Depression. It’s not a word I ever expected to hear associated with my name.

I mean, I was always the glass-half-full kind of gal.

I ran at full force and more often than not I did it on 5-6 hours of sleep. The pace never bothered me and frankly I liked it because it kept my mind going too.

And then something {or a lot of somethings} happened and it all came to a halt.

Depression new me - theCityMoms

Damnit, Danielle! How can you be depressed? What could you possibly have going on in your life that you would need to be depressed?

As it turned out, not much and yet a lot… And while the reasons themselves are less important than the reaction I was having to them, I found myself in a serious state of depression, all triggered by a miscarriage. It was time for me to branch out and seek other coping mechanisms because bursting into tears in the car because your kid accidentally spilled chocolate milk all over himself {and the car. and the carseat.} was a tad ridiculous. I wouldn’t have accepted this behavior from myself before: I thought everything was a challenge and most things were fun to conquer. But all of that shifted 4 years ago:

I had a miscarriage. And then another. 

Following miscarriage #1 I experienced horrific migraines that lasted a month or longer apiece. Same for miscarriage #2. In fact I was stoked when my son was finally born following these because I figured the shift in the hormones would mean the migraines would disappear. But to my dismay, that didn’t happen at all. So I continued trucking along, 2 kids, migraines almost daily, a practical zoo of rescue animals at home, and additional things to keep myself distracted from the migraines.

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Now don’t get me wrong: I’ve always been a busy body, but I found {and so did the friends around me} that any little stress could set me off. I later learned the root of my depression was because I had lost and was mourning the woman that I used to be. I’m not talking about losing yourself in being a mother. I think that happens to us all! I’m talking about the realization that I couldn’t bring back my old self no matter how hard I was trying. No matter how many outings I went on pretending my head was fine so that I could try to get a sense of normalcy, or keeping myself busy with projects to the point where I stopped enjoying the projects. Another round of migraines would begin and by the next month, I wasn’t interested in going back to finish.

This chronic affliction was affecting my kids, my friends, my family, and my co-workers.

Realizing that my “disability” wasn’t going away after almost 4 years was a punch in my gut. I consulted with SO many doctors – some were helpful and some were not, but I finally got to the point where I just didn’t want to do anything because it all acted as a trigger. No matter how grumpy I looked or short I was with another person in the moment, it didn’t compare to the never-ending internal pain. My best comparison? My glass was no longer half full, but pouring out like Niagara Falls.

My life had changed so much in the pursuit of happiness that I ended up more or less destroying connections with the people in my life – I had no way of filtering the migraines or how unhappy they really made me. I have trouble going out with friends like I used to, I don’t drink like I used to, I couldn’t have my kids causing chaos like I used to. Couldn’t work out like I used to. Couldn’t eat like I used to. Couldn’t sleep like I used to {even now it is more like 8-12 hours of sleep}.

Was this really how my life was really supposed to be?

Was I spending more energy chasing the person I used to be rather than putting effort into how I wanted my future life to look? I wasn’t allowing myself room for new experiences. And I found myself deep into depression. I spent a week considering suicide. I’ll say that again. I spent a week considering suicide. This coming from the gal who used to be glass is half full and could find a reason to smile about a lot.

I was headed down a path I didn’t want to pursue, though I also did not know how to cope with my new found feelings. And two other miscarriages. And yes, of course I started to see a counselor, and yes of course I had a very small group of people who were aware checking in on me often. Do you know what the hardest part about depression was for me? To continue to see family, friends, and others going on about their days and seeming not notice or care that I had changed so much. The most ironic part is that I am pretty sure that it wasn’t the other people who had changed, but it was me who had changed. And depression set in hard once I realized that there was nothing else I could do, but to find a new path, a new me.

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That didn’t mean leaving all of my friends or the other experiences behind like I imagined would happen, but being ok with not doing ANYTHING if that is how I felt in the moment. That is how I happened to feel more and more. That I had to let go of so much in order to really start over.

The crappy thing about this realization too is that it doesn’t happen overnight and I am still struggling through the hurt of loss (of who I was), the pain that comes with migraines, and the looks on peoples faces when I choose to spend time alone, which is unlike me. Or unlike the old me rather.  

People think depression is something you can just snap your fingers at, think positive thoughts and will get better.

I am telling you it doesn’t work that way because I tried it, though it definitely helps. I tried it for a long time before I knew I was failing at it and no amount of positive thinking was cutting through that painful veil of migraines or wishing away hormones.

There is so much more to the story and so many factors, but the bottom line is that many of my friends and family had no idea – you literally do not know what is going on inside of someone else’s head.

What you can do: If your friend seems to be withdrawing, reach out and see what they need. If you are that person withdrawing, remember that there are helplines you can seek out with a simple google search or schedule an appointment. Also please remember that pain will come and go, but you are important and can seek help. It took me awhile to seek someone out because I thought I could handle things on my own, but they can be helpful and most of them are. The suicidal thoughts have gone now, but there are some days where I think “Dammit Danielle, you aren’t depressed anymore – snap out of it.” Though as the holiday season comes closer please remember to be kind as you never really do know what someone else is going through.

Bottom line: I am a painting, horseback riding, reading when I can, animal nurse with two beautiful kids, who might have to stay in a bit more, drink a bit less, be quieter in the crowd, and forgive and love herself for all of those little flaws that really aren’t there. I am slowly becoming more aware of this new me that I had to find and it’s becoming a fun journey.

Have you ever had to find a new you? Good luck to you on your journey.

MORE INFO: If you or someone you know is suffering from depression and/or contemplating suicide, please call 800-273-8255 or visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website



Danielle Fuller - theCityMomsMomma to an outgoing girl, rambunctious boy, and wife to a gamer, Danielle Fuller is a lover of animals working as a registered animal nurse.

From reading to horseback riding to sports, MNOs, playdates and more, Danielle has previously worked as our Director of Events {but is excited for a to-be-announced-soon role!}, has an infectious smile and loves keeping busy with theCityMoms.