Social media can be depressing; everybody's life looks so perfect, but it isn't so, even for Bloggers like me. It may look like I have this carefree life on Instagram, with loads of clothes and nothing else to do other than take photos of myself. In fact, the past 6 months I haven't blogged too much due to depression.
It started more than a year ago when my friend's son committed suicide. Somehow I got involved the last week of his life and tried getting his mom to do an intervention. It obviously didn't work. From the moment I learned he had died, I could not sleep. Every time I closed my eyes, I would start thinking terrible thoughts and see terrible scenes. I went months like this not knowing that I was slowly sinking in to a depression. It happened so gradually that I really didn't realize it until I was worrying about catastrophes all day long. It took about 11 months after the suicide for me to realize that it had started a waterfall of feelings and memories from which I had never dealt when I was younger.
When I was 19 I sunk in to a deep depression after transferring colleges where I had a hard time making friends. I felt very isolated and was judging myself so harshly for making a mistake in transferring schools. There were no medications back then, so somehow I muddled through it and transferred back to my original college, which I wasn't so crazy about to begin with. Eventually, it just went away, (and I feel fortunate because it doesn't always disappear). Until it didn't.
My doctor and I had a hard time finding a medication that would work. Two of them made me feel shaky where I couldn't control my muscles. I stayed on each of them too long because they were helping me sleep for the first time in months. Finally, I stopped and tried a couple more; and ultimately we found a combination of drugs that let me find some peace of mind. I still need to see a therapist to talk this through, but I haven't stayed at home long enough to find someone.
If you are to look at my Instagram photos on http://instagram.com/fashionoverfifty.wendy, it will look like I had this perfect life, which was far from true. That is one reason I am writing this blog post, so that women and young girls do not fall victim to comparing their lives with the bloggers they follow. You never know what is going on behind the scenes, and no one's life is perfect. Every blogger has a story of difficult times, I can almost guarantee it. And hard times do pass, as I have seen. Today, I am doing much better. It would still be good to find a therapist, if anyone knows of a good one!!
So remember, while perusing the internet, whether it be Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, or some other format that I don't know about, keep me in mind. Know that everything is not as it seems.
I sympathize. I struggled on and off for many years. Due to a couple of bad break ups, it finally got so bad I was feeling suicidal. After a lot of personal hard work, therapy, proper meds and the support of friends and family, I’m living my best life. But I know I’ll always be vulnerable to depression and I’m watchful for the signs. Now I know how to get help if I need it. Girlfriend, I’ve stared over the edge into that black pit. I wouldn’t wish that feeling on anyone. ❤️❤️❤️
I think I responded to your message, but I can’t tell at the back end of this blog.
If I did, then you know how much I appreciate your taking the time to write and to
share your thoughts. Your story is inspirational. Thank you for your support.
Hi Wendy. thanks for your honesty. The suicide of someone close is very difficult. My youngest sister committed suicide 5 years ago, and it will always hurt. There was no time for an intervention or to even know about it as she lived in France, and everything was wonderful when we spoke. Seeing the pictures of her after showed the real deal. I can see the same withdrawal in yours. I did try grief therapy, but after the first visit, I realized that this wasn’t for me. It took a while to come to terms with it, but life is different for us all. I am also from that generation that “dealt ” with stuff without meds and therapy, but I was fortunate to always have good friends to hash over these things. We would have dinner followed by apple pie and ice cream, and coffee or wine and discuss each other’s life and problems, and this got me through that time. 2 years ago, I was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer: very fortunate as although I did have a mastectomy, I didn’t need any further treatment. I had always thought of myself as being invincible, as I never got sick, always recovered quickly from everything, and for the first time, this body was out of my control. I found myself withdrawing; wondering why I should be here; would my absence make a difference. I wasn’t doing anything: just like a spiritual withdrawal from life. My friends weren’t there: one had passed and the other now has parkinson’s, so it was up to me. Believe it or not, but exploring creativity got me through that time and the continuing aftermath of my sister. I started to sew: first little things like sachets, then clothing, small quilts. Crochet: the monotony of the stitching and the doing allowed me to be free of the thoughts and feelings. I started to paint again, and slowly I came out of that period. I started to appreciate my life and the people in it. I realised how badly hurt my family would be if I wasn’t there, but worse if I had taken my own life. I still have to keep an eye on my emotions, because today’s world can take the air from you, but it is good. Find joy in little things. Sounds corny, but appreciating the color of the sky, the healing of a walk on the beach can be life changing. I think about those poor people in the Bahamas, what they have suffered and lost everything after that hurricane, and I am thankful for what I have, but wonder how I would survive a natural disaster like that. Didn’t mean to go on so, but you aren’t alone. There are ways through, and it all starts with gratitude.
At the end where I can see your comment it says the author is Dawn, but that it is in response to
a question from Giovanna. I am a bit confused. Dawn I think you wrote this meaningful letter to me and
I greatly appreciate it. I am glad you have found peace and solace for your pain. You are a very
strong woman and congratulations for making it through such hard times without feeling bitter.
You are right gratitude helps you live in the moment and appreciate what you have. That is
the answer to so many things today. Thank you for your support and insights. I greatly appreciate you
reaching out to me to share your story. If I can be of any help, let me know.
Warmest regards, Wendy
Thanks Wendy for being so candid and sharing! I think life is really tough for most. There is always something . For most I think we do our best and try each day. Some days just suck, others are good. That is a heart breaking story about your son’s friend and I am so saddened to hear about his ultimate choice. If he could have just held on one more day, maybe something could have been different.
We’ve corresponded via DM and I know you’re busy. If you ever need to chat feel free to reach out. Like Dory says “ keep swimming “? love and light to you
Well said Lori.
Wendy I also want to thank you for posting. It is so easy to just push on in your life, ignoring your own feelings. I enjoy your postings and now you have shared a very personal story with us. Thank you.
Thank you for your kind words and your support. It makes me feel so good to know that the
readers of Fashion Over Fifty are so compassionate. It has given me so much comfort.
I appreciate your taking the time to write to me. Warmly, Wendy
I too had episodes of depression after my friend committed suicide. I couldn’t get out of bed. It is real and It can kill.
Husband passed away recently and depressing thoughts are surfacing. Good friends and family are phoning me.
Just don’t want to spiral.
Thanks for sharing your story. Xxx
Thanks for sharing your story with me.. I am so sorry about your husband’s death
Talk about a change of life, I don’t think it gets bigger than this
You are very realistic, so if it happens again, I hope you can catch yourself.
If you feel like you are going down that road, go and get help, please
I greatly appreciate you reaching out. Warmest regards Wendy
Thank you for sharing this. I know all too well about depression. My husband has suffered his entire adult life never quite finding something that works. He has gone through TMS (transcrannial magnetic stimulation), electroshock therapy and every medicine you can think of…and then some…all trying to get well. Both of my sons fight depression and anxiety. My husband, now 67, has dementia. I took early retirement to care for him and my life isn’t what I thought retirement would be about. I make jewelry and have loved doing shows…now out of the question because he can’t be left alone. Depression, mental illness – all need to come out from under the rug. More progress could be made if people shared that having this dreaded illness doesn’t make you a freak.
Keep fighting. Keep pushing. Keep traveling. Some people find help with meds, some with therapy. I wish you happiness. Thank you again for sharing.
I am so sorry to hear about your struggles. Dementia is hard on the caregiver as well as the patient. You need to
find someone or hire someone to give you a break. I don’t know if your sons are capable, but if so, you should
continue to do your shows.
My prayers are with you and your husband and sons. Thank you for your kind words and support. If there is anything I
can do to help, let me know. Warmly, Wendy
Thank you for your candor. You’re right…nothing is really ever as it seems. I, too, battle depression, something that several others in my extended family also deal with. Mine launched itself when I was faced with an unexpected job loss, and I felt I was also losing myself. I struggled to get my doctor to understand this wasn’t al isolated incident, but something I’d felt coming for a long time. The job just opened the floodgates. I’ve learned to (try) not feel I need to compete. I see all these fabulous lives online and directly around me (the perception others had of me for so long) while I struggle some days to get out of bed and get to work. I started my blog just for me as an outlet. I’ve learned I’m smarter, stronger, even sometimes funnier than I think! You’re in my thoughts and prayers for peace-filled days.
Thanks for your kind words and support. I am glad you seem to be dealing with your depression in a healthy way.
I started my blog about 7 years ago, and lately I have felt that it is very isolating which is why I couldn’t post
for a while. I will check out your blag and if I can help you in any way, let me know. I am glad to help.
I have depressive episodes and my husband and I have a son with schizophrenia, who is almost 55. When we brought him out here to California, he was in recovery. Due to the dual diagnosis, he suffers from an addiction to pot, as well as an eating disorder. which means that he is no longer in “recovery’. These behaviors have brought about a decline in cognitive functioning and a disconnect from social engagement. To help myself with depression and try to get our son the help he needs through county programs, I took the “family-to-family 12-week course through NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill). (Medications don’t work for me.). I also attend the NAMI monthly forum and the family support groups twice a month.
Thank you for the suggestion. I am going to look in to NAMI as now I am curious as to what
resources there are for people who suffer from depression. Thanks also for your kind words and support.
I will pray for you and your son. I can not imagine how hard that must be for you. You can write to
me anytime and I will get back to you. Many blessings, Wendy
Thank you for being so truthful ! I for one went through the same thing. I knew something big was missing so I turned to God. I ended up rededicating my life to Him and my life changed forever ! I was no longer alone. It was so comforting knowing that God my Father would never leave me or forsake me. You are so blessed because you could use your career to also win souls to Christ. He was the only one who would never leave me or forsake me no matter if I messed up or not. Oh by the way if you don’t already have one you need to buy a good study bible because if you understand it or not God will talk to you through his pages. ❤
Thank you so much for your wise words and your support. I do turn to God and get great comfort from that.
You are blessed as well having such a deep understanding of life and God. I am so happy for you.
I greatly appreciate your taking the time to write. Warmly, Wendy
Wendy I’m so sorry you are trying to deal with this on your own. That makes the struggle more difficult. Many of us suffer with depression. Some of us feel isolated & alone. It’s a tough disease. Mine is made worse with my medical condition, Cystic Fibrosis with COPD. CF itself is an isolating disease. I take medication and exercise. Reaching out to us was courageous and we love you.
Thank you so much for your kind words and support. I am sorry that you suffer with CF and COPD.
I am a Registered Nurse so I can just imagine how hard it must be for you. My blessings and
prayers are with you. Warmly,Wendy
Wendy, I have enjoyed your posts on Facebook for some time now & have watched you grow, my perspective, from perky & enthusiastic to mature & sophisticated. I had noticed a change, hoping it wasn’t based on your success, a distancing, a separation. Thank you for letting us know it was depression. Prayers for finding help overcoming. I look forward to seeing that sparkle again.
Your note means so much to me, thank you. It makes me happy that you noticed the changes.
You are a good tracker!! I appreciate your complement that I have matured and become
more sophisticated, also. It’s really nice to know that someone is paying attention.
Thank you for that wonderful support. I greatly appreciate it.
Warmest Regards, Wendy
Depression is very difficult. I have experienced it as well. Sometimes you get overwhelmed with life. I go thru periods of sadness, cannot sleep, crying. You are a very strong lady and I admire you so much. You have helped me – the Chicago experience helped with my self confidence. When you invited me to California to meet Priscilla made me feel special. I love you !!! Call me anytime ❤️❤️❤️
That goes both ways. You can call me anytime too. Thanks for your support girlfriend.
Love you, Wendy
I know very well what a depression means!
Ten years ago I was in the same situation and it’s a long and hard struggle to survive! But as you write a good Therapist is necessary to help you in combination with medication! I have find a good one and go every month to see her, I go also to
a group with Ladies of my age whit the same problems it’s very inspiring to deal some struggles we have and find solutions!
I understand that people on social media have totally another vision of the person they follow everything seems so perfect but they don’t realize that the person can also have problems!
It’s nice that you can write about your problem and life and that you share it with your followers, congrats!!!!!!!
I think I got back to you to thank you for your kind words and support. If I didn’t let me tell you how much I appreciate your support.
It looks like I may not have responded to your post in the comments. If so, I truly apologize. The back end of the website is
confusing for me. I appreciate your taking the time to write and I am glad to know something about you as well since I see you on
Instagram and Facebook. I pay attention to who is following me and I appreciate your support. Good for you that you found a good therapist. I haven’t had such good luck. And, yes friends are important too. I can tell that you are a good friend which in turn provides “the Village” we all need.
I am so happy to hear from you. Sorry of course that you have had difficult times as well, but life isn’t easy, is it? Please contact me anytime, I would enjoy hearing from you whenever. Warmest regards, Wendy
Wendy. I see now why I hadn’t heard from you. I am so glad to hear that things are easing up a bit. It’s tough to share experiences like this and I commend you for your strength. Our interview together is going to be published on October 7th. I will be sending you more information soon.
Hi Jo Ann,
Thanks for your understanding. I greatly appreciate it. Let me know when the interview comes out, will you?
Warmest regards, Wendy
HI Jo Ann,
Did our interview ever get published? Sorry I missed you at the convention. Hopefully next year.