Adrienne Masler

Lessons in Home-Grown Magic

Coming Out of the Mental Health Closet

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Perhaps 2 months ago, some insights and realizations I’ve been slowly collecting for months and years finally clicked into place. I’m depressed and burnt out and have been for about 4 years.

In the immediate aftermath of this blinding realization, I only knew one thing for sure: I needed to cut WAY back on the activities of daily life. I was overwhelmed by finally identifying what was going wrong and it knocked the wind out of my sails. For several weeks I found it difficult to think clearly and logically, never mind getting up and taking action. At present, I’m not actively coaching or doing anything to build my practice. I’ve also asked for help from my partner, family, and friends and am blessed to have received it. My number one job is to take care of myself so that I can rest and recover from burnout and heal my mind.

The story of how I came to be depressed is also the story of how I could remain blind to it for so long. I want to tell this story in full and do it justice, but for now I will say that my whole world turned upside down when I found out I was pregnant despite having an IUD. Things changed so dramatically in both my inner and outer life that I lost my sense of continuity and the deep self-awareness I’d had up until that time. See, I expected my life to be difficult given these radical new circumstances, but I had no inner gauge for how hard was too hard. When people would ask how I was, I’d shrug and tell them I was doing as well as could be expected. I really believed that and had no way of knowing that in saying so, I was lying to myself and others. Dismantling that lie took years, and there are many reasons for that. I’ll share more about that process in the future.

Both my doctor and my counselor agree that depression is an accurate diagnosis. The most important things I’m doing to take care of myself are getting acupuncture regularly, going to counseling regularly, asking for help with the logistics and responsibilities of daily life, drinking plenty of water, and knowing when to call it quits for the day so I don’t undo my progress. As things improve, I’ll build on this foundation. I’m not currently on any medication or supplements; it doesn’t seem to be indicated at this point and I want to proceed with caution if it’s recommended in the future.

I haven’t told many people because figuring out that I’m depressed was such a shock to my understanding of myself and the choices and plans I’ve made. A couple months out, I’ve adjusted and can more or less wrap my head around it. Having done that, I want to start sharing my experience with depression and my journey from this point on. It’s my hope that putting my story out there will help others and become part of a badly-needed conversation about mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

This post is meant as an FYI to those who haven’t heard from me in a while and are wondering what’s going on. It’s also an invitation for questions and conversation about depression and postpartum depression in general and my situation in particular. If you have support to offer, I will gratefully receive it. If you need support, I’d be happy to listen to your story and share the resources that are helping me so far. Reaching out can be hard, but it’s not as hard as the daily struggle with depression. None of us are alone unless we choose to be.

2 Comments

  1. Hi my sister!

    so happy to hear from you. I couldn’t agree more with you that conversations need to happen around depression. So many women and men are in hiding with their struggles. I have many many years of experience with major depression and suicidality.

    i’m happy to say that today I am no longer depressed. It really can get better. Oh so much better. I’m so happy to see you doing whatever you need to do as well as asking for help to get better. I know you will.

    There is a slightly curved bridge between my first and second paragraphs that is the journey to healing. And in my experience all that is required is to keep walking across the bridge. One foot in front of the other. Eventually you will get to the other side. Just keep walking in between rests…

    Looking forward to hearing your tricks and tools and one day how your journey can help others…xoxoxoxoox Wendy

  2. Dear Adrienne,

    I am so grateful to you for your honesty and willingness to be open and vulnerable. Your story feels so familiar, particularly the part about the “as well as can be expected” answer. The next big step for me was accepting all parts of myself, even the depressed part. I had a hard time reconciling the truly joyful part of me, which was present alongside (and often underneath) the depressed part — it almost felt like 2 different people, neither of whom was fully me. Being able to embrace all parts of myself is a daily practice. My human self, my divine self — both perfect in their own ways.

    Thanks so much for sharing.

    Love,
    Julie

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