I think the very first time I felt the ugliness of depression was shortly after I gave birth to my first child. I had this naive idea of how life was going to be, but that idea was quickly shattered. It was a different time back didn't talk about your feelings, at least not in my family. It's just doesn't always go as you want and you just deal with it. But for me I couldn't get past that feeling of loneliness. I felt like a terrible person that I didn't even deserve to be happy or be my beautiful baby girls momma. I would sit on my bed crying with my baby right next to me and take a paper clip and dig it into my wrist hoping to just end it. Of course I didn't even break skin...too afraid to really hurt myself. I think that was the beginning of my struggles with depression. For years after that I could be surrounded with people I love and still feel like I was all alone in a room. It felt like life was continuing for everyone else and I was stuck in this dark place. Life continued with good days and bad. Moved around, gave birth to another beautiful baby girl. Still that feeling of emptiness and sadness continued. I got really good at faking it…on the outside it looked like I had everything….a family that I loved with all my heart and always a warm place to lay my head at night. But yet I was sad, that feeling of being alone was always there. I got counseling and got on meds and that's helped. Yet still, I hit rock bottom a few times and thought I didn't want to live anymore. I started writing in a journal and taking care of myself...started living for me and chasing my own happiness.
What I've learned through my dark days is that life isn't always going to go as planned, but it does go on and there is always so much to be thankful for and find happiness in. I have many many many more good days than bad days now. I've learned to appreciate the little things in life and not take it for granted. I hope I never see that ugliness of depression again, but if I do, I know I will get through it.

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NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. Learn more about NAMI on their website