A State of Mind…

10.3 million adults in the United States suffered some type of extreme depressive episode in the past year. 10.3 million! And 50% of them also suffered from anxiety. The numbers boggle my mind, and yet, I know that they’re true.

I’ve told you before that my journey into Social Media only started because I wrote Lottie Loser. But now I’m hooked, and every day I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Most of the people I follow, and who follow me, are involved in writing and an awful lot of them suffer from depression and anxiety. Is there a correlation? I hear over and over that most writer’s are introverts and for me that’s part of the puzzle. I am definitely an extrovert, and speaking engagements are one of my favorite things to do, so do people who are more reticent to be out among others also have more issues with depression and anxiety? I don’t know.

I am a strong woman, with a strong personality, so this is where I need to admit something that I’m not very proud of. I didn’t used to have a lot of compassion for people who said they were depressed. I thought they were whining, or looking for attention and that they just needed to get over it. I’m so ashamed of that now.

Let me take you back to 2017. I was retired, had won a National Award for Lottie Loser, and Call Me Charlotte was written. The world was looking pretty rosy. I signed with Southern Yellow Pines Publishing and was pretty sure I was on my way to being the next Nora Roberts. ( Okay, that part’s not true, but it’s fun to imagine!) That November I worked diligently on The Greysons during National Novel Writing Month, and was pleased with it; and then came 2018.

I started the new year off with a bad bout of vertigo, and for a week was flat on my back in bed. Any motion or noise sent me reeling, and it was one of the worst weeks of my life. Eventually I recovered but by now it was dead on winter, and I became like a bear. I just wanted to hibernate. I didn’t feel the need to write because I had one book heading into publication and one book ready to go, so I whiled away the months, waiting on spring.

In May we headed to Anna Maria Island for the release of Charlotte, but things didn’t go as planned. My mom was ill, the crowds that I had anticipated didn’t materialize, and I was distraught . From there the summer went downhill, and all of a sudden I was one of those 10.3 million people. Hurting, unhappy and yep, depressed. I couldn’t write, I cried all the time and kept looking for outlets to make my life whole again.

I am so thankful for the special people who helped me through my darkness, and even the meds that helped me regain the joy that I thought was gone forever. One day in the late fall of 2018 I realized that I’d forgotten to take a pill for several days in a row and called my doctor. She assured me that what I was taking did not need a gradual decrease, so I just quit. And that’s when I knew I was going to be okay. *If you are taking medication for depression or anxiety please talk with a medical professional before you stop taking them.*

Now everywhere I go people are admitting their depression, anxiety, and OCD issues to me, and I can be the caring, supportive friend that they need. Would this have happened two year’s ago? Probably not.

When I was in banking I liked to tell the people I worked with that you needed to walk a mile in someone’s shoes to truly understand them. I believe that today more that ever.

Anyone can suffer from depression; it’s what puts it in motion that’s different for everyone. But like with any mental incapacity, depression and anxiety are not issues that should be swept under the carpet, but need brought out into the light.

Today I have several friends who are dealing with depression in various stages, and I’m so thankful that they trust me enough to confide in me. A couple are Christians with a strong faith, and a couple aren’t sure of their religious beliefs, but for all of them their depression is real.

Once again I’m the strong woman that I was before 2018, but I know how easily that could change. I’m writing again, have started a local writer’s group, and am looking forward to my husband’s retirement in 2020. But never again will I discount someone’s feelings when they tell me they’re depressed. I’ve walked in their shoes and to be honest, I’m grateful that I did.

Until we read again…📚

Dana L.❤️

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