Knowing how depression feels, personally, the last thing I wanted was for my oldest son to suffer with it too. At 15 he couldn’t have the coping skills or the experience to handle the tough life we were leading. In rural UT where we lived, teen suicide seemed like a hobby. Kids died from shooting themselves, overdosing on drugs and/or alcohol and disappeared. (Uintah County) Not my kid. Not if I could help it.
When everything in your life sucks except your vacuum, something has to give. I looked around my life and realized much of it was out of my control, due to the circumstances of it. So, what was in my control was my question. So pregnant with little kids, getting my own job wasn’t a good option, to improve my financial control. Finances control freedom and opportunity. I didn’t have a vehicle or a phone and lived miles from town. The closest neighbors were 1/2 a mile away and I had nothing in common with anyone I met. Living below the poverty level will do that. I couldn’t call my parents, living in Texas and what would I tell them anyway? They were affluent.
How do I explain where my life went after marrying? How do I tell them the daughter who grew up in an upper middle class suburb had to drive through the river in 3 places to get to her ranch? That I cooked on a propane run Coleman stove and over a fire. That I learned how to cook in Dutch Ovens for greater meal choices. Or that my family used a 2-seater outhouse and hauled water and heated water on a stove for bathing and cleaning. How bout that I fought Kangeroo rats that run across the tops of hanging clothes so my shoulders often smelled like urine? That I had no friends and no support system and how do I explain how my life came to be that way.
So no support system, money, transportation or communication, what could I control?
How I handled it. I could control how things effected me. I could read books, so I did. I read everyone of the 20 books I could check out from the library at one time from the Santa Clara UT library, where I lived then. I read every book by Wayne Dyer and Napoleon Hill and Andrew Carnegie and self help after self help book. I read other peoples journeys from the edge of their personal abysses and slowly began to feel better.
I looked for other things I could change in my life and I cut my waist length hair to my shoulders. When my husband had a fit, I cut it one inch long all over my head and dyed it dark ash brown. I wore less layers of clothes, spent time outside and started to get a tan. I started flowers from seed and planted them. I pulled trees right out of the ground as the untended yard was over grown with them. I painted a bridge on the property and read more books. I spent time with my children, when they wanted me to and tried harder to make our home life better and easier on them.
All those things helped as I am naturally a pretty upbeat person. But they didn’t solve the problem or the root of the problem or even the symptoms of the problem. I knew there had to be a solution to my depression. I didn’t know what it would be in 1993, or 1994 or 2004 or 2009. A lifetime of dealing with a saturation of sadness, running under the surface, while maintaining an outer appearance of everything being just swell and Hunky Dorry and my personal favorite, “Peachy!” (If you ever here me use that word in response to how things are going, just know it’s a lie and I’m covering my true feelings.)
(Still more on this subject of depression coming…)