I’m 54 years old and I now realize that I’ve have been experiencing depression and anxiety since I was in elementary school. I have been working since I was a teenager and I have learned that my depression seems to hit me the hardest when I am under a lot of stress at work. I will be fine for a while, start to feel overwhelmed and then it feels like I fall off a cliff and hit rock bottom really fast.

I tried going back to graduate school while raising 2 young children, which ended up being too much to handle. I had a major depressive episode that landed me in the hospital. I needed to be in the hospital to recover as well as to get my medication straightened out. It was helpful at the time and I have not been back since. I continued to have episodes that led to suicidal thoughts. Fortunately, I never attempted suicide, but just having the thoughts was scary enough. With the help of my therapist, psychiatrist, family and friends, I was able to pull myself out from that very dark place and carry on with my life.

After each episode, I have been able to go back to work, enjoy my family and friends, and have a positive outlook on life. My experience with depression has taught me that I can reach out for help when I need it and to surround myself with supportive people. I have had a great therapist and psychiatrist for the past 20 years, and both have guided me through the rocky road of depression through counseling and medication management. I try to take one day at a time. I find that listening to my favorite music, exercising, eating healthy, and laughing really helps stabilize my mental health.