I can’t even believe I am typing this. What I really can’t believe is that I have waited all this time to share this with you all. I, Jessica Evans Rebstock, battle depression.
You heard it right. I am amongst the millions of you who battle depression and it’s time we talk openly and freely about this.
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 and saddest 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 big personality, but the truth is that I am an extroverted introvert (it’s a thing, Google it).
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 wasn’t raised with 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. The truth is that it shouldn’t be awkward. It should be hard to ask your family members or friends because you are afraid of the outcome…
Someone once told me, “You lost your spark, Jessica. What’s 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. The truth is that I don’t like people to worry about me and I didn’t have the language to properly understand what I was dealing with.
I didn’t know depression doesn’t have a “look.” It’s you and me. That’s what depression looks like.
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 and it is not your fault either.
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 felt like my whole world had been 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.
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 (and therapy).
Jesus and my therapist saved me.
I have often said that sometimes Jesus uses other people to speak through us and that is who my therapist is. I’m thankful that we speak openly and freely about religion.
Very early on when I met with my therapist, I told her this analogy that made this very relatable to me, although I am a firm believer is God and his power, I felt like he knew I needed more. He knew I needed an Earthly being to help me or I would find myself at the end of my rope.
It’s like when fall and cut yourself and begin to bleed at a rate where it just won’t stop. You can pray for God to heal you, but you may need a bandaid or stitches. That’s what I needed. I needed to pull myself together stitch by stitch.
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?
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 suffer 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 who have the ability to lift you up. I promise, the people who help you WILL pull you up with all of their might.
I’m here to tell you depression does not go away. Ten years later and I am still fighting every day.
The bouts of depression are further apart now that I received the proper help I needed. The tools, strategies and tips I have learned along the way saved my life and I mean that.
I am here to tell you that there were two times in my life when ending it all felt like the best way out for me. I thought about removing myself from my circumstance two times in my life and I’m sitting here typing this today with a heavy heart mourning the loss of someone I loved who is no longer with us.