Some time around mid-July I realized that something was not quite right. I found myself struggling to sleep at night, I was skipping workouts and I was eating a ridiculous amount of food, sometimes to the point of feeling sick. My weight was creeping up and my energy level was lagging. I often found myself in tears, sometimes for no apparent reason. With my 50th birthday just around the corner I convinced myself that all these symptoms were just a part of getting older and that I would have to adjust to the “new me.”
Preparing for the big 5-0 and the celebrations surrounding the big day helped me rally for a bit, but by the end of August, I knew something wasn’t right. I finally decided to listen to that little voice in my head that was getting louder by the day and was trying very hard to tell me that I knew exactly what was going on and it had nothing to do with turning 50. I was not yet in a full blown depression, but the symptoms were there and I needed to do something quick or I was going to be in trouble. You see, I had had a very serious depression about 20 years ago and it was brutal. It impacted not only me, but my husband and two young children.
I have to say that the last twenty years have not always been easy, but I have been able to cope with whatever came my way. Unfortunately circumstances beyond my control began to infringe on the peace of mind I had worked so hard for twenty years ago-the death of a friend, the serious illness of another, seeing another friend grieve over the loss of her beloved husband, the suicide of an amazing young man, etc. I could go on, but you get the idea-lots of heavy stuff weighing on my mind.
Luckily I got the help I needed 20 years ago and came away with some strategies to use when I felt the darkness creeping in. I am not back to 100%, but I have spent some time writing about my feelings and giving myself permission to cry. I talk to my husband…a lot! Most importantly though, I decided to share my struggle with people outside of my family. Allowing others to see me at my most vulnerable is terrifying, but sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and believe in the goodness of others. You see, the biggest difference between 20 year old Kareen and 50 year old Kareen is the people I have surrounding me. I have a truly amazing tribe and I am grateful for every one of you. Thank you for helping me keep the darkness at bay.