I can’t even believe I am typing this. What I really can’t believe is that I have finally gained the courage to share this with you all.
I, Jessica Evans Rebstock, have battled depression.
I, Jessica Evans Rebstock, have battled depression and overcame it.
You heard it right. I was depressed.
This post has been sitting in my drafts for about a year now. I never felt like I could get the ball rolling and I never felt like I had the courage to share my thoughts and feelings on this topic, but here I am on my social platform sharing this with you all.
It’s true guys…the happiest people can suffer from depression and I was one of those happy people you probably never expected to hear this from.
I always thought of myself as a happy fun-loving person. I know my family and friends would describe me as quite the extrovert with a high level of energy and a personality comparable to Lucille Ball.
So here it goes…
After my mom was diagnosed with cancer, I was forced to grow up REALLY fast- basically overnight. I remember going to bed the night after my mom found her lump telling myself, “Jess…this is it. Your childhood is in the past. When you wake up, your world will be different, you will be different and everything you have ever known will be different.”
For a girl who likes routine, I was in for a rude awakening.
I have no siblings and during that time I was living away from home. Also, many of my family members lived away and to be honest, the people I had to lean on were my close friends and my sweet little ones who gave me such purpose and unconditional love when I didn’t love myself.
At that time, I think people were afraid to ask me how I was doing because, let’s face it, how do you talk about this? Clearly, I wasn’t okay. My closest family and friends knew this just by looking at me and I think that made the topic even more awkward.
Someone once told me, “You lost your spark, Jessica. What is wrong with you?”
This was a very defining moment for me because this is when I realized I was no longer the same girl. My secret, the one I tried so desperately to hold in, was now out. I was no longer able to hide the fact that I was suffering.
I have tried to figure out how I got sucked down this rabbit hole and spent a lot of time trying to figure out what these feelings were because I had never felt this way before. Many days I thought to myself, “Me? Really? ME? Depressed? How did I get to this point? How did I let myself get to this point?”
What I finally realized is that this was not me. This was not my fault.
As I’m typing this, I remember that day and it felt like my life went up in flames in a devastating house fire. I literally felt my whole world, my home base, my mom, her life and our lives were engulfed in flames.
Do you know how it feels when you fall asleep, but dream you are awake and try to physically wake up, but you can’t?
This is how I felt every day.
I didn’t outwardly express what I was going through and bottled it up for quite some time until I could no longer stand the person I was becoming.
I hated who I was. I hated how I felt. This is when I knew I was in trouble.
At the time, I was only 19 years old and I wanted to still have a life of my own. I was changing as a person and still growing in so many ways, but my priority was my mom. My only concern in the world was making sure she would live.
No pressure, right?
Finally, I reached the point that I knew I had to talk to someone. I cried out to Jesus for help every. day. of. my. life. and I know He heard me.
I don’t think many can say they know what Jesus’ voice sounds like…but I do. I heard him and felt his presence and this, my friends, is what saved me.
Jesus saved me.
I spoke to a priest who I felt would give me answers and listen to me because that’s what I needed. I needed someone who would just let me cry, say what I had to say and ultimately help me regain control because, I’m going to be honest, I had lost touch with who I was.
I missed that girl who was obnoxiously happy. I missed that girl who found every reason to laugh and was often the source of laughter. I was yearning for her to resurface from the rubble she was buried under.
It’s a very strange feeling to miss yourself.
I’m only talking about this and sharing this with you for one purpose, and that is to spread awareness that depression wears many faces. It is worn on the face of small children and on the elderly. It is worn on the face of those who are outwardly happy and sad.
There is no set profile of a person who is suffering with depression. There is no sign above someone’s forehead reading, “I am depressed. Please help me.”
Many times the signs are right in front of us but unfortunately, sometimes they are not.
Do you have a friend who use to be the life of the party but has suddenly distanced his/ herself from you or the people he/she use to hang around with?
Do you have a family member who is hinting around that they are experiencing profound sadness?
Talk to them.
Is there someone in your life who needs to talk frequently and seems to turn to you for guidance?
Listen to them.
So listen up. I’m speaking to YOU who may be reading this and are looking for answers. I’m speaking to YOU who may be suffering in silence. I’m speaking to YOU who may be at the end of your rope and looking for a way out.
Are you looking for a sign? Consider this it. Are you waiting on a prayer to be answered? Consider this as God’s message being sent to you through me, His messenger.
Please. I’m asking only one thing of you. Talk to someone. Please, learn from me. Learn from US, the tribe of those who have suffered with depression. You do not have to battle this alone. You are NOT alone and never have to be alone.
The first step up the ladder is reaching up and grabbing the hand of those around you. I promise, the people who help you WILL pull you up with all of their might.
You are the one that must make the first move.
If there is anything you take away from this article, my hope is that you know that through faith, family and friends, you can overcome this.
Know that YOU are not depression. Depression does not define who you are. You are a person and someone who is valuable and worthy of all the happiness life has to offer.