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Connie’s Story

“Depression is real; it can be dark and debilitating. “

Share your stigma experience.

Depression has been a blessing as well as a curse in my life. I can only express my knowledge/beliefs concerning Depression in hopes of providing pointers that might help others deal with their own experience.

Depression is a condition that involves biological and psychological aspects of the brain that are shared by those affected by it. Yet, it is unique to each person, making it difficult to express the nuances that differentiate one person’s Depression from another’s. It can be genetic as well as reactive, and often is both. Thus a person with the a genetic propensity for Depression (check out the MTHFR gene mutation) is more likely to go into a Depression when stressed than a person without this genetic make-up; still, a person without a genetic marker for Depression can also become deeply Depressed.

Members of my Family experience more genetic Depression than the general population. At least twenty-five percent, or four, of the 16 children in my generation have been diagnosed with Depression, followed by many second and third generation Family members. Unlike physical conditions, Depression often is invisible because people hide it, thinking it is their fault or that others will judge them as being weak or “crazy.” As a result, rather than be open about being Depressed, people often deny or mask it by “putting on a happy face.”

While genetic Depression can play havoc in an individual’s life, it can also build strength and success. Despite — and maybe because of — experiencing Depression and it’s close companion OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), I was able to have a successful Library career and, after retirement starting a dog sitting business that now has turned into part-time dog walking and sitting. Unwise financial decisions, coupled with my propensity for Depression, culminated in a Major Depression that lasted from 2015-2017. The good news is that I had built a strong foundation for good mental/physical health practices and had exceptional support from family and friends, resulting in having minimal Depression after late 2017. Additional good news is that there are
almost anyone with Depression can also deal with it by employing many psychological and physical health habits.

My hope is that in sharing my story, others will be emboldened to share theirs, and together we all can learn to make the most of this one life we have been given.

How did you overcome this experience?

“Learn to live with” might be better than “overcome”. Good practices, one moment at a time, e.g., walking, yoga, meditation, presence (zen, Eckhart Tolle, Tara Brach), gratitude, self-help, nature (sunshine, dogs, trees…), individual and group experiences/therapies, antidepressants.

PLUS: A relatively new therapy that I think is a game changer: TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) Therapy. Time will tell if this medical procedure will help change the brain to make it healthier.

Help others by sharing a brief, positive message.

Depression is real; it can be dark and debilitating.

It also can open you to the awareness of who you are. Knowing yourself, loving yourself, and believing in your ability to use your depression to your advantage, can create a life worth living.

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