When I was young life seemed grand and I would never have imagined I would be in for the ride I have had. I had the perfect little family from an outside perspective with a well educated father, a stay at home mother, and two healthy siblings. My father made a decent living and my mother was a great wife. The road ahead was brightly lit and my early childhood was blissful.
Sadly, that all changed about the time when I was four years old. You see, that was when my grandmother finally got enough of my grandfather’s abuse and decided to take her own life. She was 43 years old. My mother was only 26. Add to that that my mother had just buried her younger brother two years before and it was a recipe for disaster. My mother developed full blown bipolar depression and completely withdrew from the world. Somehow after nearly a month tucked away in my parent’s bedroom my mother emerged what seemed to be her old self.
Fast forward four more years through the good times, a better job for my father, a new house, etc and everything still seemed quite nice right up until the time it happened. When I was eight years old I went to the 2nd grade without a care in the world. Unfortunately when I came home things were very different. My mother had attempted suicide and was still in the hospital. When she came home a few days later she was different. I don’t know that she was ever the same after that actually. I was too young to remember what had kept things together for the last four years but whatever it was had stopped working and my mom was a wreck. She spent the next few years battling her depression in and out of hospitals and on a grocery list of prescription medication. She wanted to be happy so bad but just couldn’t find the answers she searched for. Through all the treatments and medications one thing my mother was never a part of was a depression self help group. She was always guided by health care professionals in her treatment.
Looking back I wonder if it would have made a difference, even a small one. You see, many mental health specialists will tell you that having emotional support can be the biggest key to successfully fighting depression. I don’t really think my mother had that most of those years. The time apart and her illness destroyed my parent’s marriage and it was many years before my mother and father spoke again. When they finally did reunite my father passed away shortly thereafter. My mother’s only family was her abusive father and younger sister who was in and out of prison and her children. We were too young to fully understand what was going on. It saddens me now to think how alone she must have felt with such a burden to carry and I wish she had known or been able to be a part of a depression self help group where she could have experience true empathy from people who understood what she was going through.
Find out how you can treat your depression through my easy to follow course. Find out more on how to deal with depression.
James Koehler runs a site dedicated to a depression self help group.