My name is Kelly Epperson, and I am very excited to join HealthyPlace as a contributor to the "Coping with Depression" blog. I suffered from postpartum depression after the birth of my children in 2012 and 2014. I will be sharing my experience with this illness and strategies that helped me cope.
How can shame damage relationships? After all, shame has been a part of human culture for thousands of years. It is one of the things that makes human relationships and social structures unique and is arguably a necessary component of every civilized society. However, I believe people with mental health issues experience shame at a disproportionately high level, and this can be incredibly detrimental not only to their recovery — but also to their relationships with the people around them.
Coping with depression is a daily battle. Depression recovery can take years, and there is no such thing as a "quick fix." There are, however, things you can do to bring rapid relief in times of stress, anxiety, and panic attacks. For me, that relief has come in the form of autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) — a strange online phenomenon that has been a source of comfort and relaxation for millions since the mid-2000s, even though most people have no idea what it is.
My name is Jennifer Lear, and I am the co-author of the "Coping with Depression" blog here at HealthyPlace. I am thrilled to be joining this community and am excited (and nervous) to be sharing my experiences with you. I started exhibiting symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) at age six. By 18, I was riddled with so many ticks and compulsions that I could barely function, and I finally took it upon myself to seek help from my family doctor. I was diagnosed with chronic OCD and depression and placed on medication. There was no offer of counseling, no reassurance that I was not alone, and I was left feeling more depressed, more ashamed, and more terrified to publicly acknowledge how I was feeling.
I started my journey on the "Coping with Depression" blog almost three years ago. Today, I am writing my final post for this blog. I have been fortunate to work for HealthyPlace and will always be grateful for the time and space I was given here. I conquered both fear and doubt to become a mental health blogger, and I could not have done that without the support and guidance of the team and staff at HealthyPlace.
We should not underestimate the effects of stressful events on depression. Modern technology offers most of us the opportunity to know what's going on all over the world at any given moment of any given day; yet, so many of the current news stories have the potential to add to our stress and possibly worsen our depression. I've been struggling with managing my depression while also trying to find a balance between being adequately informed versus becoming pulled down into a major depressive episode due to information burnout.
Many of us who are diagnosed with depression struggle with loving ourselves. We might feel the sting of stigma, whether it's from others, from within us, or from a combination of both. As individuals with depression, some of us deal with negative thoughts, which can make it difficult to foster feelings of love towards ourselves. How can we overcome these challenges and learn to love ourselves?
I have a plan to avoid another suicide attempt that came from living with major depression. But it's taken three years since almost losing the war against depression to get it together. I'm so thankful to say that I'm still here and that my suicide attempt failed. That "failure" turned out to be one of my greatest victories. I couldn't see it then, but I certainly see it now. The following thoughts are some reflections on the past three years of my life. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
I've been rereading "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens, and it has occurred to me that depression brings its own ghosts of the past, present, and future. Just as Ebenezer Scrooge had to confront his ghosts, so must we.