This is Life, Based on a True Story  

Depressing times

I’ve been struggling with bouts of depression.

Nothing specific really triggered it, although I like to blame it on the winter that never ends. I don’t feel sad all the time, but it’s definitely more prevalent than the odd blah day.

Ten years ago – heck even two years ago — I’d never have admitted this. It makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me.

So much has been brought to our attention lately about mental health not being a stigma with a negative connotation attached. And, yet, I still feel shy about bringing this out in the open. But the other side of me knows I’m not the only one and perhaps I’m speaking on behalf of you.

Here’s a bit of background. When I had my first child 17 years ago, I “got” post-partum depression. I didn’t know it at the time as I’d never experienced anything even remotely like it. I just assumed it was those good ol’ “baby blues” that didn’t end.

My doctor recognized the symptoms and took action. I recall being so embarrassed by it. I was given a prescription and required to go for weekly visits to my doctor for follow-up.

Lucky for me, my doctor and his nurse were amazing. They knew I needed a ton of support and they did what they could from their perspectives. I was so grateful, even now, I still feel grateful to them.

At one point, years after that experience, I sent them a letter of thanks.

Since then, I’ve been somewhat untouched by depression or other mental-health issues. Anything that’s presented itself has also been quick to resolve. I’ve never counted those periods as a time of depression.

So this took me by surprise. It took me awhile to admit to myself that depression had reared its jerk head in my life once again. It was the recent, unexpected passing of someone I knew that made me say to myself, “OK, you’re depressed. Time to deal with it. “

I look back over recent months and it’s now so obvious to me how it’s affected me. Everything from my wardrobe to my lifestyle reflects how I’ve been feeling.

Any clothes I’ve bought have been darker toned and kind of frumpy, and my lifestyle has been completely interrupted.

I loved going to my gym and would get up at 5 a.m. to go. Since depression kicked in, I miss more days than I make. This then leads me to feel guilty about spending so much money on something I’m not even using and it gives me another reason to feel crappy about myself. 

I see it as my failure.

I know this is all within my control and yet the motivation factor can’t be found. I’ve become quite reclusive. Whereas before, I’d go out with friends and make efforts to get together with them; now, I just go home every day so I can put on my sweats and do nothing and contact no one.

My personal relationships are suffering. Every single one of them — from my kids and family to my friends. I tend to be a bit of a loner, but when you throw in something like depression, the situation exasperates itself exponentially.

The other ways I’ve been affected are all textbook classic. I’m not sleeping well, which means I’m always tired and low on energy. Even when I do get a good sleep, I still feel tired.

I’ve been eating terribly – potato chips for supper. I have body aches and pains that never seem to go away. The scariest thing to me though was my alcohol intake increased.

I figured that one out quickly and took immediate steps to stop that in its tracks. Alcoholism runs in my family and I have no desire to walk that road or subject my kids to that. For that matter, mental-health issues also run in my family – another thing I don’t want the kids to have to live through me.

So I guess I should give myself credit for that; as well as for even writing this. Which brings me to my next point. Why did I write this and expose all?

Over the past few months, I’ve let very few people in on the fact that I wasn’t feeling myself. Each one said “call me sometime and we’ll talk.” Their intents were good and came from their hearts and were meant to help.

But when you’re talking to someone who may be or is experiencing depression, telling them to call you is futile. Most people who feel this way won’t and don’t reach out.

If you really want to help, you need to be the one to make the effort.

  • Call them.
  • Text them.
  • Facebook message them.
  • Drive to their place and pick them up for a walk.
  • Make the arrangements to go out for dinner or lunch.

When one is depressed, arranging details for plans are overwhelming. Trying to co-ordinate people and places and times requires a lot of effort for someone who just wants to go home and be by themselves anyway. So unless it's done for that person, they won’t make it happen.

But also respect their wishes if they want to stay more low-key or be left alone at times.

If you haven’t heard from someone you would normally have regular contact with — reach out. See if they’re ok. Again, it’s too much effort for someone who’s feeling blue to do so themselves. It’s very selfish sounding, but keep in mind that this person is just focusing on making it through each day as it is.

For the most part, you can’t look at someone and see they’re depressed. Most people mask it because we have to. We still have jobs to do and kids to raise, etc. We put all of our energies into doing that; to not let people see what’s going on behind closed doors.

In my case, I can still function normally on a daily basis because I have to — my mortgage and bills dictate that — and so do my obligations to my kids. And it’s with that in mind that I’m taking the reins to get back to being me.

I’ve started to force myself to go back to the gym. Exercise is one of the best things you can do for depression. I’m pushing myself beyond my comfort zones and making an effort to be social again. I’m spending less time online and more time meditating.

I know that this too shall pass and as I make changes to nourish myself, I’ll see more happy days than blah days; I already am in fact.

But it’s all about the baby steps in the beginning.

Thanks for reading.


Comments are pre-moderated to ensure they meet our guidelines. Approval times will vary. Keep it civil, and stay on topic. If you see an inappropriate comment, please use the ‘flag’ feature. Comments are the opinions of the comment writer, not of Castanet. Comments remain open for one day after a story is published and are closed on weekends. Visit Castanet’s Forums to start or join a discussion about this story.

More This is Life, Based on a True Story articles

About the Author

Tanya Gunderson has been writing for the heck of it for many years. Her inspiration comes from her kids, their friends and the craziness of life. She takes great pleasure in exposing life for what it really is and has an open-book approach to her writing.

Her formal education and background include a blink-and-you miss-it stint in the radio and television industry, but it gave her an opportunity to write professionally on a few different occasions.

Email: [email protected]



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories