The struggles with depression

The other night I was laying in bed and couldn’t sleep. I was messing around on Facebook and pulled up my statuses from 2007 (since Facebook makes it, sadly, way too easy). I was such a mess. I think 2007 was one of my worst years for me. Well, 2005 to 2007 was all pretty bad, but 2007 was the worst.

I really seemed like a normal kid in high school. Aside from the fact that I probably smoked too much weed and started drinking at 16, I was just like all the other kids. I had a good group of friends that I hung out with and was dating a guy that was really good to me. During my senior year, I met a girl who won my heart over. Unfortunately, I didn’t know that she was a mess of issues. We started dating in the spring of my senior year. She was the girl who started me down a long road of depression (not her fault- just where it began).

I went to Georgia State and she went to North Georgia for our freshman year of college. I had no idea what I wanted to major in but figured I’d decide eventually. I was living with a friend from high school and made a few good friends over the semester. Courtney and I visited each other, but she was cheating on me and would go days without talking to me. I decided to transfer to North Georgia and do ROTC with her to “save our relationship.” I spent my whole first semester of college drinking heavily and very depressed. I drank close to every single night and was miserable. By the time I made it to North Georgia, the girlfriend was gone. She dropped out of college and I was alone.

The depression continued, but I met Andrew, my next boyfriend. Andrew and I had a lot of fun together, but I was really dependent upon him for my happiness. I remember when he lived out of town for one summer, I would cry every weekend when he went home. I mean, really? I still saw him close to every weekend. I was so dramatic. He also lied about little things all the time, which always made me feel like he didn’t really care. I only made it through ROTC for one semester and then dropped out. I moved back home and began working as a dental assistant on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday while doing my prereqs on the other days and hoping to go to dental hygiene school. I continued smoking far too much weed and spending all my time with Andrew.

One day, I talked to my roommate from ROTC (Shelby) and she said she joined the Army. This sounded like a good idea, so I joined the Army too. Andrew ended up joining the Marines shortly after I signed my paperwork, and he left in December while I waited until February to leave because of my job. I still remember one of my office moms telling me how much happier I seemed without Andrew around. She said it was like a weight was lifted off of me. Even in that “happy” time, I was still always in a constant state of sadness. Since I had moved away from college, I hadn’t kept in contact with any college friends. I only really hung out with Gina and Laura on weekends and spent me weeks working and in school.

After I came home from basic and AIT (I joined the Reserves), I moved into a dorm hoping to make friends on campus. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a freshman anymore, so everybody had friends. Andrew and I were still together, but his training was much longer than mine so he was still in San Antonio (where I trained in the summer, so we actually spent our summer on the same base, training for completely different things). Things became rocky with us. I still didn’t have any friends other than my high school friends, who were both in school downtown.

Then Andrew and I broke up. This was over Thanksgiving of 2006. He immediately began dating somebody else. I was due to move into an apartment off campus, which I did over Christmas break. I was starting what would be the worst of my depression over Christmas of 2006. When I moved into my apartment, I met my neighbor while I was outside drinking one night. We became drinking buddies, drinking close to every night together (we could walk to the bars). I became obsessed with Andrew, who now had a new girlfriend. I believe I’ve said before that his girlfriend was the reason I got into fitness. She was a fitness competitor and I thought if Andrew liked girls like that, then I should be like that (the messed up thoughts of a depressed girl).

I still never worked out at that point. I found out in March of 2007 that I’d be deploying in 2008. I continued with my education. I had finally decided I wanted to do nursing, so I was on track for that. I continued drinking every night and also continued to be depressed, but I maintained my grades. I started training off and on for deployment in the fall of 2007. When fall semester ended, I moved back to my parent’s house and enjoyed a little time off before deployment.

I began dating one of Andrew’s friends casually, and I had a ton of fun with him. He’s a great guy and had always been there for me. Obviously, I was deploying, so it wouldn’t work out…

I left for Iraq in March of 2008, excited to be away from Andrew and my life at home. I was still feeling depressed about everything, but noticed an improvement in my mood the closer the deployment got. By the time I left, I was feeling fairly stable. I was welcoming my time away with wide open arms! I was excited to spend a year away from guys and to just be single. I got into the gym with another girl who worked night shift and we spent every morning together lifting weights.

Then I met Jon. Our love story is dispersed through this blog already. When I returned from Iraq, I was accepted into nursing school at North Georgia. I rented a house and had a few friends that I hung out with, but a lot of my time was spent between my house and visiting Jon in Florida. I got into CrossFit and my life was on the upswing.

Over the last 4 1/2 years, CrossFit was really one of the biggest factors in remaining emotionally stable. I still had days or weeks where I struggled with feeling down. But I had an amazing gym and when I would go, I had people to talk to and distract me. Nursing school kept me so busy in my other time that my lack of close friends near me didn’t bother me as much.

Life remained fairly normal for the nursing school era. I did really well in school. Jon moved in with me. I kept working out. I don’t think I had many downs.

When he and I broke up, I was beginning to work as a nurse. I started doing two a days at the gym and working out nonstop. I met Crista, who ended up becoming a good friend and was a distraction during that time, when I felt kind of neglected by my high school friends. I struggled emotionally, but was always happy at the gym and was happy dedicating myself to being healthy. I started eating Paleo and started spending time learning how to cook. Although I was struggling a bit still, I started to learn to enjoy my time by myself. Some weeks were better than others, but I was managing. And then Jon and I eventually ended up back together.

Things have remained fairly consistent since Jon and I have been back together. He tends to keep my mood stabilized. My time with him seems to be the only time in the past 10 years where my life hasn’t seemed overrun by being depressed. I don’t feel dependent upon him in any way, but in reality, know that without him, my life would probably return to emotional shambles. It is actually extremely difficult for me to talk about depression. Extremely. You will almost never hear me say that word in regards to myself. I also almost never talk about it. It seems embarrassing to talk about it, especially with a life where I have been very fortunate to have everything I’ve needed.

I hid my depression very well from most people. Aside from Andrew, I only let Laura and my friend Alex in on it. Most other people knew I had some issues, but I don’t think they knew how deep it went. I was suicidal for close to three years. I still smiled at work. I still went out and had fun (or what looked like fun). I maintained my house, my job, my grades, my money. Responsibility prevailed. But I was a disaster on the inside.

I have no reason to have such a history with depression. My parents have been happily married for 32 years. They always loved us and provided. I was raised in the typical middle class household with a close group of friends. But it was there and it was real. I am actually fearful of having kids because of postpartum depression. I worry that one day, I will take another turn for the worse and go back down that road. I worry less now, but knowing how horrible it was keeps it in my mind. My thinking can still take on a very negative thought process when things go bad, but it’s something I work on all the time.

It does seem weird that CrossFit isn’t a consistent part of my life when it was so important in getting myself to where I am now. I look forward to having it back in my life and focusing on my health again when the time is right. Unfortunately, the older I get, the more things there are loading up my plate and the less time I have. I’m spread thin.

I have no idea where this came from. I guess I just started thinking about how my life was a few years back and how much it has changed. I am extremely grateful for that life I have now.

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4 thoughts on “The struggles with depression

  1. That can be a lot to go through but you came out strong in the end. I’m sure you know this but your up bringing doesn’t always bring on depression, it can happen to anyone. I hope you get into crossfit again as exercise can help with it.

  2. Wow I had absolutely no idea. This was really interesting to read, though I’m sorry you had to go through all of it. It’s funny to look back at where we were and who we have become. I am actually going along with that now.

  3. I remember most of this stuff all the way back to Courtney, Andrew, ROTC, joining the army, and dental assisting. We go way back like that. I had no clue you were so depressed though or ever suicidal. I do remember when you started doing crossfit how much you liked it, and you were the first person I ever knew to do it, I thought it was cool that you did because you were Crossfitting before it became so popular to :). I know it’s been really hard, but you’re super successful now and it’s so admirable that you overcame all of that to serve in Iraq, finish nursing school, and are in school again to better yourself more. Plus your relationship with Jon seems so much better :).

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