Contributing Writer, Jazmin Steele
As I stood in the break room chatting with a co-worker of similar age about our women problems – you know, getting older, menstrual cycles, moodiness and you guessed it, depression. I expressed to her that the last few weeks have increasingly been “blah” for me. I wasn’t excited about the new year and I damn sure didn’t set any resolutions. My thought about 2018 had been, “I am going to keep doing what I’m already doing. I’m going to keep working on my goals and keep working on becoming a better person, etc.” So, I didn’t feel a need to jump on the bandwagon of the whole New Year, New Me thing that so many people subscribe to. As she listened to my plight, she opened up about how she also experiences depression quite often, like 12 million other women do in the US. We are not alone. Then, I just blurted out to her, “You know what? I’m depressed and I am having a hard time coming out of it…” Phew. That felt good.
So, when did I begin to notice these depression symptoms and what are some factors that may have contributed to it? Well, let’s go back to an article I wrote a couple of weeks ago on Co-Parenting During the Holidays to help parents in similar situations navigate successfully through the holiday season. Most of the time, I am fortunate enough to have a healthy, working relationship with my ex in order to raise our three children together. We did pretty well this year. Our girls celebrated the holidays with both of us and everyone seemed quite grateful. There were a few moments where I became agitated by my ex and in those moments I had to check my expectations (a tip given in the article) and discipline my disappointment. This took a little work. Once the holiday rush was over, presents were unwrapped, dinner was cooked, the kitchen was cleaned (for the umpteenth time) and their father was on a plane back home – I began to recognize these feelings of sadness and heaviness. The holiday craze was over but, this haunting depression that I had honestly felt for a few weeks prior started to rear its ugly head.
Depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for people ages 15 to 45. And, it occurs more often in women than in men. All of a sudden when I was no longer distracted by with the holidays, I became aware. I started to lose interest in daily activities, my personal projects were put on the backburner and being active went out the door. It had been a couple of weeks since I had taken a jog which was a tale tell sign that something was going awry. I just felt overwhelmingly lazy. I wanted to lay on the couch, isolate myself and sulk. I started having increased self-defeating thoughts about my goals, my parenting and the work that I put so much effort into – like, does any of this any matter? Who am I fooling trying to publish a book? Just work your job and be normal. Yeah, I knew something was REALLY wrong when my self-talk went down THAT road! Normal? Ha! Never. So, I was struggling for days, weeks even. I had intentions of getting out of the house and playing outside with my children or even catching the first sunset of the new year, but I just couldn’t muster up the strength. I was depressed. If you’re experiencing some or all of the following symptoms, you too could be dealing with depression.
- You’re always tired
- Any and everything annoys you
- You sleep too little or too much
- Eating too little or too much
- You’re in pain everywhere
- You’re hiding
- Nothing interests you
- Beating yourself up
You can read additional symptoms here.
So, I diagnosed myself. Now what? How the heck do you come out of the quicksand of depression even when you don’t FEEL like it? Here are some simple tips to begin the process of climbing out of your gloom.
- Talk about it. Chatting with my co-worker released some pressure. I felt the change by simply being honest about my state. There is something so liberating about the truth.
- Encourage yourself. I didn’t feel like encouraging myself. But, I did it anyway. “This won’t last long…I’ll get to the other side…I’ll be stronger after this…” Do your best to stay hopeful, rinse and repeat.
- Get outside. Now, I actually didn’t do this over the new year weekend. I just felt too damn crappy. But, this morning I got up, got dressed, put on some makeup and went to work. Coming to work helped to move around some of that stagnant energy. I rolled down the car windows and in a way, let the depression out. So, get outside the best way you can in the moment.
- Take a bite of a piece of chocolate. Yup! Chocolate. As I chatted with my co-worker, I slid a piece (or two) of Ghirardelli Salted Caramel Crunch into my mouth and almost felt an instant jolt. No joke. I started to feel better. Check out this article on how chocolate and help you out of your depression.
These tips aren’t the end all be all to solving your depressive state. I encourage you if you suffer from depression here and there or even more seriously and more often than you’d like, go speak to a professional. There are ways to tackle your depression and keep you from on-going suffering. Google is great too! It starts with awareness and the determination to climb out. And, a little Ghirardelli’s Salted Caramel Crunch won’t hurt either.
Best wishes to you and your mental health in the new year. 2018 can be the beginning of a better you if you chose! Xo
Author, Love Incorruptible: A Woman’s Reflective Journey to Freedom