By Nina Sabin
In this blog post, guest blogger Nina Sabin shares her journey of overcoming years of depression by seeking medical treatment and getting to know herself better. Major depressive disorder affects approximately 17.3 million American adults, or about 7.1 percent of the U.S. population age 18 or older, in a given year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
I struggled with depression on and off for more than 20 years. It started as a teenager, though at the time we really didn’t understand that I was struggling. My parents viewed it as me trying to get attention and that I was overreacting.
It became full-blown depression six months after my second daughter was born. It started as post-partum depression but then developed into clinical depression. I couldn’t believe that I had everything going for me and yet I lived in this deep dark depressed state on and off for 20 years.
I was married, had two beautiful daughters, a lovely home, a stable job, friends, etc. I also went to church, read my Bible, and prayed daily. I couldn’t understand why I struggled with depression. I saw a psychiatrist and started taking medication, but it took almost a year to find the right dosage and type. I also worked with a counselor. I would be on the medication, feel better, and then go off the medication. Of course, this was done under the supervision of a psychiatrist.
I found reaching out on forums like HealthUnlocked, a social network for health, really helped me know I am not alone. There are others who struggle like I did.
After years of this battle with depression, I learned that first, my depression was situational. I lived overseas in Saudi Arabia for more than 16 years. Many times we would arrive back from our trips and I would struggle with depression upon arriving back to our home. I didn’t give my body a chance to adapt. I had too high expectations of myself at the time. The medication would help regulate the chemical imbalance that would happen due to my thoughts and emotions. However, I needed counseling along with the medication to truly get to the root of my problem.
I had to be aware of my triggers and avoid letting myself spiral downward. If I started to have that uncomfortable feeling that I knew could lead to depression or anxiety, I had to acknowledge my feelings, give myself a break, and not push myself too hard.
Through prayer with my friends and trusting God, I received comfort, peace, and strength. I would also journal my thoughts which really helped me let go of what I was feeling and give it to God.
Finally, through becoming a health and life coach, I have been on a self-awareness journey that has really helped me learn to beat depression. Self-awareness is huge for true transformation and making changes in our lives.
So often we truly don’t know ourselves, what we need, and how to listen to our bodies. We repeat the same patterns of behavior that really don’t help us. You always hear if you just think positively you will feel better. But the saying “easier said than done” comes to mind. So what I had to do was become curious about why I think a certain way or do things a certain way. Instead of being judgmental, I learned to look deeply within to understand myself.
I realized that I was so busy in the past doing things for others, focusing on others, that I never took time to get to know me. Getting better and making changes begins with looking into ourselves and caring for ourselves. Then, we actually become better not just for ourselves, but for those around us.
What truly made my transformation of beating depression was believing and knowing that I don’t have to stay in a depressed state and that I am a strong, happy person. Believing in yourself truly does make a difference in your life. Changing your mindset leads to the healthy person you want to be. As a health and life coach, I have learned you cannot do it on your own.⠀⠀⠀
Nina Sabin is a retired teacher who now mentors others struggling with life challenges such as depression, anxiety, motherhood, and relationships. She lives in Florida with her husband and has two grown daughters. She enjoys golfing, dancing, and traveling. You may visit her blog here.
Thank you, Nina, for sharing your inspiring story with our readers.
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