Support Systems


Real talk time.  The start of this year has been a tough one.  My first three months after moving to Houston were like a honeymoon phase.  I loved my job, I loved my house, I love my roommates.  I really felt like I had found my home…if not for forever, for a very long time.

Unfortunately, over the past four weeks or so, an old friend has come to visit.  This old friend is one that I don’t particularly care for and is never invited, but likes to pop up at least once a year or so.  This friend will stay for anywhere to a week to several months.

This old friend is no friend at all.  It is depression.

When I first diagnosed with clinical depression about seven years ago, I was thinking that a few months of therapy and a dose of antidepressants would get me on the right path.  Actually, that worked!  At least, temporarily.  Life doesn’t allow that to last too long though and eventually, depression will come back around.  Sometimes because life hands you stress and other times, it will just sneak up out of nowhere.

That is what is has felt like for me lately.  Seemingly overnight, my coping mechanisms no longer work as well, I lost interest in activities I used to enjoy, and small annoyances become major triggers.  Most people are surprised to learn that I suffer from depression and just how bad it can be because I am so high functioning.  I can really look like nothing is wrong, but I promise that my depression is like a duck sitting on top of the water.  From above the water, it just looks like a duck out for a pleasant float on the lake.  Underneath the surface, a frantic pace of treading water just trying to stay afloat.  This is how I feel when I am depressed.

I feel fortunate that my recent bout seems to be nearing an end, although I know there will be more in the future.  I will manage them as they come, just as I managed this one now.  I also feel fortunate because I have an amazing support system.  This is not something that can be done alone.  You have to have a support system and if you don’t have one…find one.  There are good people out there who want to help.

My support system is my roommates.  They have been so patient and understanding as they watched me cry tears they didn’t understand.  They didn’t grow frustrated when I didn’t want to participate in activities that in the past I would have, rather they found other activities that I did feel up to.  Sometimes, they simply sat and held space for me.  I am eternally grateful.

Our ego often wants to tell us to go it alone in this world.  We don’t need anyone!  We don’t need help!  Your ego is not your friend in this situation.  Send it packing along with your depression.  Ask for help.  It will also be the easiest and the quickest way of finding out who your real friends are.  If someone can’t be there for you when you are low, then don’t allow them to be around for the highs either.

So, this post is a thank you note to my roommates or anyone who has been a support system to someone suffering from depression.

If you yourself are suffering right now, please ask for help.  You deserve it.  It is all going to be ok.  I promise.

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