• Kristina Cherep

The Mental Health Setback I Didn’t See Coming...

Updated: Apr 18, 2020

The truth is... I’ve been struggling. If you’ve seen me in the past month there’s a good chance that you already knew this. My therapist told me she could tell the moment I walked into her office. She said I looked very flat and could tell my depression had taken over. Not my anxiety, but my depression. If you haven’t seen or talked to me in the last few weeks there’s a good chance you think I’m doing just fine. And I don’t blame you because that’s what my social media probably depicts. I’m not going to hide behind my ”picture perfect” posts anymore though. My mental health can’t hide it any longer.

There are many factors that are playing into this right now. One; I was diagnosed with depression three years ago, so it does and will sometimes flare up. Two; I am postpartum and because of my history with depression I am more susceptible to it. Three; and this is in NO way blaming my husband, but my husband lost his job unexpectedly. So there’s a lot of factors playing into this mental health setback. The last factor is the one that set me over the edge.

The unknown and life changes have always been some of my biggest fears. I think these fears come with the territory of having anxiety. It’s kind of surprising though that in this situation that’s not the mental illness that has flared up the most. My depression has. I have talked about this before... in a way depression is comforting. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s not. Crying and laying around starts to feel comfortable which is why a depressive episode is so hard to get out of. Personally, it is harder for me to get out of a depressive episode than an anxiety episode. For two weeks straight, every day, I cried. I cried everywhere it seemed. I would even just go walk in the bathroom and cry. The crying was accompanied by some anxiety attacks, but usually the crying was the stronger force. During those two weeks I was trying to schedule a therapy session, but unfortunately my therapist was having a family emergency. She offered to do phone sessions, but I knew she was going through so much and I didn’t want to put more on her plate.

I felt helpless without therapy. I‘ve been going to therapy for the past three years, but I was acting as if I had no coping skills or techniques to use. I found myself spiraling and stuck on the floor (that’s the place I go when I am at a total loss). I was also spending my free time googling things... which never ends up being a good idea for me. I was searching for smaller houses around the area thinking that we may run out of our savings and have to move out of our house. Or worse; have to move cities or states away. That made me even more sad because our house feels like a home. A home I don‘t want to leave.

I got out of my everyday crying phase once I was able to see my therapist. She was my reality check and reminded me of all of the coping skills I have learned over the years. Why didn’t I fall back on to these to help stop the spiraling? Not sure. The only thing I was wanting to fall back on was the floor.

The key tips I got from her right away were to...

1. List out things I am grateful for

2. Instead of using all my energy looking for something I really don’t want (a different house), spend my energy looking for something I do want (a job for my husband)

We then talked about other things too, but these were the biggest two things I took away from this session with her.

I was stuck in a very dark place for a solid two weeks. I wasn’t sure if it was going to have to lead to a hospitalization just because I haven‘t cried that much since my hospitalization three years ago. Luckily, I was able to get out of that very dark place. Even though I am out of that place now, I’m still struggling. Not “crying on the ground” struggling, but still struggling. I still will have my moments of random cry spells and intense irritability (that‘s one of my biggest symptoms of a depressive episode). However, I’m learning how to go through it instead of letting it drowned me.

Here’s a list of a few things I’m doing to help myself get out of this episode...

1. Going to therapy at least once a week

2. Meeting up with friends at least once a week

3. Writing

4. Helping my husband search for jobs

5. Being present with Charlie

6. Thinking about things I am grateful for

I’m writing this post moreso for self healing and to keep myself accountable, but I also hope this post helps someone else out too. I wasn‘t allowing myself to write about this for weeks because I felt guilty and selfish for being in this place. However, just because I’m a mom, doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to struggle. And just because it wasn’t me who lost the job, doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to struggle. I don’t have to hide it because that only ends up magnifying the pain.

I also hope this post helps someone out there that is struggling and looking at other people’s social media thinking everyone else’s lives are perfect. Let me tell you, they’re not! If you look at my Instagram or Facebook, you may think that my life is perfect. Hate to break it to ya... it’s not! That‘s the dangerous thing about social media; it being a highlight reel of people’s lives. Which is why I like to keep it real on here with my struggles; you can call it the real reel of my life.