I was thirty-six years old when my Father passed away. He had been sick for about five years. I had made many trips to the hospital while I looked after him and my Mother.
After my Father died, my Mother started showing all the symptoms of depression. I did not understand what was happening to her. She developed sleeping problems, eating problems and slowly, all the things she did easily became impossible for her to do. She couldn't even balance her checkbook. She could not make any decisions. Eventually, she went to a Doctor at a mental health facility and started taking medications for her depression. She continued on the medication for the rest of her life.
All the time, I took care of my parents, I was raising two daughters with asthma. Life was a series of emergency room visits and trips to the Doctor. I was very busy and extremely stressed.
When I retired and we only kept one car to drive, my life became very small and more isolated. My family was gone and I felt like life was passing me by as age was creeping up on me. I felt depression and realized for the first time to be aware and careful.
Over the years when I am depressed, I remind myself that if I sit down and give up, someone else will be taking care of me. I try to look around and see the people that are so much worse off than me. I have never used drugs of any kind to medicate myself from the problems life brings to me. I know that many people, like my Mother need them, but I am doing okay.
When I wake up and don't want to get out of bed, I realize that lying in bed all day, ruins my body. Crying wears me out and I can only do it for so long. It takes so much energy to sit around and cry and there is nothing I can do about some of my problems. I take a walk or go out and work in my garden. I listen to the birds when it is silent. I am an artist and I paint or write when I feel like it. I have always painted when I can't cope with life. It gives me peace.
I try to remind myself how fragile life is and I never take it for granted. I remember family members in nursing homes not able to take a walk, and I try really hard to make every day count. We only get to live this life once, and every day wasted is gone forever.