Introduction to Dawn Gressard, Author of 'Coping with Depression'

February 16, 2024 Dawn Gressard

My name is Dawn Gressard, and I am ecstatic to be a new writer for the Coping with Depression blog at HealthyPlace. As a trainer of peer support specialists, I know how vital it is to share similar lived experiences with others, not only for our coping with depression and recovery but for others’ coping as well. It is always easier to endure the journey when you know you are not alone -- and none of us are.

About Dawn Gressard and Her Journey Coping with Depression

I was finally diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD) with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in my mid-30s -- I am 49 now. Living with MDD has affected my life and the choices I’ve made. The late diagnosis was mainly due to denial (that’s a different story) of the fact that I would have a mental health disorder and not just occasional or situational sadness or depression. It was actually my second husband who convinced me to see my primary care physician to discuss possible medications and what the next steps would be to seek help for depression.

Throughout my 30s and early to mid-40s, I struggled with living with MDD. I never really felt like I could get my depression coping skills and recovery journey on the right track. I felt like I had a baseline of normalcy that was not very happy. This is not to say I did not have periods of happiness and contentment with life. Because I did. Yet, my depression was looming in the background, waiting for a trigger or event that would bring it to the forefront again. My medications helped keep my depression from spiraling, but I was still having to wear my "mask" most of the time. I had learned to perfect the mask, and it was indeed a sight to be seen. I could smile, laugh, be productive, and have a good time with the best of them.

Whenever I see the commercial for the antipsychotic medication where the woman has a mask made of a white smiley face on a popsicle stick, I think, “Wow! That was how I felt to a tee!” I cannot give it a better description than that image.

Last of all, I am also the mother of two young adults who also live with depression, and they couldn’t be more different. Nevertheless, coming to terms with my MDD has allowed me to be open and aware of my children’s struggles with mental health -- even though everyone is different, even our children.

Dawn Gressard Lives and Copes with Depression

In the beginning, I was ashamed and closed off about my MDD. I didn’t want anyone to know, much less those closest to me, hence the wearing of the mask. Since then, however, I have learned that being silent about my struggles is more painful than being open about them. In the past few years, I have learned how talking about and being transparent about my personal and family’s mental health not only helps me but helps others as well. Thus, here I am.

Even though I have had lapses in my journey of living with depression and have had to come up with new ways of coping with depression, I am finally at a place where I can comfortably talk about what strategies I have used and use now to cope with my depression. My coping toolbox is not a solid configuration in my life. It is fluid and changeable. As it should be.

For more about me and what I'm hoping to bring to Coping with Depression, watch this:

As we all know, life happens. It happens when we least expect it, and we need to be ready. So, I am thrilled to be here to not only share my story and strategies for coping with depression but to hear your story and strategies, too.

Ultimately, my motto is this: Take life one day at a time. It is all I can expect of myself, and it is all others can expect of me.

APA Reference
Gressard, D. (2024, February 16). Introduction to Dawn Gressard, Author of 'Coping with Depression', HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Dawn Gressard

Dawn Gressard is a freelance Veterans Affairs benefits, mental health wellness, and suicide prevention writer and a trainer of a peer-supported suicide prevention and crisis intervention program. Find Dawn on X, Instagram, LinkedIn, and her personal blog.

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