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  • Writer's pictureKristy Barkley

The Storms of Depression

Depression and Anxiety are real jerks, am I right? Sometimes they come up out of nowhere and surprise the hell out of you, like a tornado when you were listening to audible, rather than the news. Other times it is a slow roll, like those storm clouds you see on the horizon, but they are moving so slow, that you are certain they will go around and miss you. Yet suddenly you are in the middle of downpour trying to unload the groceries from your car.

If you know, you know. If you don’t, thank your lucky stars and read on so you can show some empathy next time you realize your best friend is not returning your calls, cancelling plans, and basically going MIA.

It is so easy to take some else’s depression personally. You think maybe you caused it, but you cannot control anyone else’s feelings or thoughts, so let that go right now. It is also easy to make it worse, by telling them things like “It can’t be that bad”, “anyone else would love to have your life”, “what do you have to be upset about”, or simply “come on, let’s go out, you’ll get over it.”

What can you do? Show up and be okay sitting quietly with them and letting them talk when they are ready. When I am depressed, there is nothing better than just having someone near me, rather than avoiding me and saying, “well I didn’t want to make it worse, so I thought I’d give you space.” Let me just say, there is a huge difference between a fight and depression or anxiety. If you are in a fight, maybe give the person space. If they are depressed, maybe show up with some ice cream and a comfy blanket.

It has been years since I have dealt with depression and overwhelming anxiety. Like a solid 5 years, and that seems like forever to someone like me who has been diagnosed with hereditary depression and severe anxiety. Part of my gut health journey led me to a life full of happiness and the strength to push through every trial without being overwhelmed, depressed or extremely anxious.

Unfortunately, the situation I find myself in now, has me feeling lower and more out of control than I have been in a long time. There are so many factors and alone, I would probably be good, but all together, they have slowly become too much. If I had the option, I would honestly spend the rest of my year in bed reading. I mean I would get up to do stuff for Andrew, but while he wasn’t at home, I would choose to lay on the couch and read. In fact, I have finished 5 books in the past 9 days and that is while I didn’t read for 3 days while travelling! Reading is my escape. What is yours?

Here is the thing, because I recognize what my coping mechanism is, I am able to recognize that I am on the edge of a depression that becomes hard for me to pull out of. If you know what your coping mechanism is when you start to feel out of control and sad and avoiding activities, then you can get help before it is too late.

That is what I’ve spent the last 2 days doing. Going to the doctor for help with a medicine, and spending hours on the phone trying to establish myself as a new patient with a therapist. What a pain in the butt that is!!

Realizing that I am losing control and getting help is a huge step for me. I would love to be able to say that my “chill pill” probiotic that is scientifically proven to decrease sadness and anxiety has solved everything, and honestly, it’s been pretty amazing, and I recommend it for anyone suffering. It is likely the reason I have made it this long without feeling so sad.

But between moving to Knoxville, still having no friends 10 months in, working through Andrew’s sensory processing disorder and helping him navigate school (and honestly not doing very well), my business not doing as well as I’d like it to, and the tall guy’s job falling through (and taking with it his 3-year plan to retirement), and the potential of moving again, I am a very hot, sad, overwhelmed, anxious, mess.

It happens, sometimes life spins out of control. The big choice comes with what you decide to do about it. I spend 98% of my time sharing about how happy and excited I am about all things Kristy’s life, and all of that is honest and true. Because of my decision years ago to live out loud and vulnerable, I feel like it is only fair to share the bad when it comes, and that is what you are getting.

It is happening, the honesty in my sadness begins today. I will also share the journey out of the depths that I am in, what is working for me and what isn’t. I will hopefully have tips for you if you are loving someone who is suffering from depression or anxiety as well.

Together we can do hard things. I refuse to let there be a stigma around mental health issues, and that includes my own.

Let’s work together.

  • How do you know when it is time to get help?

  • Do your loved ones support your desire to get help?

  • What works for you?

  • Is your depression situational or hereditary (it can be both)?

  • Have you shared your sadness with your friends, or hunkered down by yourself?

And finally, send me all of your favorite book suggestions, because I will be reading a lot of books during this process!!

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Oct 20, 2022

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