Sunday, March 13, 2011

no fluffy words here

it's been a while since I have posted how I have been feeling and dealing with life. I guess it's time for an update. this is not a fluffy post.

you know, I have been doing a lot better, but I know I will never be 'fixed' or 'normal'. but what's normal anyway? a couple weeks ago i kinda went through this stage of feeling very angry and just upset with everyone and everything. i felt like i was doing everything heavenly father wanted me to do- going to church, doing my calling, prayers, i went to the doc to get some medicine and help, and i told people about it {family, friends looking for support and help. there is no way i could get through this on my own.. but, through doing all that, i wasn't seeing results. i still felt down and honestly, felt like God wasn't listening. i admit i got a little upset with the situation and told kevin that sometimes i wish i could just go to sleep and never wake up. of course, he was freaked out. he stayed up for hours with me talking to me and holding me while i cried and let out my frustrations. i shared with him that i didn't even know if i had a testimony anymore. while talking, he asked "well, do you believe there is a God?" i answered yes, and so he said "well that in itself is a testimony. He is real." and from there he told me to start and base my testimony on what i know is true. in talking through it i did feel as though i did still have a testimony- knowing that there is life after death, God is real, families are forever, and the living prophets are prophets of God. i think it was just more of a testimony shaker than anything.. I was a little upset with our bishop because he said he wouldn't pay for counseling for me. It was 70 dollars a session and we definitely can't afford that- but our bishop said we needed to make some sacrifices to pay it. he said he would maybe pay half- but still, that would be 35 a week, which is 35 dollars we don't have.  I felt like, what the heck, don't you think I am making sacrifices for this? I can't help that i'm messed up. And also, I told him how much I was struggling, and since I told him 5 months ago, he hasn't said one word to me! not even a hello- besides last week {he said hi} Some support I have been feeling. So, without asking for anymore help from him, I went and got on my moms insurance, and called the place myself. maybe it will make me appreciate it more since I had to pay for all of it. I started last Friday and loved it. I prayed that I would have a great experience with my therapist if this is what I needed to be doing- and that I would be paired with someone who was right for me. When i met with him, i instantly felt comfortable and knew he was the right one for me. he definitely is not all fluffy and sympathetic, and gives homework- but he is perfect for me! I have only been once, but i go again next week. 

do you want to know what some of my biggest frustrations are? that people DON'T UNDERSTAND. they don't think it's 'real'. they think it's all negativity that we can control. if you are reading this and agree with that- you are wrong. maybe to some extent, we can control our thoughts or negativity, but we cannot often control how things make us feel. maybe i am wrong to harbor bad feelings for people who don't understand because those people have nothing to do with MY personal progress.. i guess i just feel like the support system sometimes is low. like i have said before though, depression is a selfish thing and i know i am selfish by saying those things.. but it's how i feel. so, here is some background info that you all can read to understand it a little better. If you feel uneducated about this issue, please read this information because I can guarantee you that in one time or another, a loved one you know will suffer from this.. 

Depression, which doctors call major depressive disorder, isn’t something you can just “snap out of.” It is thought to be caused by an imbalance of brain chemicalsand other factors. Like any serious illness, depression should be treated.

Many things can trigger debilitating depression.
Feelings of depression are caused by a chemical change that affects how the brain functions.
A normally functioning brain is a giant messaging system that controls everything from your heartbeat, to walking, to your emotions.
The brain is made up of billions of nerve cells, called neurons.
These neurons send and receive messages from the rest of your body, using brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters.
These brain chemicals—in varying amounts—are responsible for our emotional state. Depression happens when these chemical messages aren’t delivered correctly between brain cells, disrupting communication.
Think of a telephone: If your phone has a weak signal, you may not hear the person on the other end. Their communication is muted or unclear.
The good news is that there are many forms of treatment that can help you cope with depression, including medications that can strengthen weak signals by raising the levels of certain neurotransmitters, or by improving the neurons’ ability to process signals.
This ensures that the brain’s vital messages are delivered, loud and clear.

Depressive disorders come in different forms, just like many other illnesses. In addition to major depression, other common types include:

  • Dysthymia. People who have dysthymia may feel mildly depressed on most days for at least two years. They have many depression symptoms, but the symptoms are less severe than with major depressive disorder.
  • Seasonal affective disorder. This illness has the same symptoms as major depressive disorder. But, in seasonal affective disorder, the symptoms return during certain seasons, usually in the fall and winter. While the exact cause is unknown, this illness is thought to be related to seasonal variations of light, as well as changes in certain brain chemicals which may induce feelings of depression.
  • Postpartum depression. This type of depression can occur in women who recently have given birth. It usually happens in the first months after delivery. But it also can happen in the first year after giving birth. The symptoms are the same as major depressive disorder. Often, postpartum depression keeps the mother from bonding with her newborn. It is very important to seek help if you have postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is different from the “baby blues,” which tends to occur during the first few days after delivery and then gets better on its own.
Depression often doesn’t have just one cause. It can be caused by a number of things together. You may have no idea why you have become depressed.
Whatever its cause, depression is not just a state of mind. It is linked to changes in your brain. It may be caused by an imbalance of certain chemicals that carry signals in your brain. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters.
Some of the more common factors involved in depression are:

  • Family history. Genes play an important part in depression. It can run in families for generations.
  • Painful life events and stress. Painful events, like the breakup of a relationship, or the death of a loved one, can trigger depression. You can also get depressed after big life changes, like starting a new job, graduating, or getting married.
  • Negative personality. People who have low self-esteem and a negative outlook are at higher risk of becoming depressed.
  • Health conditions. Serious medical conditions, like heart disease, cancer, and HIV, may trigger depression. This may be due to the physical weakness and stress they bring on. Depression can make medical conditions worse, since it may weaken the immune system and make pain harder to bear.
  • Other psychological disorders. Anxiety disorders, eating disorders, schizophrenia, and (especially) substance abuse often appear along with depression.
Depression, which doctors call major depressive disorder, disrupts your life. These symptoms last two or more weeks. They include:

  • Feeling sad, grouchy, or tense most of the time
  • Less interest or pleasure in usual activities or hobbies
  • Low energy or feeling tired, even when you’re not active
  • Appetite change with weight gain or loss
  • A change in sleeping habits (trouble sleeping, waking early, or sleeping too much)
  • Feeling restless or slowed down
  • Trouble making decisions or concentrating
  • Feeling worthless, hopeless, or guilty
  • Thoughts of suicide or death

If you have one or more of these symptoms, talk with your doctor.
If you’re thinking of suicide, please contact your doctor, or go to your local hospital or emergency room, as soon as possible.


Just as the symptoms and causes of depression are different in different people, so are the ways to feel better. What works for one person might not work for another, and no one treatment is appropriate in all cases. If you recognize the signs of depression in yourself or a loved one, take some time to explore the many treatment options. In most cases, the best approach involves a combination of social support, lifestyle changes, emotional skills building, and professional help.

If even the thought of tackling your depression seems overwhelming, don’t panic. Feeling helpless and hopeless is a symptom of depression—not the reality of your situation. It does not mean that you’re weak or you can’t change! The key to depression recovery is to start small and ask for help. Having a strong support system in place will speed your recovery. Isolation fuels depression, so reach out to others, even when you feel like being alone. Let your family and friends know what you’re going through and how they can support you.

Effective treatment for depression often includes some form of therapy. Therapy gives you tools to treat depression from a variety of angles. Also, what you learn in therapy gives you skills and insight to prevent depression from coming back.
Some types of therapy teach you practical techniques on how to reframe negative thinking and employ behavioral skills in combating depression. Therapy can also help you work through the root of your depression, helping you understand why you feel a certain way, what your triggers are for depression, and what you can do to stay healthy.

Now, I was just touching the surface of some information, but that's where we can start. people who haven't experienced it themselves or been around it much really don't know how to react or what to say- and that's ok, as long as you aren't judging them, then it's ok. Because you NEVER know what's going on in their head. You never know what they are going through. It sucks, being this way. It sucks knowing that people don't want to be around you because you are usually sad or quiet. It sucks feeling lonely and not supported. It sucks knowing you will probably deal with this the rest of your life- even if you get it under control, you will most likely always have some sort of issues. It sucks feeling like everyone is judging you- even if they aren't, you still feel like they are. It sucks knowing people won't give you a chance because they are afraid to get too close to you. It sucks that people don't want to give you a 2nd chance. It sucks not being able to trust people because you know there is a possible heartbreak attached to it. Depression SUCKS. I HATE everything about it. There is not one good thing that comes with it. But, I am dealing with it. Someday, I will know WHY the heck i was chosen to have this trial. I won't ask why me, I will just deal with it, and try not to make sense of it because I probably never will. I grieve with those who are going through it right now- because I'm right there with you. It's a nasty emotional drain that keeps draining and has a hard time getting anything drained back in.
I seriously challenge anyone who knows someone with depression to go out on a limb and BE THERE for that person you know has it. Don't treat us differently. Just BE with us. Just treat us normal. Just ask us what's new in our life. Just at least TRY to understand and not judge. 
 that's all my little hands can type about this today... 
for now, i am o.k. and will be trying to look on the bright side of things- i am in no way perfect or anything, but i am real, and i think that's refreshing... hope you all know that if you are suffering from this too, i would love to be there for you and i want you to know i am praying for anyone who needs to feel loved or feel supported. I support you. 

*also, if you read this and think, what the heck, this is way too personal to write about- then don't read my blog. because i can't even TELL you how many people have emailed me and said thank you for being honest and thanks for sharing this because they needed to hear it and needed to feel inspired to get help too. i feel it is my way to reach out to others and help make people think that this is NOT an embarrassing thing- it's just part of life, and life happens.I have had so many people email and tell me that this was just what they needed to hear or just the thing that helped them get the courage to tell their loved ones that they need help. even if I can only touch the hearts of one person or help one person, then I feel ok with that- because none of you should feel alone! i hate that people think there are certain things you shouldn't write on a blog- who are you to judge what we can and cannot write?* 


Jess said...

I don't have Depression, but I'm still really glad you posted this. People would tell me that my Dad COULD have just "snapped out of it" and it made me so angry, because it's not a decision, it's a disease! Thanks for sharing this...I'm here for you if you ever need anything!

Tamera said...

I have borderline personality disorder. I know EXACTLY how you feel.

Kira And James Morris said...

I love you too Gillian. I do. I love you too, and I dont judge you, I admire you for trying to take care of yourself the best you know how, and even though things are not perfect, It doesnt mean they will always be the way they are now. Life is hard, but its also great. I am here for you, and I will keep you in my thoughts, heart and in my prayers.

Mirembe said...

This was really beautifully written. Very personal and honest and I really think that more blogs need to be like this.
Thank you so much for putting your thoughts and feelings into words...I have struggled with depression for almost 2 years now and just like you, I feel it's a daily struggle that I don't understand how to combat let alone tell other people about.
You are very strong and inspiring for putting it all down on here for others to read and comment on. I think that this is one way that might actually help you recover because you will see your progress and how well you are doing with life.
This was amazing to read. Thank you so much.

Amie and Jesse said...

Gillian i just wanted to say reading this made me cry because this is exactly how i have been feeling. I know exactly what you are going thru, and let me just say it sucks. and it is really hard when people don't understand or thing its for attention. so just know you have a friend out there who understands and cares about you!

Kayla said...

I am so sorry you are feeling down!

I think the counseling will be awesome! Thank goodness for your Mom's insurance! I will keep you in my prayers!

Amy said...

Hugs to you my cute Gillian, love the honesty and feeling. And yeay for you having such a sweet husband.

The Duke said...

I echo Amy's comments about having a sweet husband! I'm so glad you have Kevin around to buoy you up and keep giving you spiritual strength.
This was good information for everybody to read.

Utah School of said...

thanks all- Love each and everyone of you! you guys are all such supportive friends and I appreciate it.

Seth and Natalie said...

I for one think it would be hard to write such personal things, but it IS very helpful and inspiring, just look at all the comments! You seem to be doing everything you can to feel better, and I have to applaud that. It's hard when you want to change the way you're feeling but can't. That would be very difficult to not be able to have control.
I have to put a plug in for bishops here though (please don't have hurt feelings, not intended at all) and think that the empathy and understanding you crave is the same for everyone in all situations. Feel it for your bishop too. Who knows what kind of things or feelings he is having? He needs your support too, and feeling critical of him is not going to help him understand your situation. I just have a soft spot for all of our judges in Israel, they have it tough sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing such a personal story, my mother (and a lot of my family) suffer from depression and my mother was also an alcoholic which contributed to her early death a few years ago. I'm sorry you have this struggle in life but it will only make you stronger. In response to your bishop, while what he is doing may not be the right thing to help you, he is only human and may have no idea what to do to help. I am currently beginning to get my testimony back after I stopped going to church when I was 12 (I'm now 28) and I realized that my main issue was my past bishop who made some ridiculous remarks regarding my choice of living environments (he had no idea my mom was an alcoholic and abusive) when I tried to move out of her house. Just know that people are flawed and only the gospel is true so cling to that and like your awesome hubby said start your testimony with what you believe to be true and the rest will fall into place. I feel more peace now that I've started reactivating in the church than I ever have in the past, but without my struggles I wouldn't have ever come back. Is it just me or do a TON of mormons blog?! :) So refreshing to know that there is this support system out there with people who don't even know you but love you anyway. Good luck and keep praying even a small testimony is still a testimony.


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