Toddlers have an honest way of pointing out stuff. My two-year-old daughter is no exception. Over the last year while her language skills have developed leaps and bounds, she’s observed and commented on some important differences between mommy and daddy.
“Mommy boobs!” cracked me up. “Daddy face rough. Ouchy!” was funny too. But when Chloe sympathetically patted me on the shoulder with her tiny hand and said, “Daddy plays. Mommy cries. It’s OK, mommy. Feel better mommy.” I knew it was time to face the facts — my depression was back.
After 17 years of lightness and freedom from The Sads, that heavy feeling from 1997 was weighing me down again. Back then my depression was situational — dealing with the emotional bruises from an abusive relationship ain’t easy. I learned a lot about my strength back then.
Today my depression is a lot different, which is probably why it took me over a year to see the shadow creeping. And creep it did. The pressures of parenting, relationships, careers, and hitting midlife all kind of collided at once and left me wondering why normal change had become a crippling constant.
Everyday activities became impossible. Getting out of bed to shower was exhausting. Brushing my teeth required me to squeeze toothpaste onto that thing called a toothbrush — forget it. Making dinner meant I needed groceries, and leaving the house in the pyjamas I’d lived in for the last three weeks seemed uncouth. I hated being uncouth. So I berated myself for my uncouthness.
Sitting on the floor curled up beside the sofa for nearly eight hours was some serious physical punishment I couldn’t feel from the loudness of the negative self-talk paralyzing my brain. I tried to get off the floor to unload the dishwasher that day, but the idea of standing up, walking five steps into the kitchen, and opening the door latch seemed a mountain too high to climb. Depression mocked my mountain of dishes, so I added this failing to my uncouth list. These adventures in depression are pretty common, and commonly unpretty.
It’s true, the inner voice track of depression is a bit of a bitch. It likes to remind the host of their perceived failures, flaws, and imperfections. Repeat. Now repeat again. The truth is depression lies. A depressed person’s perception isn’t always reality and reality isn’t always a mountain. Also, my reality was I really needed a shower. Getting off the floor to remove my depression armour — my PJs of unimaginable uncouthness — took hours.
Standing naked in the shower and not feeling the warm water wash away the caked streaks of salty tears from my face felt like something. It felt like I needed help.
I had fallen deep into The Pit and I was immobilized in the darkness by The Sads. Alone. I’d add clumsy to my list of failings but I didn’t see the hole in the ground when I tripped. Stupid depression. Stupid me for falling. Stupid aloneness.
“Daddy plays. Mommy cries.” were the words that haunted me in my dark chasm. My little girl wanted to dance and jump and play with me. My husband wanted to see me smile. My friends wanted me back — they missed my caring, they missed my humour. Anyone who’s been in my orbit for longer than a minute knows I love to laugh. I’m generally an upbeat and positive person, always ready for a fun challenge. The uncouth floor-sitting sloth who couldn’t rise up to the height of her sofa used to be an Ironman triathlon athlete, an All Star soccer player, and a competitive swimmer who despite being a fish out of water, became a capable cyclist known for racing up mountains across British Columbia. Depression changed that. I desperately wanted to be me again. I also wanted to write.
The mental fog of depression did a wicked job of killing my writing voice. Not being able to open my laptop or compose a simple sentence was incredibly frustrating and painful. After doing time in The Pit with zero outlets, it’s no surprise I had run out of power. I needed to recharge. OK, I needed a brand new battery.
So I looked up from the bottom of The Pit, I told The Sads to suck it, and I raised my hand up. I reached high. I asked for help.
Thinking you’re alone and actually being alone are two very different things. My friends proved this to me. They rallied quickly and lifted my raised hand. My husband’s strength and unwavering belief in me got me to a place where help was possible.
That was then, today is now. I’m feeling better, almost Squawky again, but this sort of thing takes time. My anxiety is gone, the fog is lifting, and my depression is easing. Regular doctor’s visits and a tiny pill I call The Meds are helping to close The Pit and brighten The Sads. I’ve never been one for mental medication, but I’ve never denied treatment for any physical ailment that pained me. There’s no award for suffering. I’ve had enough.
If you’ve emailed, tweeted, or facebooked me looking for a reply, this is why I haven’t responded. I haven’t written a fun post in months, mostly because depression fails on the Fun’O’Meter and I’ve never been good with inauthenticity. I’ve transcribed interviews with amazing authors and I haven’t been able to review their books. I’ve written partial posts only to abandon the story due to crippling self-doubt and anxiety. I’ve tried so hard, but I’m sorry — I had to disappear to get better.
If you’re reading this post from the bottom of your own Pit and can’t remember the last time you’ve smiled, please know you’re not alone. Please do yourself a solid and raise your hand up. Reach high. Ask the people in your orbit for help. Help is available, you just need to be brave enough to ask.
I’m no expert on brain chemistry, pits, sads, or uncouthness, so I’ll list a few depression resources below. I’m also sharing several personal stories written by prominent bloggers. I’m not sure why so many bloggers have experienced depression, but I suspect the illness transcends career paths, and bloggers are just a lot more comfortable with the personal.
Now excuse me while I leave the internet for a bit to enjoy the sunshine outside. There’s a beaming two-year-old girl wishing to hold my hand and jump and play at the park. I think we’ll start our little adventure on the swings, just so we can fly high into the bright blue sky.
- Allie Brosh, Hyperbole and a Half | Adventures in Depression, and Meet candid cartoonist Allie Brosh – an unlikely poster girl for depression.
- Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess | Strange and beautiful.
- Wil Wheaton, WIL WHEATON dot NET | Depression Lies.
- Heather B. Armstrong, Dooce | Because I couldn’t say it on the phone, and If this isn’t for you, it’s for someone you know.
- Rob Delaney, Rob Delaney | On Depression & Getting Help.
- Canadians: Canadian Mental Health Association
- Americans: National Alliance on Mental Health
Enjoy the moment with your daughter, hug your husband and kisses too.
Life is for today and you have already done yesterday.
Been there in 2008 and have no idea why.I did survive and I know everyday I have to remind myself that day could happen again.
This is my favorite post you’ve ever written Kerry (which is saying something because you’re one of the few blogs I read regularly). It’s perhaps the best articulation of what depression is that I’ve ever read.
Kudos to you for having the inner strength to put this struggle out in the open. Many others will benefit from it. Like you say, if someone who is tough enough to complete an Ironman (Ironwoman?) triathlon can be taken down, then it truly can happen to anyone.
Best wishes in your recovery. Your writing, strength, and courage are humbling.
Thank you for sharing this with us Kerry. I’ll pray for you and your family. God bless,
Hi Kerry. Thank you so much for putting into words what I have been unable to. Many people seem to think that we can just ‘snap out of it’ or ‘get our stuff together,’ but in reality, that is about as far from the truth as North is from South. Enjoy the moments that you can with Chloe and your hubby and thank you so much for an absolutely incredible blog.
Thanks for sharing – praying for you…
Mental health is not usually visible, and loved ones sometimes don’t realize what is going on, thank you Kerry, I know it is not easy to write these kind of articles, but it will help.
Thank you for sharing.
Sounds like you are putting all the pieces in place to deal with the situation.
Wishing your family and you all the best.
**Take gentle care of yourself.**
My heart goes out to you. We have had too much experience with depression and other mental health issues in our family. My little pill is blue and makes the world of difference. there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Get better. And know that your fans can’t wait for you to laugh again so we can laugh with you.
Thank you thank you for the simple yet profound articulation! I suddenly understand the difference between my sads which do not overpower me and other’s SADS that are so much deeper. You have given us a whole new world of empathy and ability to watch for that raised hand. I will continue in prayer for you as prompted.
Kerry, thank you for writing this. Incredibly brave and more genuine than ever. You just took your work to a new level! You’ve got a fan for life in me.
Kerry,thanks so much for your share and your honesty. I have also been struggling with depression and anxiety for years now. I have become a bit of a recluse with my only social contacts my husband, German Shepard, I visit my father who has Alzheimer and my 4 year old nephew who is the love of my life. My greatest stress now is will I ever get a job again (as going back to a place where I was bullied is not going to happen). Again, thanks for talking about this – there are so many levels and triggers of Mental Illness. These days we hear a lot of our beautiful teenagers being bullied, but it’s not often that you hear about workplace bullying and the damages that that causes to the recipient and the family.
Thank you for sharing this and getting help–we’ve missed you!
You are a brave and strong woman to admit you cannot face this dragon on your own. May you continue to recover with the help that you gratefully receive. My prayers are with you.
I have wondered where you were and now I know. Welcome back.
I have been fortunate to be able to design and teach a course on Positive Psychology. This grew out of a deep interest and a deeper need to come back to this world. I recommend the Harvard Special Report on Positive Psychology as a great start.
Lots of love,
Kerry, this is a great article that I’m sure will help many people gain the strength to ask for help. I’ve been through 2 bouts of depression, and don’t wish it on anyone. Best wishes for a full recovery!
Kerry, what a wonderfull open letter, that came straight from the heart. Thank You for writing it. I would pray that Yeshua would guide you with the Spirit of Truth, and show you the way. It sounds like you are already taken the first steps. Trust in the Lord with all your strength. Yiour husband and you daughter will walk beside you and guide you as well.
Thanks for sharing Kerry. You have touched many of us and given us hope.
Thank you Kerry for your honesty and strength. I’ve missed your blogs and although they’ve always been cheery and fun, I’ve loved this one the best.
I have been reading your blog long enough to truly respect you for being such a genuine person. I hope that you will be able to continue to enjoy life each day forward the way you deserve to.
Best Wishes and thank-you,
Glad you’re back
Opened my mail this morning and was delighted to see the familiar always anticipated Squawkfox! As per usual, I am moved, inspired, enlightened by your insight and words.
Been there with depression and I am still partly there.
I deal with it day to day.
One thing that helped me is blogs like yours. It allowed me some time off to take some pressure off. Being financially more secure is it allows the albility to try different treatments and most of all, time to heal.
Wish you the best.
Hi Kerry, your words have described what my life was 2 years ago. It was mind numbing and crippling me from the inside. I was able to “function” in my day-to-day chores but I- the person was inside a deep pit. It takes courage to acknowledge, ask and accept help when your thoughts and emotions are not your own. You have done the hardest part. Keep up with your meds- they are the crutches that make sure I don’t lose myself again. Hug your daughter, kiss your husband walk in the sunshine…Hugs!
You ARE alone. It’s YOUR head. I called it ‘my old friend’ and actually preferred the self-indulgent feeling (as if it were a choice). Around mid-life, admitted the condition, read & talked to a few professionals. Not a lot of relief there other than a few insights, but did offer the advantages of the technological advances in brain chemistry. Temporarily very useful. Re-discovered intensive daily exercise, sleeping right, eating right, eliminated the daily barrage of heartbreak, destruction, violence & murder in ALL music & tv and fired a few negative so-called friends. Stayed busy working, playing, volunteering, met a ‘normal girl’ from Minnesota. Bit by bit and time seemed to work. Fight the beast, Kerry. Best wishes on your lonely adventure.
Boy, what a blessing you are!!! Thank you so much for your honesty! I have suffered with depression off and on over the years, going on for months at a time and feeling so out of touch with the world around me. I share your pain. At this time, life is treating me well, and have access to help when the time arises that I need it. Know you are prayed for. Perhaps we will meet in the park one day. Blessings to you and your beautiful family. It is indeed one of the best articles you have written as I KNOW this will touch many lives.
My thoughts and prayers are with you, glad you are enjoying the sunshine.
Thank you. Grateful & thankful for your honesty. You will never walk alone.
Thank you for sharing. I call mine “My Dark Shadow”. After years of dealing with this, I think we all get to a point where we believe we can manage it (ooh, it’s creeping up, I better do -insert self care here-), but sometimes it gets sneaky, learns new tricks for us not to notice it’s approach. Sometimes, we just think we are strong enough to fight it because we are “too busy to deal with this now”, and before we know it we have a mountain on our shoulders instead of a few pebbles in our pockets to get rid of. Keep fighting the good fight!!
Kudos to you for writing about this. Fortunately, mental health issues are not as taboo as they used to be. Society and the media are beginning to recognize that this is a HUGE issue for our population.
Insurers are actively promoting mental health awareness for employers as the impact on work absences is massive.
the best thing we can keep doing is talking about it. It’s no different than a physical injury.
Allie Brosh’s (Hyperbole and a Half) blog is amazing- I note you referenced it above.
Welcome to the path back!!!
You do a great job and a great service in your blog. I hope all these comments help you to recognize the quality and positive impact of your work.
And, spend more time in the sunshine (or rain showers) with your kid and your partner…. ultimately that’s more important.
Mental Illnesses are sneaky things – one can look just fine on the outside, but inside – look out! I suffer from bi-polar disorder and was finally diagnosed just after my 50th birthday 16 years ago. I have been on what I call a mood stabilizer since then and also a mild dose of anti-depressant to keep me happier when there is no sun in this part of the world. I have to say being on an “even keel” is so much better than careening out of control on an emotional rollercoaster. Now I realize that bi-polar is a bit different that depression, but no matter what one has, it needs to be addressed so we can become the happy, useful people we are capable of. Bless you for sharing; enjoy each day and I know you are a strong, beautiful, capable woman (even though we have never met) and this will just make you stronger in the long run.
Sweetness, go get some massages & feel better!!! Surround yourself w/upbeat music (“I FEEL GOOD!”),let light into the house & there’s nothing wrong w/getting a prescribed fix. We really hope you feel better. I have a close friend who is depressed & I force him out of the house (if he’ll listen) & make him walk & talk w/me.
Glad to hear you are seeing some light. Depression is a horrible thing. I would rather suffer a physical sickness than brain sickness any day.
Few people want to talk about it, thank you for doing so. Even my doctor didn’t take me seriously.
My roller coaster ride ended almost instantly 10 years ago when my parents were in a bad accident. Suddenly I could do something worthwhile, even if it wasn’t much more than just being there for them.
I love your Blog and I am thankful that you are on a path to wellness. I will be journeying with you. Take good care!
Thank you! This post reflects my own experience with depression and anxiety. The truth is, being a career-oriented person who works for pay outside the home does not always mix well with being a mom. It’s a tough path we have chosen, but we can make it work! My first step was letting go of all of the “should do” “should be” and “should have”. Aww… Shoulda woulda coulda. For me it helped to strictly carve out blocks of time for each responsibility. When the anxiety creeps in I tell myself “there is nowhere else I am supposed to be” “there is nothing else I should be doing besides what I am doing right now.”
Best wishes to you and your family!
Thank you Kerry for this post. I rarely leave a comment online, but would like to on this one.
Like some of your readers, you are one of the only blogs I follow. You’re funny, witty, honest, and a freakin’ good writer! It always cheers me up when I get a Squawkfoxy update in my inbox. Actually, just last week, I was thinking that it’s been a while since such an update came into my inbox. I now understand why. I’m sorry that you’ve got the Sads. I too have had it a few years ago. I’m glad that you’ve shared your story and sought help. Best of all, it’s amazing how much wisdom comes from the little human in your life.
All the best, Kerry!
Thank you for sharing. I take my Crazy pill once a day to keep me balanced. I know exactly what you are talking about and wish more people were as honest as you are in the public eye. Mental health is just that, health. We need to stop the stigma and help everyone out of the pits towards brighter days.
So happy you saw your need to get help and did so. I will save this to share with others. Keep working on it. We are glad you are getting better. Best wishes on better days ahead.
Good for you! Wonderfully written and heartbreakingly accurate.
Kerry, thank you for sharing this. It’s been my life for a long time. I have no friends; if it wasn’t for Facebook I’d have no acquaintances either. I read about all kinds of things going on in my city, but I can’t get motivated to do any of it. My only support is my husband who travels for work a lot and worries about me. I am alone in my aloneness and it’s only my dog who keeps me going.
Good for you for making that reach. I’ve never been in those shoes you wore so I cannot relate. However, I can attest to the awesomely sweet perception of a two-year-old. Mine once told me to eat a biscuit and some KFC to help my tummy feel better. However, my tummy problems were the beginnings of labor, but she didn’t know that. :o)
the road to courage only comes by being real and vulnerable. Courage Kerry for your bravery, your courage, your realness. you never know the ripple effect of you taking the step to say … out loud. and feel the support that will rush back your way.
Another wise Canadian man, Shane Koyczan, the spoken word. Hold on:
Kerry my heart goes out to you,I have suffered with depression for years when I finally realized a mental illness is the same as a physical illness I have been on meds since 1997 what a God send my life has been normal except for a few times when I have a downer for a few weeks.It helps when you share so you can have the support of other people( your web friends.
I love your posts and have missed them,welcome back.
Blessings to you and your family as depression is a family illness
We get depressed with our aching bones, weak knees, aortic stenosis, atria fib, reflux, poor hearing,but my husband and I are 75 and 82 repectively. The cold weather is too cold, the hot weather is too hot. Hubby hates his C pap and we are often awake at night. It is difficult not to become depressed. Which of us will go first and what will happen to the other. In the mean time, we keep each other company and try to help each other. Our family doesn’t know that we are so tired as we perk up when they drop in.Kerry enjoy your young life. We wish you the best.
So glad to know that you’re doing better. And just know that it does get better.
I salute you brother, sister!
Excellent blog and references.
Some of the funniest (most sarcastic) people deal with deep depression.
This time WILL pass.
Welcome back Kerry! I’ve been there too, more than once. It can be a long journey back. Thank you for writing about it.
Wow, thanks so much for sharing your story. I am glad to see you are on the upswing. I had actually wondered where you were lately and had missed your posts. Wishing you happiness and endless laughing ahead for you.
May I just say, you’re AWESOME! Big lump in my throat here and so praying for you and your family. Welcome back from the dark side, and man is it dark there. There might only be a 25 watt bulb to start with but it grows brighter consistently. There may be the odd power outage but inevitably the power returns. Upside, no rate increase for this just more light.
Good luck kicking The Sads out the door! I’m sorry you’ve been suffering like this. I’ve seen this crap destroy my friend’s marriage. I’m so glad you’re getting help. Take good care of yourself!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart Kerry, for describing your suffering so beautifully. I have been on that journey. It’s hard for family to understand what is happening, so I struggled uphill by myself for the most part, and found that writing down my feelings, and struggles helped me a lot. You are very courageous putting it into words and I wish you all the very best as you continue your journey.
I’m so sorry you’ve experienced this but am so glad you found the strength to get help. I’ve never been quite where you are but I’ve been close enough and it shocked and scared me and I never want to return there. Remember to keep asking for help!
Love your posts and your unique voice!
Have fun with your daughter, husband and friends! And your writing as and when the time comes.
I am so happy you are back. I have been following you for years and missed you when you weren’t here. You were in my thoughts. Enjoy your little girl and your husband and hope you are feeling much better soon. I am sending wonderful warm thoughts your way.
Thanks for being so honest. The more people talk about it the more people will talk about it and take the stigma off of depression. One day depression will be as accepted as a broken bone.
I admire your bravery.
You have written what many other people can only feel. You have worked hard to liberate yourself but in writing this you have helped liberate others. You are a courageous woman. When you refer to your friends you mean your intimate group of friends but it is clear you have friends and supporters from far and wide. You can count me among them
May you be blessed for sharing your experiences with depression.
This helps everyone to realize/release the stigma associated with mental illness.
The more that the general public can hear about depression and how it affects any one of us is the first step to a greater understanding and empathy of the disease, as well as the recognition for the need of early intervention and treatment.
Thank you for sharing. I hope you will feel better soon, however long the process seems. It might be cliche, but true, it’s darkest just before dawn. All the best.
Thanks for your story. It’s an important one to tell. Glad you’re feeling better. Your fanbase has your back.
So glad you were able to ask for help. I’m well-versed in what I call the Greek chorus of negativity in my head. It likes to remind me of all the times I embarrassed myself or even might have. Normally, I distract myself. But when it gets really bad, I just say “No!” out loud to dispel it for awhile.
I’ve been in the pit before. For a long time, actually. It turned out that I was bipolar II (harder to diagnose), so all those regular antidepressants only did so much. Once I was put on mood stabilizers, things brightened up considerably.
But I remember at one point, when my antidepressants hadn’t been adjusted in years, looking at the shower and feeling overwhelmed by the effort. And I did go out in my PJ pants because I was single and eventually things had to get done.
Realizing (and admitting) you need help is such a huge step. I’m glad the antidepressants are helping. People need to remember that it doesn’t solve your problems. It helps faulty brain chemistry. As one book I read pointed out, you wouldn’t try to cure pneumonia on yourself. So why would you try to do it for depression?
I really cannot recommend highly enough a book called Shoot the Damn Dog. It’s by a woman (a founding editor of Elle, I believe) who basically went non-functional for two or three years. It’s poignant and brutal and just amazing.
Glad you’re back…and glad your family has your back 🙂 While we can talk hereabout all sorts of topics with an awkward factor…our health; (physical or emotional or mental) should be something we should not feel we have to hide from the world. As a previous commenter said, I was already a huge fan, now am even more so for your candor and eloquence.
Thanks for sharing this, Kerry.
I can say from personal experience that supportive friends, family, a good doc, and yes, sometimes a bit of medication can make all the difference.
Keep your chin up, kid.
So glad you reached up and up and up for help. Never fear, people who love you will always be there to help you up and onward… Live for today and enjoy! Smiles, hugs, and love to you!! Welcome back… 🙂
This is so brave of you to share. I’ve been there too and when you get so depressed, you want so badly to be able to explain it to your loved ones who are so concerned. I am sure sharing your story will help so many to know they are not alone, there is help out there, and by all means ask for it. People care more than you think they do when you are in the depths of depression. Keep strong and connected with your support group.
Congratulations on reaching for help when you needed it. I have been very fortunate not to have been directly affect by depression, but many people close to me have. The ability to recognize that you’re in need is a sign of your resilience. Best wishes for a speedy and enriching recovery.
Thanks for sharing. Depression is a tough illness. It affects you and your entire family as you realized. A great deal of your recovery starts with your awareness. Good luck and if one treatment does not work pursue others with you physician. There are many ways to tame this monster. It may stay with you a long time but it does not has to defeat you. Love reading your blog! Best wishes
Beautiful post, thank you for sharing. I have been there myself (little pill and all). This is going to sound ridiculously simple but dehydration has been linked to depression and medication can further dehydrate you. So if you aren’t already drinking a minimum of half your body weight in ounces daily I would recommend that you try it. Our bodies function better on all levels when we are fully hydrated. Best of luck to you and your family 🙂
hugs to you. welcome back
Whoops I better clarify that I am suggesting you drink WATER lol. Alcohol can temporarily cure the sads but mixing with meds is a recipe for disaster (been there before too!)
As someone who has helped pull someone out of The Pits, THANK YOU!! You have described EVERYTHING that a childhood friend has been through. I have been helping her take a holistic path in her journey along with her meds. You may want to try it for yourself. I would recommend looking up a Healing Touch practitioner in your area. Studies have shown that it can help lower stress levels and help lessen the nasty side-effects of meds.
Good luck and Squawk on!!
Yes,kids do keep it real. Here is a fun story to help you smile. My husband and I were heading down the lake road to take our kids camping at Kootenay Lake. All three of our children were fighting in the van and my husband looked like he was about to blow steam out his ears and pull a 180 and head home when out of the back seat came a little voice. “Wow I feel love in this van”! We all instantly started laughing. My son had invited a friend along(another 10 yr old boy) The day was saved and so was the camping trip. Twenty years later my kids still laugh when they think about it. Happy to hear you are on the mend. You are a good mother,wife,friend etc. Keep this in mind,I tell my kids this all the time if you can’t feel sad,you won’t know when you are happy. Brave woman,live strong.
Thank you for sharing, it must not have been easy. Take care of yourself!
Wow. That was eery. It was so similar to what happens to me occasionally. I’m an upbeat, laughing extrovert. People occasionally comment what a happy person I am. And yet…sometimes what happened to you happens to me. The negative self-talk, the deep depression, secluding myself. Only I’m not sure mine is as bad as yours. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone, not that I’m happy you’re going through this. It’s good to know that it’s not so abnormal to go into a deep funk. I have ACA insurance, so the deductible is too high for me to go to a doctor (I have to pay 100% of everything!). I try to spend time with people, work on my projects, eat healthy, walk every day, and take my hormones….plus cross my fingers that I’ll snap out of it.
Thank you for sharing. My dark pit surfaced on Mother’s Day – of all days…
and I’m going to ask for a referral again, to see my “talk doctor” (as my 6 yr old calls it). You know things are bad when your kindergartener says “Cry on my shoulder mummy”….sigh. But, I struggle and and pull myself out of the pit and realize that I need to choose joy…it’s hard and the pit is just over there…out of reach but oh, so close…and then a hand reaches out and my husband cries and the sweet kiss of a child brings me back…for now.
You are such an incredibly talented writer (I wish I could hire you to write my story!).
Give yourself grace and be kind and tender to yourself. Just as you are with your toddler.
Best wishes from the west coast…
Thank you for daring to share. You’ve done an incredible thing. Bless you.
Kerry, one more thanks for sharing! Take care.
Thank you for sharing your experience; it was incredibly brave of you. I am going through postpartum depression, and your article gave me strength to reach out for more help. I would really like to enjoy my little girl too 🙂
Best wishes to you.
I’ve never really understood depression although I have poured over all the brochures and whatever material is given to you by ‘experts’. Thank you so much for writing such an authentic and concise article. I can tell that this comes straight from the heart. Depression is an emotional/mental condition. It is a common ailment but is often misunderstood. Depression also affects people in various degrees. This is what I’ve learned from your article. My thoughts for you? Celebrate ‘moments’ and not minutes. The ‘minutes’ will take care of themselves.
Good for you for reaching out and getting the help you needed to feel better! Depression is tricky…you think you’re just a little tired, or a little stressed, until you suddenly realize it’s full-blown depression trying to keep a low profile so you won’t notice and get rid of it!
Thanks for posting about this; It benefits all of us to have Depression be something that can be talked about and to de-stigmatize getting whatever help works for a person. 🙂
Hugs, Kerry. I’d wondered why you weren’t posting as often…
I’m so glad you’re getting help. There is no shame in taking meds, if that’s what you need, or in having a therapist.
And add my voice to the ones thanking you for being honest. One of the problems with mental illnesses of all types is the silence that surrounds them and the sense of blame sufferers often feel, even though it’s not their fault. Openness and honesty about what you’re going through helps those who don’t suffer from depression understand, just a little bit.
Thanks Kerry, my sister, mother and son all struggle with depression. I have lived with it and seen it in so many forms. Your article has helped me to take a deep breath and hopefully be more hopeful/helpful in supporting them. Give your husband and daughter a big hug for me, been there, done that and it’s not easy. ❤️
THANK YOU for writing this. This is honest. This is how we break stigma around depression. I manage depression every day of my life and the words you write ring so true. I just wanted to say thank you. We are a “depression family” and the more often one of us speaks out, the more opportunity we have to band together and support each other.
I’ve had mild depression before in my early years so I kind of know what you are going through, but based on your description not completely. Fortunately my parents and DNA have equipped me with an insane level of responsibility which is both a blessing and a curse. It helps me push through even when life becomes really difficult with disease, over-work, endless chores, and no free time. The down side is that this capability of enduring and pushing through often prevents me from making changes that should really be made sooner rather than later.
Fortunately, I’m about to make a change so I can have more time for the positive things in life and I hope it will have the positive impact that I envision.
Good luck with your own personal battle. I’m very glad that it sounds like you are winning it right now and defeating the lies.
I’m pleased to hear you’ve reached out. Don’t feel bad about taking meds. Depression is a chemical imbalance – trying to feel better without meds is like telling a diabetic to feel better without insulin!
How wonderful that you’re back. I’ve missed you and assumed the crazy of a toddler had taken over your life. Depression is so insidious and, by its very nature, robs you of the belief that your feelings are valid but also overwhelming and destructive and that getting help will, dare I say it, actually help!
Your skill and sincerity in describing these last few months of your life is amazing. Do take care of yourself young lady. On behalf of all your readers, I feel it’s pretty safe say, “We love you.”
Thank you for sharing this, Kerry. I’d wondered where you’d been on social media lately, but assumed you were just busy. We’ve only met a couple times, so it feels strange to say I’m “proud” of an almost-stranger, but I am – proud, that is. I’m proud of you for recognizing what was going on and for asking for help when you needed it – and, like always, for having the courage to write about what you’ve been going through. Hope the sunshine is treating you well. <3
Thank you for your courage, Kerry. I wish you well.
Everyone who is brave enough to share their struggles helps lessen the stigma and encourages others to seek help. You’re awesome, Kerry! Sending healing (virtual) hugs your way!
Continue to be that genuine and wonderful person I have come to look up to. Everyone needs time for themselves at one point or another. Let the daily small steps guide you. I will keep enjoying reading you when you’re ready. Simply know that you matter! 🙂
I am so glad to hear things are getting better. I have never been put through the ringer so much as I have as a new parent.
You’re one of my favourite people, despite the fact we’ve never met. Doesn’t matter, your personality shines in your writing and descriptions of your thinking.
My own 25 years of treatment refractory depression ended with ten dollars worth of thyroid medication and some added Vitamin D. Your description of depression is totally accurate.
Thank you for being brave. Thank you for your authenticity. Thank you for voicing your struggles and telling it like it is.
Best wishes to you and your family and friends.
SQUAWK as much as you need to…you have more support than you know
What a gift you are!
Kerry your Blog and all you readers comments are great and obviously from people who have been in “the dark place”
I hope to never go there again
A book that put words to where I was is “Out of the Blue” it helped a lot.
Good Luck to all and hope you get to the better place soon
Apparently the meds work and are cheap. It is crazy not to use them if needed, same as it is crazy to suffer through a potential life-threatening bladder infection in these days of $3 antibiotics.
This excellent article ( https://www.nsfwcorp.com/dispatch/war-again-antidepressents/ ) postulates America’s bizarre war on drugs spills over into therapists’ “Let’s try therapy for a few years before going to drugs” mentality.
Plus, of course, if everyone who needed The Meds started taking The Meds, then there’d be alot of therapists and psychiatrists having trouble making their boat payments.
Thank you for sharing this, Kerry. This was such a great, brave post. You’re not alone!
Good luck with each small step and each giant leap.
I’m sure your Dr. mentioned it and evaluated you for it, but for other readers, please be aware that Post Partum Depression and Post Adoptive Depression are out there and can strike well after a child joins a family. As Kerry did for other reasons, try to signal for help. And for partners and friends, if a person seems to drift into silence, check on them. With a severe depression, it’s only the friends/relatives who can get the person to the Dr. and to the help they need. They are too overwhelmed to do it.
My heart is with you on your courageous, challenging journey. Take care.
I read this the other day and felt compelled to comment, but unable to find appropriate words. Today I’ll try.
Given the massive changes you’ve had in the past couple of years (motherhood, moving, marriage, business, as a start) it’s hardly surprising that what used to work, doesn’t any more.
During significant changes like this you likely have to re-invent half of what you do. The stunt it figuring out which half to change, and which is the core that keeps you successful. I first heard the term “new normal” following 911, and it immediately struck a chord. There is no “back to normal”, but finding a “new normal” that works is key to moving forward.
I’ve also found, and wish I’d discovered earlier, that “managed endings + new beginnings” trump “orderly transitions” during any change.
I’m not sure if any of this helps. I am also confident that you’ll figure this all out.
[…] Kerry Taylor is the lone writer at Squawkfox – a funny, well-researched frugality blog. Kerry revealed that she’s been battling depression and bravely wrote about her recent struggles in this heart-wrenching piece. […]
Thank you for sharing your story. I am glad you have found something to help you. May you have more sunny days then rainy ones.
Thank you for writing as well about this as you do about money.
I wonder if good writers/bloggers are prone to depression because writing well requires stronger perception or sensitivity (often to bad things) than many of the rest of us have. There’s been some interesting talk recently about how many driving figures of the early feminist and civil rights movements suffered from various mental illnesses. It’s about acutely seeing what’s wrong and coming up with fixes. Then it becomes depression when Seeing What’s Wrong is all you have…
Please know you have been missed. Glad to hear you are starting to feel like yourself again.
Kudos for speaking up about such a widespread problem. I’m sure you have helped many with this post.
I like many others wish you all the best and am awaiting your next “squawky”post!!
Wow…one helluva post Kerry.
“Anyone who’s been in my orbit for longer than a minute knows I love to laugh.” That was definitely my first observation 🙂
Courageous and brave of you to 1) write this and 2) reach out and ask for help. Thank you for sharing this post and being so open about something that no doubt affects many of us.
Best wishes Kerry,
[…] Kerry Taylor wrote a very brave post about depression. […]
First time commenter. Thank you for your words. For me, depression comes on like someone dimming the lights so slowly as to be virtually imperceptible. Then suddenly I have a moment of clarity and realize I am sitting completely in the dark. And ask for help, hard as that is for high achievers who usually look after others. Good luck in your journey back to the light.
First of all, a huge hug to you. I love your writing, but more than that, I love you, even though I don’t know you, I do in a way. Because you sound so much like me, and I love me now. I don’t always, but right now I do.
The only things that have worked for me to truly wind myself out of my labyrinth of hell are:
a) exercise. You sound like a “hamster” to me – I’m one too. High performing athletes don’t just stop because a job comes along, a child comes along, a relationship comes along, whatever. A hamster needs to run on its wheel, a horse needs to run in its field. It’s who you are – and if you’ve spent sizable chunks of your lifetime training your body to expect exercise, you can’t turn around and tell it no, I’m too busy now. Bodies are not minds, despite the fact they are very much connected, and the hole you’re experiencing is proof of that. You have a lively mind, a lively body, and a lively spirit – they need balance, like a 3 legged stool. Shave one down and you start to sink. Take a leg away and you’ll probably tip over. You can build up the missing leg again – one molecule at a time, if necessary. And it doesn’t need to be higher still – strive for balance. Clara Hughes, the Olympic cyclist and speed skater, can shed much more light on this.
b) talk and write. You already are doing this. Keep doing it! Accept every little bit that comes out and listen to it. Ask yourself to hear yourself – who do you sound like? Trust the picture in your mind. And love that picture, no matter how unsightly it is to the you that’s judging you. In its own backwards way, it’s leading you out of the hole. Because it’s you pleading with yourself to change that picture to anything you want.
Astrologer Rob Brezny writes: “The whole world is conspiring to shower you with blessings”. Look carefully around you – it’s true. Your daughter is one of the best examples – you listened! – but is only the start. Truth is, you’re her blessing too.
Wow! What a great article. So honest and inspiring. Thank you for sharing. I’m sure it will help a lot of people (like me).
AWESOME! Thank you, and the many commenters, for this beautiful exchange of thoughts!
I found your blog in search of delicious brown bag popcorn (my fave) … then I kept seeing more and more interesting posts that I could not stop reading – THEN, THIS amazing post!
Three weeks ago I hit the lowest low (emotionally) that I felt I possibly could. Then came along a naturopathic expert that got me back on track! Hormonal balance via herbs – IMO – is the perfect way for the body, mind and soul to reconnect in this over saturated world of media. I tried conventional meds but the side effects, etc. were just as bad as the symptoms they were suppressing.
Unplug, relax and breathe. Enjoy the silence, or the sounds, knowing that you are an integral part, and can trust, life.
Thanks for sharing. I needed that.
Thanks for being brave enough to write and post this. You are a great writer. I feel your pain in your words, but mostly I hear your determination to move past the SADS. I’ve been struggling for 2 years with my sads. Sadly, I don’t feel my family members understand and my husband does not understand and tires of my struggle, I suppose. So, it’s taken 2 years to sort out the pieces and let go, let go, let go (of so many things) and keep fighting the negative-self-talk-crappo. Six steps forward, 2 steps back; two steps forward, 3 back. Forward. Let go of the ick. I’ve done this on my own (too proud to reach the hand up for help, too afraid of rejection (again)). And it is taking too long, and I’ve missed out on so much good parts of life. Pretty determined to not miss out on much more. Good for you for finding the help that was right for you. Thank you for sharing your words…
Right on. Thanks for taking time to share that. I two feel main keys to get rid of the SADS are exercise and writing.
1. I too was always active/athletic. Job, surgeries, body pain stopped me from my love of exercise. Depression crept in. I KNOW exercise is/will be a big key for me–my brain misses the endorphin’s.
2. My family has shut me out–I guess tired of listening to me talk–causing my downward spiral to be pretty deep into the pit. So, I pulled farther into my shell. Aloneness. Writing is part of my path to move forward. Even though my cure/solution to depression has evolved to be on-my-own to get past SADS (I guess I raised my hand but others either just didn’t understand, didn’t know what to do, or were just too busy with their own issues), I feel much stronger when I put words to paper. Part of “letting go” of negative. And since I’ve lost my willingness to try and talk (no one listening) I’ve turned to words on paper. It still is Alone, but, it’s ok. I’m not so bad. I’m pretty insightful. I’m (again) turning into my own best friend.
A beautiful day here in Toronto; the sun shining out there. Going for a swim. A bit of exercise helps fill my head with some positive stuff as I don’t have room for the negative. Yes, and perhaps some laundry and cooking. I’m on holidays this week, and have high hopes of accomplishing things on my “to-do” list. One step at a time. Oh yes, whatever supplements or meds required, and prayer time. I’ve tried doing it alone, and it’s not the place for me when the going gets really rough. I remind myself that someone else’s rejection is their own opinion and there is someone else who will listen, even if it’s a professional… who gets paid to do so. I just need to get it out there. Sorry to say I’m not great on writing but it too, is a wonderful tool! For those who suffer with SADS, full spectrum lighting is also a great tool; about $30 per light bulb, depending where you get them. Be well, everyone!
That took a lot of balls. Way to go! 🙂
[…] Kerry from Squawkfox points out that Mental Health is an important subject and she has a poignant story with Daddy Plays. Mommy Cries. […]