Depression: what lies behind a smile via @sherritully

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For nearly 6 years now, for those of you who don’t know, I have struggled with severe Depression and Anxiety. I don’t even know where to begin. All I know is that my heart is in my throat as I write this and I’m ready to again, delete it all.  I’ve written about five posts about my Depression and have deleted everyone in my own fear. It’s hard to write about Depression and Anxiety so that it makes sense and although I don’t think it will ever make sense for anyone who hasn’t gone through it, the time has come for it to be told. Its all very overwhelming. It’s hard for me to describe to you what I go through on a daily basis. Every day is a different day from the last. I have good days and I have bad days, but even the good days are the “average Joe’s” bad day. The times when my depression is really bad are difficult to put into words. People need to know why the suicidal rate for Depression and Anxiety is so high.

“My biggest fear is that eventually you see me the way I see myself”   (Anonymous)

This was the best way I could put it into words. Imagine having a “split personality” and its trying to kill you. My “split personality” is my mind. I say “split personality” because this disease is not me, but it is me. It’s something that took over my mind, but I’m (the original Sherri, fun, loving, happy) still there in body. It’s constantly trying to bring you down, it constantly tells you your worthless, you’re hopeless, you’re a horrible wife, mother and friend. It’s constantly telling you that life would be so much better for everyone if you weren’t in it. There isn’t a day that goes by where I wish I wasn’t on this earth anymore and those thoughts can be triggered by something as small as “too many dishes in the sink”! CRAZY, isn’t it? I KNOW, but that’s what depression is. It’s real, it’s dark and it’s controlling. It takes complete control over your mind.

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My “split personality” (my mind) continues to tell me all these lies, and in my mind, they’re all true. I’m not suicidal, I would never harm myself, I know that for a fact. My daughter is my lifeline through this darkness. She’s the reason why I’m breathing today. She’s the reason why I know that I will not be defeated by this. Now I don’t want to minimize my love for my husband, because you’re probably wondering why he isn’t my lifeline as well? I love him just the same but in my mind, I feel like he would be alright. He’s old enough to understand, he can move on and be ok, at least that is what my mind tells me. Cadence is different. In the beginning I was at home alone with Cadence (who was 3 at the time) and I had those suicidal thoughts. I didn’t want to live anymore. Cadence would play and I would lay on the couch and watch her. My mom would call and ask if I wanted her to take Cadence for the day so I can rest, but I couldn’t let her. I didn’t trust myself without Cadence around. I knew I would never harm myself if she was there so I kept her home with me and everyday I watched her play and laugh and run around. It not only saved my life but it brought us so much closer together. She’ll never know how much I love her. It’s an indescribable kind of love. She saved me. My 3 year old daughter saved my life without even knowing. As I write this, my heart is in my throat and my breathing is becoming heavy. My heart is overflowing with pride, she saved me.

“The bravest thing I have ever done was continuing to live when I wanted to die”    (Juliette Louis)

It takes an extraordinary amount of strength just to exist in the midst of a Depression. Depression is real and people need to know how real it is. It’s not just sadness, it’s much much more than that.The fact that it’s so hard for other people to understand what it’s like to have Severe Depression and Anxiety can add to so many feelings for me such as frustration, jealousy, resentment, irritated, anger, misunderstood, rage, hatred, paranoia, feelings of hopelessness, exhaustion, despair, selfishness, self-pity, and low self-esteem. Let’s not forget extreme shyness, anxiety, fear and dread. After my mind flows through all these feelings and emotions, in the end, the worst one is the heavy feeling of guilt about having these feelings in the first place.

“I wanted to write down exactly what I felt but somehow the paper stayed empty and I could not have described it any better”   (Unknown)

I’ve had MANY people try and “comfort” me. Nothing really comforts me! Frustration usually gets the best of me when someone tries to “comfort” me. I know most people have good intentions and they really think they’re helping, but in reality, telling someone:

-there are a lot of people worse off than you

-you have nothing to be depressed about

-get some exercise and you’ll feel better

-get out of the house and do something

Comments like those will put someone with Depression further down. I’ve come to realize that anyone saying those kind of comments have NO idea what Depression and Anxiety is and it often becomes frustrating. Never judge what you don’t understand. It could have a fatal effect on someone close to you. People will often ask me “How are you doing?”, and that’s where you’re going to hear “Fine” or “Good”. Of course you’re not going to hear “well I thought of dying today and really felt like I let everyone down and of course my anxiety got to a point where I nearly passed out, only to respond with, the normal fine, how are you doing?”. Anyone suffering is probably feeling ashamed or embarrassed for feeling those emotions and that’s when it goes silent. That’s why people need to know and understand what goes on behind that smile.

“Silence is the most powerful scream”   (Unknown)

To my family and friends, if I’ve cancelled on you over and over and over again or you may have felt “ignored” by me, I apologize, and if I’m being truthful, it will happen again and I’m truly sorry, please don’t take it personal. When I have to cancel on you or cause you to feel “ignored”, trust me, what my mind goes through to get to the point to tell you, is punishment enough. The guilt , along with other feelings and emotions become very overwhelming. They most often turn into my bad days.

“Depression is living in a body that fights to survive with a mind that tries to die”   (Unknown)

 

I’ve never really had a justifiable reason to feel this depressed, which doesn’t help. I have a good life, I had a good job and good people that surround me, so why am I not happy? I’m still trying to find that answer. It’s a powerful disease, no doubt!

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I don’t identify myself as someone who “has” these feelings, they’re not me. They are my “split personality” (my mind) , its my disease that causes my brain to react in such a way, they are not me, and all I can do is not let them beat me. I am a survivor, and I have no doubt that one day I will be free of all this. That day will be the first day in a long time that I will be able to breathe without fear.

People with depression are not looking for sympathy, they are merely trying to stay alive in a world their own mind doesn’t want them to live in. – Sherri Tully

 

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answerthetullyphoneDepression: what lies behind a smile via @sherritully

Comments 38

  1. Kirsten G.

    Thank you for sharing. I know how hard it is. I suffer from depression and anxiety too. It’s a scary place to be in. I’ve had well meaning people say the same things to me.

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      answerthetullyphone

      I’m sorry to hear that you suffer as well Kirsten. It’s good to know that you’re not alone but it’s horrible to find out how many people suffer as well. (Hugs)

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  2. Cathi Johnson

    Love you, Sherri. Have prayed for you off and on over the years, but will try to be more faithful now that I have read this brave bearing of your soul.

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  3. Jason Magee

    Great post Sherri! I suffer from depression & anxiety as well. I personally believe that my diseases (overactive thyroid, Type 1 Diabetes & Celiac) play a part in the reasoning behind my suffering but I also KNOW that my past has a huge part in it. It’s definitely a story that I should share but it would be a mini book not a post and I’m not exactly sure that I’m ready to re-live or share that part of my life yet? Reading others posts, such as yours, has definitely got me thinking of it.

    Thanks for sharing your story and bringing light to these diseases of the mind & what people deal with on a daily basis. You’re a true inspiration.

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      answerthetullyphone

      I’m sure when the time comes it will be an amazing post and you will help many people but only when your ready. It took me 2-3 years to write this one post and it’s very scary for me. You will know when you’re ready to share:)

  4. Nancy T

    WOW!!! Thank you so much for writing this! While I don’t have anxiety but I do live with it every day with both my husband (OCD tendencies) and my daughter (Selective Mutism which is a social anxiety that manifests as an inability to speak in select situations), this explains what they think/feel on a daily basis.
    Hugs to you and again thank you for hitting POST.

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      answerthetullyphone

      Thank you Nancy, you’re husband and daughter are very lucky to have you supporting them. Thank YOU for educating me on Selective Mutism, I’ve never heard of it.

  5. AlwaysARedhead

    Depression is evil and unrelenting. I wrote about my daughter’s struggles with depression when she was in university. You are exceptionally brave writing this best. You will help others by acknowledging your struggles. I completely understand how your daughter saved your life. Children are our light. I wish you only the best and thank you for sharing Sherri.

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  6. paula schuck

    Great post Sherri! I am glad you didn’t erase it. I found this because Jenn Annis shared it, so huge thanks to Jenn for sharing it. I know many people with depression and anxiety and I think you described it really well. I hope you have more support than just your husband and daughter though. Depression can be extremely isolating and I know Matt is awesome and your daughter sounds amazing too but I hope too that there’s a counsellor or a support group or anything out there that helps.

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      answerthetullyphone

      I definitely have more support, I see someone every two weeks and of course I have my family. The problem I’m having is that all the medication I have been on has decreased my memory A LOT and when I see my therapist, come the end of the day, I can only remember bits and pieces of what we talked about. Thank you so much for your concern Paula ☺️

  7. Lisa Pellerin

    very well and bravely said. I look at myself in the mirror and see you. How you got the strength to do this is beyond me. But I praise all that you describe, because I to as you know live in that shadow everyday now for the past 18 years. It’s not the just the illness we control. it’s the friends we need to keep in touch with, the family we need to not forget, the spouse, the children who need us…..in a nut shell our lives. It is all and more that has been shared in this blog….and to those of you who are reading this make sure you have the time and are very concentrated….cause one day you might be the one looking to read such a blog in search for help for a friend,family, or worst ……you!

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      answerthetullyphone

      Thank you Lisa, I was thinking of you too while writing this. I knew you would be able to relate. I hope your doing well and keeping your head above water. One day at a time is all we can do. (Hugs)

  8. OHM

    Wow, this nails everything I feel. In fact I am bawling because it hits home so much. Depression and anxiety here, and currently on a down swing 🙁
    Thanks for putting this out there..I will be sharing!

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      answerthetullyphone

      Now you know you’re not alone, nor are you crazy for feeling all those emotions! Find your lifeline and hold onto it. Thank you so much for coming forward and sharing that. I will be thinking of you Christy (hugs)

  9. Allgoodcanadian

    Thank you for sharing, I certainly understand. You sharing is definitely helpful to others in giving it a voice. Take care.

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  10. Jane Reud

    Sherri you are amazing never forget that 💕 You are not alone either . Many of the worlds greatest achievers and thinkers are depressives . I am full of admiration for you darling for sharing your story and I’m sure many of us will identify. Sending kind thoughts your way @mushypeaJane

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      answerthetullyphone

      When a post goes up, like mine, it becomes scary because you then see how many people suffer and there’s A LOT. It’s so sad! But then people begin to share and open up and it educates the world and that’s AWESOME! The silent screams for help because louder 🙂 Thank you Jane 💕

  11. jacqueline

    Dear little cousin,I had no idea you suffer from depression, and you’ve explained it very well. I’ve came very close to it at one time in my life because of the way you explained it, but I was lucky enough to get out of it. But I think real depression makes you spiral down and you can’t really just get out of it . As I was reading this I had tears in my eyes thinking of you and I’m so happy that your wonderful daughter is there, that means you are too 😊 If talking and writing about it can help in anyway please keep doing it. And if you can write about what other people can do or say that can help someone that has depression or just what helps yourself, please do because I would really like to know 😉 Even though I don’t see you often I love you lovely little cousin , sending hugs.

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      answerthetullyphone

      Your comment also brought me to tears. Obviously Depression isn’t a tabletop conversation and I don’t wear it on my sleeve. Cadence doesn’t know what I suffer with so its hidden quite well most of the time. If you weren’t told by someone, then you wouldn’t know. Thank you for your wonderful words and I’m very happy that people are learning how severe it is, even if it takes me exposing my vulnerable side. I love you too💕

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  12. Lynda Cook

    Your not alone, so many people suffer from this, and I am one, I don’t suffer from depression though, mine is anxiety, I hardly leave my house because of it and I have missed out on so many get togethers because my anxiety gets the best of me, I get the sweats and start shaking and feel like I’m going to pass out, and no one understands what your going through, which sometimes that alone even makes it worse..all we need to do is take baby steps one day at a time!!

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  13. Jessica

    I am glad that you finally hit publish. This is a disease and it needs a bigger voice. I believe that until we erase the stigma attached to depression and truly start trying to understand and help people with depression those with it will never truly be “free”. I understand more now than I have in the past as my ex-husband suffers with it severely. I would never wish this on my worst enemy and I think you are brave to talk about it. We need more people to use their voices and help!

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  14. kathy downey

    I cried reading this post,i see myself in so many parts….I love your words””” I will not be defeated by this””””nor will i…

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      answerthetullyphone

      I didn’t cry when I wrote it, I had a lot of anxiety though, but as the comments came rolling in, I felt I had to go read it and I bawled like a baby! I read it as if someone else wrote it, and I could obviously relate. It was sad. We WILL defeat this Kathy😊

    2. Kim Sweetser

      Depression is so diverse and complex but so very real. Your article is deep and touches on so many aspects of it. Thank you. I will be sharing. I have survived with depression and anxiety for most of my life. It is a split personality for sure. I do not have the thoughts of dread and that I am worthless etc but I do become void of life and hope. I become exhausted, cold, and just cry non-stop with the uttermost sadness in my being. I have, more than once, found myself snapping out of almost a trance while driving around a corner in the road as I envision myself not taking the corner and ending it all. The only thing at that moment that makes me snap out of it and take the corner is “I would not be so fortunate as to die. I would end up disabled. Maimed. Horribly scared or unable to walk or something.” It is never a conscious thought to die. It just creeps up out of the blue. I am not and have never been suicidal and would never intentionally end my life. There is too much to live for. But depression is a different realm of existance. There is no complete explanation for it. Your article is real and full of so much. Thank you for sharing.

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        answerthetullyphone

        Thank you Kim for sharing your story. Some people are embarrasses or ashamed and that’s why it goes silent. People need to understand how serious Depression and Anxiety is, once they do, they will also understand why the suicidal rate is so high. We need to educate.

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