside. I feel this is not so much an internal issue as it is an outside one. There’s simply too much going on. And it sounds as though you are at a place now in which you are not afraid to ask for help. So please, do. Friends, family, anyone; if each person could do just one little thing, all those things would cumulatively relieve at least some of the burden on you.
    I know you really put yourself out there, in a vulnerable position, by publicly declaring you were going to stop yelling and challenged all of us to do the same. Bravo to that! You set the bar high–for us and for yourself. And I honestly am so proud of you for doing that. It’s not impossible, but it is very, very hard. And as you know, there are good days and bad days. You’ve done so well so far. Please don’t quit now. You are stronger than you realize. Truly. I don’t mean you should bite the bullet and keep tolerating all of it. Not at all! But the key here is in fixing what’s making you feel this way. And it’s not you who is making you feel this way.
    When Life is hitting us from every direction, it seems, there’s a lesson in this (and boy, don’t we know it!) It is also the perfect catalyst for big change. Don’t see it all as one big mountain or monster about to devour you. Look at each individual issue, maybe, and think of what that would be like if it were instead an ideal one. If you have a moment of calm in the midst of this storm, pick that apart step by step backward from the ideal to now, and then, in baby steps, what you envision would be the best steps to take. Yeah, I know that sounds like flaky feel-good talk, but it really does help to see it in smaller pieces. Then it’s not so daunting.
    I care, and I wish every happiness for you, truly. Let us, your readers, and anyone else know how we can be of help to you.

  58. Me too. Thanks for saying it.

    I like to think I would yell less and love more if I weren’t depressed. I go more crabby than sad, but I know it’s not me.

  59. Hugs to you Orange Rhino!! We all go through something like this at some point in our lives, and there is no shame in getting a little help until you feel you can handle it on your own. Chin up!!

  60. You are not alone. You are tired. You are hurting, and being a mama means a whole lifetime of pain comes up and bites you on the arse! I share your pain and respect your story. I write about mine too (the writing cure my psychologist calls it!) – this will make you cry but it will also help your lonely heart. None of us are ever alone in what we think and feel – we are all humans after all. You are right you need a psychologist to dig deep into your core beliefs, you need someone to listen and not judge, you need to shore up your self esteem and realise that you ARE loved (more than you could ever imagine) and you are an inspiration to so many. I have recently started listening to Louise Hay’s self esteem subliminal tapes and now the whole family is addicted and wow how the dynamic is changing. Sleep is the great healer too and mums don’t get enough of it! How about a holiday away from the kids and hubby and just some concentrated ‘me’ time? Bless you x

  61. I commend you, you took a giant step in reaching out to others with your story.
    Sometimes we need a little extre help to calm the pain.
    I pray that through praer you will become a stronger.
    I wish the best for you.
    God Bless,

  62. I am so glad you shared. This has been an extremely hard year for me as well. It is my first time being depressed and I didn’t know what to do. I miscarried the end of January and went to a dark place where I was convinced I was broken. Slowly things got better and I found out I was pregnant again only to have the same thing happen and I miscarried again last week, this time resulting in surgery. I have wanted to share my story to help someone else, but like you I am scared. I am a very private person and it is hard for me. Many of our friends and family still have no idea. I guess this is my way of getting it out in small doses until I can be brave like you.

  63. You are brave and you are strong! It takes strength and bravery to see you need help, acknowledge you need help; and seek help!!! Try hard to over come the shame. There really is no shame in talking with a counselor and taking medication to help you get to a happier place. After a time struggling with depression your chemical make up changes. The meds help them get back to where they belong and then you can help yourself get back to being you. Good luck on your journey. You can do it!!
    Please continue to be followed by a therapist and let them help you wean the mess when the time comes.
    I’ve don’t know your struggles but I do know depression. It takes work and lots of positive self affirmation.
    You will be happy again!!!

  64. You know this by now, but I’ll repeat it anyway. You are not alone. “Mental issues” run in my family, so I am pretty familiar with all this. I was in therapy myself years ago but never took meds. That changed of course when I had my stroke 5 1/2 years ago.

    Right after my stroke, and a week in the hospital (mostly in the ICU), I went to Kernan Rehab hospital for intensive physical therapy. I did a lot of crying at first, and one day two doctors came to see me. They asked me if I was depressed. I laughed and told them, “who wouldn’t be when you can’t half of your body?” They started me on Lexapro right then and I have been on it ever since.

    I try hard to be “upbeat and positive” all the time. Who wants to be around a misanthrope all the time? NO ONE! I want people to know that there is life after a stroke, that you can still do lots of things that will give you a fulfilling life.

    I don’t want people to know that I hate every minute of this fucking shit. I hate what this has done to my wife more than what it has done to me. I get tired of hearing how inspiring I am to others. Yes, I work hard to regain my physical abilities because I am stubborn and don’t want to regret later on that I was lazy and just accepted my fate. I have given my recovery all that I have to give, and I am trying to deal with the realization that it won’t be enough. This body is rebelling with aches and pains. It needs rest that I have refused to give it. Bottom line is I need to accept that I will never be the same physically or mentally as before.

    Sorry this has been so much about me. I have no idea if this helps you or not. The important thing is that you are seeking help. You can dig yourself out of this pit. You are strong enough to get through this.

  65. Thank you so much for being brave enough to post this! You’re right, we’re not alone! More moms suffer from depression than I think we’ll ever know about. And it’s not bad to take a little pill. We take a little pill for allergies. Why not depression? I’m finally at a place where I might ease off them soon, so that’s exciting. But I know myself enough to realize I really and truly did need them for a while! Thank you and god bless!!

  66. I was depressed for a long long time. I took every vitamin/supplement/whatever that promised to end it and some of it helped for a while anyway but it always came back. When son #1 was born, my doctor gave me anti-depressants but I couldn’t sleep with them when a new mom of a newborn desperately needs sleep so I stopped. A few years later I hit bottom again and got a prescription for a different type. I took it only a few months when I was pregnant with son #2. My doctor switched me to another kind that was safer to take during pregnancy and I kept taking them for a few months after he was born but eventually stopped because I didn’t see the point. I didn’t feel better but I didn’t feel like crap either. In the meantime I tried hormone cream as prescribed by my doctor and took some pills to help stress hormones in my system. That helped but not really so I eventually stopped taking all that, too. Just recently, probably coincidentally around the same time you did, I hit bottom again. This time I was determined to ‘do it right’. I went to counselling and got another different anti depressant. This one is much better I can tell and I don’t ever want to stop taking it. Once my mood balanced a bit, I realized that much of my anger and yelling was a result of my depression and the anxiety it caused me. I still was a yeller so I sought more help. I signed up for an online anger management class as well. I’ve taken that and am working my way through a separate anger management workbook. I still yell but it is starting to stick. I desperately hope that I get ‘better’ this time. I’ve tried and failed so many times but I worry I can’t do it. But I don’t think I’ve ever been as determined as I am now. I can do it and so can you. So can all of you.

    • Oh Honey you did NOT fail! You keep going on and that is inspiring. You will find your answer, I have absolute faith in you. When you try something and it doesn’t work, it is just an opportunity to learn more about what to try. Hang in there, I have been/am there and I know it will get better for us all.

  67. The stigma of mental health improves everyday when someone (you) opens up and changes the image of depression or what depression really looks like. I’ve heard the fear, the pain and the sadness from many mouths in my therapy office. We (yes, we, myself included) are not alone. It takes more stregth to ask for help than it does to deny it. We are stregth. But Even when we are being strong it helps to know you are getting a cyber hug. 🙂

    • I have struggled with depression most of my life; it runs in my family but I didn’t know that until my thirties because NO ONE TALKED ABOUT IT. It is so important that we stand and speak, so the stigma can be banished and we can start helping each other.

      I joined the community a couple months ago because my yelling had gotten out of control. I have learned over the years that my depressive episodes manifest in agitation and irritability, leading me to lash out at those nearest me. THAT is why I became and orange rhino. To help keep me accountable for not only yelling less and more, but also to use that as a way to monitor my depression. I still struggle; my therapist and I are working to find the right med regimen and I’m making some lifestyle changes, but I’m still working to find joy in the everyday.

  68. I LOVED your post. You are one great lady and I am very glad for you and your family. Depression is a disease, just like diabetes or high blood pressure. It can strike anyone at any time. High blood pressure doesn’t go away if you just “wish” for that.
    My friends told me that I shouldn’t go to the psychiatrist (just because mental illness is still a taboo!). But only I knew that I couldn’t function any more. I wanted to hide away from the life problems. But that was not the solution. Now, I have been taking the pill for almost 7 years. One anti-depressant pill works wonders. Been to therapy also. I share my experience with other people so I can spread the word, one person at a time. People should understand that mental health is as important as physical health. For me, mental health is more important because if my mind and soul are at peace, only then I will be able to take interest in my physical health.
    You will be in my prayers. Please keep posting and sharing. And remember that you are NOT alone!!!

  69. Dear Orange Rhino,
    I was sad to read that you’ve been feeling so sad and hopeless, but I admire your courage to be transparent and share your reality SO much. You may not realize what a hero and what an inspiration you are to us, your devoted readers, with your perseverance and your patience with your kids, but you ARE. I admire you, and I’ve never even met you! I just ordered some Orange Rhino bracelets and things from you, and they arrived on Saturday. I will be sure to think of you and say a prayer for you each time I wear my bracelet. We are here for you, Orange Rhino; we are all here for you. 🙂

  70. How we struggle with being strong. You are strong. To have come to realise that you have depression is strong. To go on the anti-depression meds is being strong. There is no way to “get happy”. Chemicals have stopped being produced so you can’t do anything about it. There comes a point where additional help is needed. But to be honest is being strong. And to be a Mum, wife, friend is being strong. wishing you all the best. xx

  71. Wow nail on the head is right. I’m right where u are except I’ve been on anti depressants for a awhile now. You are very courageous.
    I’ve tried food and drinking as well you are correct it doesn’t work.
    Thank you for being you for making me feel I am not alone, not pathetic And not a bad person.

  72. Good for you….for doing something to help yourself. Depression, any kind, any form, just sucks. Congratulations on taking a step on the path to the sunshine again.

  73. No one questions a person with diabetes who needs to take medicine, why do we do that with depression, or anxiety? Something in our body chemistry has altered due to life, lifestyle, events, genetics… The less we feel shame about getting ourselves healthy again, the more we reduce the stigma of mental illness. Stigma is the single biggest barrier to treatment. If you wouldn’t stigmatize a cardiac patient, or a cancer patient… Why stigmatize a person with depression?

    I am thankful for your bravery and wish you peace and healing.

  74. Oh boy. Do I get it. Sadly, I’ve always struggled with depression, but this last year has been utterly horrific. Having 3 kids under the age of 5 was too much for me. I’ve tried many many antidepressants, but my body never accepts them. I went to so many doctors and all they told me was that I was clinically depressed and if I didn’t try more anti depressants then there was no help for me. I thought about suicide, dreamed about having relief, and finally just felt stuck in the inevitable. There are days I could ONLY function. The funk was so heavy on my head that it was a physical fog/weight.

    Then I was forced to see a doctor in Lubbock. Lo and Behold I found out that I’ve been in fight or flight mode my whole life, have a form of PTSD, a leaking gut, and no progesterone, seratonin, or melatonin being made in my body. I’ve pulled on cortisol for 33 years that my adrenals are failing and I’ve fried my body of any GOOD hormone that could help me.

    I wept like a baby when he told me he was surprised I was still alive.

    I wasn’t failing. I simply wasn’t creating anything to HELP me be happy, peaceful, less anxious, or the mom I desperately wanted to be. (Progesterone, Seratonin, and Melatonin are the calming hormones we create to help us relax and be happy.)

    Oh, and Get this – a few of the symptoms of being low on progesterone mean that you have a hard time getting pregnant and if you DO get pregnant then you have a hard time going full term. My first baby was a miracle. Total happy shock, but he was a preemie. I had to go on bedrest with my 2nd and 3rd to prevent that.

    Yet, no one else could tell me ‘why’.

    I babble… but I had to respond to tell you that your not alone. I get it. Depression sucks. It’s horrible. Debilitating, Blinding. It lies. It destroys.

    I’m proud of you for seeking help and for being transparent.

  75. Thank you for sticking up for us! No one can truly understand depression until they have lived it! I used to be one of those people that thought you could just “get over it” but boy was I wrong! I’ve been struggling off and on for 7 years, but the last few weeks I have felt out of control like I’m not me anymore and my life has taken a dive. In reality I have so many things to be happy about, but I’m just not. Thanks for speaking out! We shouldn’t be ashamed! You’re such an inspiration!

  76. Hi Sweety, just a huge hug from the Great White North. I’ve had my super lows too. I understand completely. My path has taken me to places that I wish I didn’t have to go through. Funny, I too hurt my foot this year and it’s not healing properly and there’s nothing to be done. I understand chronic pain – EDS and arthritis. We out here in your extended family love you very much and will not judge your journey. Just as you are compassionate and loving to us.
    And don’t feel badly taking time off the Orange Rhino, we are all here to support one another as well. Maybe it’s time for a forum tab and a couple of moderators from your posse here. That might take some pressure off too.
    I’ve been reading through some stuff like the book link below. I find my biggest struggle is just forgiving myself for what I perceive to be failings or weakness. I’m working on getting the “I’m a terrible mom” tape out of my head. Some days I’m very tired and I just can’t deliver. But when my 7 year old girl gives me a hug, gets me some water and tucks me in and finds her favorite show for us to all watch together….I just know I must be doing something right. The world is love. Even when we are really low. And love is what we need to accept from one another too.

  77. Your blog has completely changed the way that I approach my children. You are an inspiration that has changed one family forever. You are the person I turn to when it is so tough and there is nobody there in the middle of the afternoon to help. Even though you feel like you are falling apart your words of wisdom are pillars of strength for me. As you begin to deal with your depression I hope that you can find someone that inspires you and gives you hope the way that you have for our family.

  78. I want you to know that you are not alone with your struggle. Many of us suffer from this debilitating ailment. And I say debilitating, because that’s what it does for some is mentally, some emotionally, some physically. And for some like me it’s all three. I invite you to look at my blog where I share some of my battles with depression, and share the things that have helped me. Always remember that you are strong and brave to have not only admitted to yourself that you needed help, but also for looking for and accepting that help. sending you hugs and lots of orange good vibes.
    Silvie 🙂

    Sending you h

  79. Big love to you. I’m am currently just on the other side of a big struggle with depression which came after my second girl was born. I struggled in a way I never knew you could (and I think I’ve been borderline depressed for a long time) until I went through this time in my life. I have a whole new appreciation for why it is so hard to get help, and why so many people struggle on alone without saying anything. I couldn’t even admit it to myself for a LONG time, until things were very, very dark. So good on you. You’ve done the hardest part, and gotten help. The rest will not be easy, but you are on the road to recovery. You will get better. Thank you again for sharing yourself with us. Take care of yourself. xx

  80. Thank you so much for posting this. It takes a lot of courage to be able to tell people truly what’s going on in your life. I have the same problem. I have been dealing with depression since my teens but have never really dealt with it. I realize now its getting worse and affecting everything in my daily life. The hardest part for me too is to admit that I need help and I’m also afraid of what others will think of me. I know I need meds and maybe a psychiatrist but I don’t have the money to go see a doctor yet. Thank you for sharing, it helps me realize I’m not the only one going through this and I’m not crazy or wrong for feeling this way

  81. Thank you, thank you for sharing. I have been depressed for years. I’ve been through a year on meds and in therapy and then two more years off meds but still in therapy… and yet the struggle goes on. I thought I was really on the road this summer, but in the past 2-3 weeks I’ve felt it slipping away again. It is, as you say, a “hole” that is easy to fall into and hard to get out of. At least we’re all down here together, in good company! 🙂 Peace and love to you!

  82. I am sorry to hear that your going through depression and glad that you are seeking help for it. I have suffered with periods of depression; but it’s mainly a side effect of being ADHD and having low self-esteem. To some people, taking medication is a “cop out” or an easy fix.. Well until they walk in your shoes or suffer a episode that makes you want to hide under the covers and just loading the dishwasher is a major accomplishment…then let them try to fix themselves. Take care of yourself first and focus on getting to state of being able to cope with daily life. Take care of yourself, so then you will be strong enough to take care of your family. I will be praying for you and myself. You have inspired me with the Orange Rhino project and I struggle daily to scream less and love my kids more..hugs from TExas..

  83. I have fought depression most of my life…I have been on anti-depressants (aka “happy pills”) for a LONG time…they don’t make me numb or ‘stupid’, heck, I can’t even tell I’m medicated…until I forget to take them for a few days…then it’s obvious…to EVERYONE who knows me–most who don’t know about my depression consider me happy-go-lucky
    Depression isn’t about being sad….depression isn’t about just letting yourself be happy either…depression is a part do WHO I AM and I learned a long time ago to accept it, just as I accept my reddish hair and hazel eyes…
    NEVER BE ASHAMED OF WHO YOU ARE, accept, grow, learn and share…you may just be surprised at how therapeutic you can be for yourself

  84. You are wonderful and I wear my orange rhino bracelet not just to remind myself not to yell at my kids but also as a reminder that we are never alone in this. Be proud of yourself for trying to get back to your true self.

  85. Big hugs to you! My daughter had seizures until she was 6. After each terrifying one…(2 lasting up to 45 minutes)… I suffered from undiagnosed PTSD. Each one felt like she was dying and I was so helpless to help her. It did bring on depression. Over the span of 11 years, my mother died, I discovered my infertility, I became a mother through adoption… twice!….my father died….my daughter began having seizures….A large tumour was discovered in my uterus…and my son was diagnosed with ADHD…. LIFE is a struggle. Our constant barrage with media feeding us this impossible imagery of “happiness” and “perfection” coupled with the fact that we don’t have the community or familial support system of long ago… makes being a mother extremely lonely and difficult. I feel you Orange Rhino. I applaud you. I thank you for sharing this important message. This too, shall pass… In the meantime: Breath, love, take in the beauty of nature, cancel your cable, and know you are not alone.

  86. This brought tears to my eyes. I have 2 very happy kids and often feel guilty because I’m no where near as happy as they are. I’ve been dealing with depression for years and have been on and off meds. You do not know how much I appreciate you sharing your story. You are more courageous than you give yourself credit for. I often remind myself that I cannot be the mom my kids deserve if I do not take care of myself first. I believe we r often harder on ourselves and think we can do this family thing without any kind of help. I think anybody can do the physical part but add in the emotional toll it takes to raise children and we become super moms. Good luck God Bless and big hugs to you.

  87. My husband was diagnosed with depression several years ago. We were headed for divorce until he got help. And then like many who “feel better with medication”, he took himself off his meds. That rocked us even deeper for a second time. It was terrifying for all of us. I am happy to say that now he is back in therapy, on his meds, and goes to a support group for people with Mood Disorders. I don’t want to say we are “proud” but we are not ashamed or embarrassed. It is a disease that is as legitimate as any other.
    Congratulations for recognizing that you needed help and asking for it. Keep going. Ask for help when you need it. Practice kindness with yourself and Laugh as much as you breathe!!

    • So glad to know I’m not the only one w/ a husband who struggled to admit they need help. I have been through a similar thing. It’s hard sharing a home w/ someone who, in my husband’s case at least, could fly off the handle in mid-sentence & you never knew it was coming (no, he never hit me or our child or I’d have left no matter what). He takes meds for his dysthymia & anxiety now & they have done wonders, but it was a very long & miserable road to get him to that point. He still hates to talk about it, but he got help & that’s a huge step.

  88. Oh, love to you. So much love.

    Many people close to me have been depressed, and I know it might seem from where you’re standing that other people don’t like you, don’t want to be around you, or judge you. But it’s only the sickness that makes it impossible for you to see so many people standing on the sidelines cheering you on. Knowing you’ll pull through this. That there is a time, not far in the future, when you won’t be sad.

    And oh, you fighter you, know that I wouldn’t judge you for being depressed more than I’d judge you for having the flu. And I wouldn’t judge you for taking an antidepressant more than I’d judge you for taking a tylenol when you had the flu. Chin up. You’ll push through this. Thanks for being brave enough to share and help end the stigma.

    • YES to what Shelia says!!! I know you felt scared and embarrassed and afraid up to this point, but I hope that all these responses of love and acceptance will forever change your view on depression and medicine. You are an inspiration in so many ways, and I hope that things keep looking up for you and that every day brings a little something to smile about.

  89. I have been through a few bouts of depression myself–feeling like I can’t do what I need to do and like nothing I do is good enough. Admitting that I needed help and getting started with a therapist was in some ways more therapeutic than the actual therapy. It’s ok to need help. It’s ok to set limits. And it’s important to do things that make you, you. You’ll pull through, especially now that you are getting help.

  90. Thank you for sharing your story. I have struggled with postpartum depression after both kids, the first time undiagnosed. And I was in the mental health field!! It’s so important to share this with others and honestly if it weren’t for others sharing with me I’m not sure if I would have had the courage to advocate for myself with my unsupportive doctor. You’ve just done something huge!

  91. Thank you for your brave words! It can’t be easy to share things so personal. You really are an inspiration to so many people and I hope you find all of the happiness you deserve! I wanted to let you know there are many others who share their struggles and what helps them with depression on

  92. I can’t believe you posted this today. I just finally got brave enough to go to my doctor and she prescribed anti depressants for me. I’m still trying to let go of the irrational guilt for not being able to handle it all on my own, but I already feel hopeful that things will get better soon. Thanks so much for sharing.

  93. You are a true inspiration to all of us moms! Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us and helping us to be better moms. Your children are very lucky to have such a wonderful mom! Hugs and lots of uplifting prayers coming your way!

  94. Big hugs your way! I am so glad you shared this. I have a feeling you will hear from many, many people struggling with depression too (like me!). I hope we can all reach a point of believing there is nothing wrong with needing a little help (whether it be therapy, a prescription, whatever), and we don’t need to “just cheer up”. : )

  95. It’s funny (not really funny) and ironic that I read this in my own voice and tone. As if someone was asking me to write this entire piece. So your purpose was effective. I keep putting off going I the gym, the chiropractor, the doc, a therapist, a couples counselor… I just think id rather commit the time to my kids , my grad work, my job… Funny thing I end up not using that time for any if those things.
    Perhaps your words will inspire me to do so. Lord knows we are not alone but we need a village to drag us there

  96. Hugs and kisses mama. BIG hugs and kisses. I took anti anxiety / depression medicine for post partum – best damn thing I did for myself. Best damn thing I did for my family. But it had to be for ME first. Eff what everyone else thinks, you need to do what’s best for you. You go girl, you’ve got this. And we’ve got your back. xo

  97. Thank you for sharing your heart and your struggle. I’ve been there! I dealt with postpartum depression/OCD and bouts of straight up depression off and on for 6 years. I also blog and wrote about my struggles as well. It is so scary but so freeing at the same time to have people know the truth. Big *HUGS* you are not weak Momma…just human.

  98. OH girl, I am so glad you overcame your fears to post this because so many people struggle and wait far too long to ask for help and feel so guilty for needing it. We all need help. We all need each other. We all struggle even if our struggles look different. Like you said, there is no shame in needing help. I know how that geels though because I felt the same way you did when I started my anxiety medication. But now I’m thankful I did and have made it through some hard times much stronger than I would have without it, at least I think so. My tiny three-year-old proncrss was diagnosed with Crohns disease and has been suffering through stomach cramps and sickness, and test after test after test. She’s on life long meds already at her young age. That stress, fear and sadness has been rough to deal with and some days I feel depressed too. Just know you are not alone and my thoughts and prayers are with you. You are stronger for getting help, not weaker! 🙂

      • Becca, if you’re willing to look into another route, check out a maximized living chiropractor. I suffered with intestinal issues for a year and had test after test with no luck. It was a chiropractor who was able to get me back inline and I haven’t suffered with those issues in over 2 years now! Best of luck with your little girl!

    • Dear Becca…
      Is your daughter on a gluten/dairy free diet? (Im sure you have tried everything…but I felt compelled to ask.) This solved everything for my son. I realize this may not be a solution for your daughter… but wanted to share just in case.

    • Becca – my 10 y.o. has crohns – diagnosed at 8 – currently in her 2nd year of treatment – if you need to talk about crohns or treatment feel free to reach out.

  99. Oh! This post really hit home. You are not alone, we are not alone. I’m new to the Orange Rhino community, but I wanted to give you the biggest hug for posting this. I completely understand how difficult this had to be to write and to post, but I thank you for sharing!

  100. You are not alone and are very brave for posting. You help more people than you know. Take care of you so that you can be the best mommy possible. No shame in that.

  101. Thank you so much for this post. I have struggled with depression for years. It is so hard to explain to someone that has never been depressed. My husband is very understanding but just doesn’t know why when everything is so good in my life that I am depressed. I can’t even put it into words but you seem to have been in my head and wrote down exactly how I feel most days. The past 6 months have been really bad for me. I struggle most days to just get through the day. It is comforting to know I am not alone.

    You are an inspiration. I will be sure to share this post. Thank you again!

  102. Orange rhino you can do this!! I feel your hurt. I have lived with depression my whole life to the point where I didn’t even realize I didn’t feel right. My struggle is daily but with the help of my little white pills I make it to the next day. It took me a really long time to ask for help but I’m learning, it really is ok to ask for help. I’m glad you have done this. It doesn’t just “go away” like some who have never felt this pain might think, but it does ease. You are strong!!! Take the love and the support from those offering it. You are never alone!!

  103. You are so incredibly brave. Thank you for being so open and honest. I admire you seeking help. I have been there and it is such a hard step to take. Your site has inspired me in a lot of ways and more so after reading this post. I hope you find peace soon.

  104. Awww my dear you are most certainly not alone. And of course you are going to have the people that judge, or say mean things. But the truth is no one has walked in your shoes except you. Or have gone through the challenges that you have, with your children and marriage. Don’t let those people make you feel ashamed for posting what you really feel. You are so brave and encouraging for so many readers. You help other mothers and families more than you probably realize. You recognized you had a problem and asked for help, you did the right thing. And Im grateful that you have opened up and shared this with us, you are an inspiration. Thank you for being you!!

  105. Congrats to you on facing some of your fears…you are brave, strong, and wonderful! I watch my husband struggle with his anxiety and depression, I’ve seen how tough it can be. Needing some help from a little pill is no worse than needing the help of a friend to move a couch. I wish you the best!

  106. Oh, goodness, do I ever sympathize. Depression is a dark and lonely place to be. I’m so very glad that you have decided to be open and honest with people. Such good things happen when we’re able to be human like that. Not only does it open you up to receive the love and support you need, but it also reassures other people that they are not alone.

    Becoming more open about my own anxiety and depression, accepting that it was time for medication, and no longer buying into the belief I was brought up with that these struggles of mine make me defective as a person all helped to transform my life. I’m still a person who struggles, but I no longer have to do it alone, filled with shame. And I’m a better me and a better mother for it. (Plus, my kids will learn how to cope with this kind of thing – at least one of my boys has inherited my tendencies toward anxiety/depression – and they will not grow up thinking that there’s something shameful about it.)

    Many, many hugs for you. I hope that you can see a clear road to healing.

  107. Thanks for sharing. I’m sending big orange good vibes your way. Your blog has been such a huge inspiration to me and I have so much appreciation for your wide open honesty. This blog has made a huge difference in my life. Thank you.

  108. You are not alone, but you know that already. Those who judge, well, I have so much to say about judgemental buttheads but it isn’t worth my breath. I didn’t realize I was depressed, like you, I just repeated to myself that I was as in a rough patch and I’d pull through. My dr put me on cymbalta because of its pain relieving qualities (I battle fibromyalgia and frequent bi-weekly migraines). I became a new person within a month. My problems are all still there, but they just seem easier to handle. Chemical imbalances wreak havoc on a person, in more ways than just emotional. Aches and pains, lethargy. Those who think you can choose to not have chemical imbalances are just idiots, pure and simple. Super proud of you! Hold your head high, there is nothing wrong with you!

  109. I want to reach through the computer screen and give you the biggest hug ever and it don’t even know you. It takes bravery to admit depression to yourself and others. I commend you for sharing and want to say- you are definitely not alone. I too have struggled with depression on and off for years; all of it being situational. Just know that you *will* get through it and now that you’ve taken those steps in recognizing it, sharing it and knowing much of what you need to do next, you will do great… Slowly but surely you will feel back to yourself. Know that many people are cheering you on and we all go through it at some point; I’m convinced. It takes a strong person to admit it and you are that person. Big hugs!

    • I too, like one of the other of your “websight extended family” want to reach out through the ether and hug you. I know that asking someone else for help is one of the bravest and courageous things you can do…but it is also respectful of yourself, of your needs (which have often been pushed aside to accomodate others we felt more deserving). Like you, I origionally had misgivings with taking anti depressants, but, just for today, my life is improved, nay liveable, by my taking them. When and if my situation improves, I can re-assess…I fought giving in to taking them for nine months, and it was only at my doctor and my councelors urging that I finally tried them…oh what a difference! You go girl. Try them out and find out what best works for you…above all, never, ever, ever be ashamed!!!!!!!!!!! There are a lot of us out here that will support you, and if you find anyone who does not…than that is their problem, not yours. With love. 🙂

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