Depression Is Normal

Editor's Note: This article was written in summer 2023.

Depression...for some reason even in 2023 it still feels like it is something you should not talk about. Something that is hush-hush, which is so crazy because our mental health is just as important as our physical health. But it is still something that people hide and do not talk about. Often for fear of being judged, which should not be the case.  We do not hide a broken leg or a bout of the stomach flu. So why are we still hiding and judging our mental health?

Depression can happen to anyone. It does not matter how much money you have, how much support you have, or what the color of your skin is. You can even be in therapy and have every tool in your toolbox. You think you know everything and all the signs to watch for. But in the long run, none of that matters. Depression does not care about any of that.

It is sneaky, and it sneaks in when you least expect it. Once it sneaks in, oftentimes it stays longer than the most unwanted house guest.

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Several recent health concerns

I will be honest: This year has been hard for me. On January 11, I had my 5-year-old Smart Port removed because it flipped and was not functional. At that time they also placed a new one. It went perfectly. Two weeks later, my chest and neck were bright red, and I had a temp of 103°. I went to the emergency room (ER) and was found to be septic because the newly placed port was infected.

At that time, doctors also found that I had a giant blood clot that went from my right IJ, down through my brachiocephalic vein, and terminated in the superior vena cava, with clots that broke off and showered into both lungs and formed little abscesses. I was in the hospital for a full week on blood thinners and IV antibiotics.

Once home, I had 8 weeks of home IV antibiotics 3 times a day. One doctor told me that if I had waited even 12 hours, I would not be typing this. During those initial 8 weeks, I had to be completely homebound in order to get home healthcare and had to be careful about who could come around. So the depression was strong. I was seeing my therapist virtually every week to talk about this experience, and I thought I was good.

Depression setting in

But a little while later, I started to notice I was getting back into a funk. I did not really care about much. I wasn’t leaving the house often unless it was for something medical or to get takeout.

I did not say anything to my family about it. Since I live alone, I thought I was able to hide it. But my mom confronted me about it. She asked me what was going on and hy I was in such a mood. I did not really have an answer, because that's just how depression works.

Honestly, it’s just gotten worse. I left the house this weekend for the first time in like 10 days. I had not had any reason to go out. I was only going outside because the dog had to have a walk and go potty. If I didn’t have Annabelle Grace (my sweet Goldendoodle), I would not be leaving the apartment at all – or getting out of bed, if I am being really honest.

When you are chronically ill, anything can trigger a bout of depression, or for me anyway. I got sick 3 and a half weeks ago with a respiratory infection. Nothing big, just my normal run-of-the-mill bronchitis. But probably a week ago, I must have checked my temperature 15 times in one day. It didn’t hit me till later, but I’m terrified that I am going to end up septic and near death again. Logically I know it is not likely.

I think that that experience is the cause of my depression. People have asked me why I cannot just be grateful that I am here and alive. I am grateful – so, so grateful. But that does not change the fear of going septic or those fears triggering a bout of depression. We do not always know what triggers our depression, and we should not let anyone make us feel guilty for being depressed.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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