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Depression isn’t what you think it is.

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So, as you may have gathered from my last post, I’ve been dealing with some mild depression lately. It’s something I’ve dealt with before, but it still sucks. So hey, let’s talk about it.

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I’ll skip over the long version of the story and just say I have depression issues when taking hormonal birth control (ie the pill). I REALLY wish this side effect was discussed more. I learned this years ago only after having been unknowingly Depressed most of college, and found a particular pill that seemed to not bother me. Only after being totally OFF the pill when trying to get pregnant for 2 years did I realize that pill was making me depressed, too, just less so. After having Ainsley, I went back on a low-dose version of the pill while breastfeeding, but I still had issues here and there. So when I recently ran out, I decided not to pick up my refill. I’m tracking my cycle like a Nazi now and crossing the heck out of my fingers because we don’t want another baby quite yet. But I feel better.

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So what IS depression, anyway? How was I depressed and didn’t know it? Well, it’s hard to know when you’re in it. It doesn’t look like it does on the commercials. Though in my darkest days I do think pretty damn sad thoughts, I have never actually really thought about suicide or anything like that. But that doesn’t mean it’s not still awful. For me, I tend to get more OCD than I normally am. Clutter almost literally drives me insane instead of just bothering me. If I’m jotting down notes and the pen flubs a line, it seriously bothers me. Like, seriously. If I lose something, I obsess over it even more than normal. If I screw up at work, I feel even more terrible than I should. Everything stresses me out. I retreat from my wonderful husband. I hate everything about our house that isn’t finished or fixed or perfect. I feel not so much sad as just…numb. Like I’m not a part of the word, but just drifting through it. And then eventually, I’ll have a moment of clarity somehow and realize: depressed.

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But I might not LOOK depressed. If you’re not spending a ton of time with me, you probably think I’m OK. Because here’s the thing: Depressed people still have to live life. It doesn’t look like the commercials. Some depressed people are even (gasp!) men. We don’t actually sit in our robes, looking pensively out the window all day. We’re not always crying. We have to get dressed, look presentable, interact with people, go to work, and drop our kids off at daycare. We have to. And some of our smiles and laughs may be genuine. But behind it, we still have that disconnected, sad feeling. You just don’t care. At least not about the right things.

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And it doesn’t make sense! You keep telling yourself that you don’t *really* have any reason to be feeling like this. If you’re feeling depressed (lower case d) because a family member died, or you lost your job, or something along those lines…well, then you’re sad for a pretty damn good reason, and you might just be OK in a bit. Depression (capital D) can seem totally insane because it’s not connected to anything. You’re not Depressed because X happened. You’re just…depressed. And then you get more depressed because why are you depressed about nothing? But the thing about depression is that you can’t reason yourself out of it. It’s not your fault or anything’s fault. It’s just…there.

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So anyway. I am lucky in that, thus far, I have been able to regulate my depression by NOT taking certain medicine. But if the time comes when I need medication to make me feel better, that’s something I’m open to. Because taking a pill to be happy every day is a whole lot less crappy than being sad every day and not taking a pill.

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One of the things that has brought me some happiness during this time is babywearing. I miss Ainsley terribly when I’m at work and cherish the time when I get to go home and take a walk around the block with her and Lucy. On the days when Will is home with her, it gives Will a chance to get dinner ready and have some quiet time. On the days when I pick her up from daycare, it allows me to keep her close and snuggle during her most grumpy time of the day when all she wants is to be held, and I can also make dinner and get things done around the house.

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So if you feel like you may be dealing with depression…well, if you THINK you’re depressed, you probably are. Talk to someone about it. A friend, a significant other, a relative, or a doctor. Maybe get off the pill if you’re on it and try another birth control method. Maybe just try and get out for a daily walk to get some sunshine. Maybe talk to your doctor and see if meds are right for you. But don’t just stay depressed. You and all your loved ones deserve the HAPPY you, the REAL you.

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So with that, I am still going to be taking a break for a while (you know, during the most apt season to be writing about my garden…but whatever). I’m fine, really, (or, getting better) but I’m going to focus on other things for a while. It will also give me time to work on a couple side projects I’ve been putting off. I will update the Ainsley weeklies when I get a chance – I have been taking them still, and you can see some previews in my Instagram feed on the sidebar.

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7 Comments

  1. MeganNo Gravatar says:

    Jennah thanks for sharing this. I’ve been on the pill for awhile as well and have noticed a change in my emotional balance. I didn’t really factor depression in but at times I’ve thought about it. My doctor dismissed it and said that it can sometimes intensify emotions. Anyways this has just given me something to think about. I’m happy you have found some balance and I hope you continue feeling happier.

    1. JennahNo Gravatar says:

      Def talk to your doc. It may not be the pill, but it’s a very common culprit. Get off it for a while or try a low dose pill and see if you notice a difference. I know it’s not the only factor for me, but it’s by far the biggest.

  2. LaurieNo Gravatar says:

    I feel ya.. instead of obsessive I am the opposite. I have difficulty straightening up until its a disaster area. I do get more stress ed at work but I have trouble giving it my best..
    Meds helped me but since I went off of them when I had Kendall when I went back on I don’t feel they are working for me as well. I’m looking into other options… let me know of the is anything I can do..

    1. JennahNo Gravatar says:

      I’ve definitely noticed a difference post-baby. Stupid hormones. And after being off the pill for so long, it was a kick in the face. I hope you find something that works for you again. Hugs!

  3. Aunt DebNo Gravatar says:

    Jennah, Please do everything you can to help yourself feel better. ;o) You know our family has some depression issues, so it could be something that has been passed down to you or it could be as simple as your meds. (I’m pretty sure that your Granddaddy Batts probably dealt with depression). Stay on top of it! Getting a good balance in life surely helps us to tackle the day to day stuff that can bother most anybody. Motherhood is a very tough job, too. You can most definitley love the job, but it can still do a number on you as well.
    And thanks for opening up. By your other posts, I trust that you may have helped others to recognize what might be going on with them. Bravo for that!!

    Love you mucho!! Aunt Deb

  4. NickieNo Gravatar says:

    So much to say and I have no clue how to say it…all I know to say at the moment is that I can sympathize & I love you…

  5. Kylee BaumleNo Gravatar says:

    Jennah, thank you for explaining this so very well. I’m right there with you, sister. Hang in there… xoxo

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