Sharon was talking to a friend on the phone one night. When her friend asked, "How are you?"
Sharon suddenly exploded with emotion. Without warning, she began sobbing and literally collapsed in a heap on the floor. Her friend came over and took Sharon's kids for the night.
Sharon cried for hours till she fell asleep. It was only the first of many sleepless nights.
She cried every day for months, never knowing when she might break down. She didn't need a reason. While driving to work in the morning, she would burst into tears. She worried about embarrassing herself, so she stayed home more and avoided people as much as she could.
Isolating herself made her feelings of loneliness worse. "Nobody understands what I'm going through," she told herself. She felt that her life was worthless because she could no longer function. She couldn't sleep, eat, or focus on anything. She was irritable and couldn't seem to get along with anyone anymore. She was disappointed and ashamed that she had let herself sink so low. She tried her best to pull herself out of this "funk." But she felt stuck. She felt guilty because her family deserved better treatment than she was able to give them. She concluded that they would be better off without her.
One day, while having an annual medical exam, Sharon's doctor asked how things were at home. Sharon began crying uncontrollably. When her doctor suggested that she was suffering from clinical depression, Sharon was surprised. She should have known, but she didn't.
The doctor prescribed anti-depressants and made an appointment for Sharon to talk with a therapist. Sharon didn't notice any improvement for a couple of weeks. It started slowly, but she gradually began to feel more peaceful and content. At this point, she was able to think more clearly and tackle small steps, one at a time, to work toward taking charge of her mental health.
As Sharon took better care of herself, she grew stronger, which helped her to continue on the path to wellness.
When she met with her doctor for a six week follow up, she told him, "I just wish I had sought help earlier. I could have avoided so much pain."
Author Marsha Jordan is founder of a nonprofit charity called Hugs and Hope for Sick Children (http://www.hugsandhope.org). More of her articles on depression are in her book, Hugs, Hope, and Peanut Butter, a compilation ofthought-provoking essays illustrated with drawings by critically ill children. Proceeds from book sales will benefit kids battling cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. In this book, the author combines hope with humor, drawing upon her own experience of living with chronic pain and depression for thirty years. She opens her life and her heart to share everyday experiences and the lessons God has taught her from them.
Other essays in the book include, "Ten Tips For Beating Depression," and "Why Doesn't God Answer My Prayer?" Order the book or learn more at http://www.hugsandhope.org/book.htm
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