Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Fall-ing into depression?
It’s fall. Sometimes, a tough time, as daylight hours shrink and temperatures cool off. The third week in September brings with it the anniversary of both the death of my mother as well as one of my brothers and conversely, the birth of my firstborn son. While his birthday is a happy time, it is also a reminder of how much I miss him and of how quickly time goes by.
It’s been more than a quarter of a century since I brought one of my greatest joys into this world. I still remember leaving the hospital with the tiny bundle in utter disbelief that I would be trusted to keep him alive while praying fervently that I would not mess him up! I did keep him alive.
This year, I am also keenly aware of finding myself fighting the pull of depression. Depression has visited before. The feeling of despair comes upon me and I work hard to shake it off. Its heaviness sits on my chest, weighing me down, leaving me unable to do much more than sleep and creep through the minimum requirements of the day: slog through work, make an appearance at events — and occasionally push myself to the gym. All the while knowing the feeling is temporary and the aforementioned activities are helpful in expediting the process.
I rely heavily on friendships to share it and work through it, knowing it will pass. While I think many who see me day-to-day will be surprised to realize I suffer from bouts of depression, I realize it might be more invasive than I am aware of to those who are closest to me. I recently confided to a close friend, “I am feeling like I am falling into a funk again.” To which she replied, “Not so much again, but more like still in one long one.”
That was an eye opener! I do my best to be upbeat and positive and seemingly only share my despair with those in my inner circle. Lucky them!
In the past, I would feed myself what I was sure was the antidotes to melancholy: sugar in any form but primarily chocolate, alcohol in a variety of forms but primarily vodka and red wine, comfort foods of the most familiar sort but primarily in the form of carbohydrates — pasta, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, Mom’s simple celery and onion stuffing recipe. Surely these few comforts would help me to feel better. And they did. For a minute.
For me, getting over these bouts usually just takes time. I consciously focus on the positives in my life and express gratitude during my morning rituals. This year, as I feel what I know to be the pull of despondence, I remind myself of my good fortune in relationships, health, work, home, etc. More often than not, depression gives way to hopefulness. I get outside and point my face to the sun. I trade the blues for cheerfulness and get on with my day-to-day.
I know for others, depression makes a longer, more determined, appearance in their lives. I write this to encourage you to speak up and seek help if you are feeling like this time it might be insurmountable. There are a number of resources in our county, many of them available at no cost.
Everyone has tough times. Everyone experiences sadness now and again. However, when the dark days outnumber the light, consider seeking professional assistance. There is no shame in asking for help. Sometimes we just need the tools to work through the emotion. While they may have their place, I know for certain there are much more effective remedies out there than chocolate, wine or macaroni and cheese!
If you think you may suffer from depression or are having suicidal thoughts, please pick up the phone and call 1-800-273-8255. Reach out to your family physician, a licensed therapist, your clergy or a trusted friend. Locally, Anew Day offers a variety of services at no cost. They can be reached at 530-470-9111.
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is the business development manager at The Union. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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