Heart Led Health by Coach Donna

Wednesday / November 30 / 2011

Rescuing “me” inside Depressed Me

My cherished siblings Deborah and Mark [Christmas 2007 in Westminster, Maryland]
My cherished siblings Deborah and Mark [Christmas 2007 in Westminster, Maryland]

So… it’s 2:30 in the morning and I can’t sleep. Not really sure why. Just “one of those nights”, I guess. It’s times like these my mind seems to ponder the deepest. So after about three hours of wide-eyed tossing and turning, I opted to get up and write a note to my most cherished siblings.

I think we do a pretty good job letting each other know how much we all mean to one another. We’re one of those truly blessed families that has an appreciation and deep love for one another. An “I’m always here if you need ANYthing” sort of thing, even if it’s been awhile since we’ve touched base. I relish the comfort in that.

On that note, I want to recognize I haven’t been the greatest Keeper-in-Touch over this last year and a half or so. This whole chronic struggle has truly taken a toll on the real me… whoever that is. I’m not entirely sure I even know anymore. Certainly not trying to sound all gloom-n-doom, here, so hopefully you don’t read it that way. It’s really just part of the journey for me.

So back to the “it’s 2:30 in the morning and I can’t sleep”. Indulge me this moment, if you will as I give you just a glimpse into my heart.

Mark… you are the big brother little sisters dream of. Truly. The kindness in your eyes is undeniable. It’s so evident to your sisters how deep your love runs for us. Amidst all the teasing and joking (which we love, by the way), you communicate your profound love for us so clearly – and we cherish that in a way that can only be understood amongst the three of us. Know from the bottom of my heart how much you mean to me and how I’ll forever hold dear all the years we’ve shared together. We grew up together! I remember with fondness playing in the Play Room with the red carpet, being pen pals while you were in Turkey, and the many, many late night, long chats on the phone while I was at college. I love the father and husband you are and the way you so freely share your love and heart with all three of your girls. I love the way Ella calls you Papa as she curls up in your lap. I love the beaming smile on Colleen’s face as you cradle her in your arms. Your children KNOW they are loved and that brings such warmth to Debbie’s and my heart. I love the passion and zest for life you’ve instilled in your daughters as you encourage them to be all God designed them to be. You are my hero in so many ways.

Debbie… you are so beautiful, inside and out. There is beauty in every aspect of you… your face, your smile, your hair (with curls I envy) – but most distinctly, your inner most you. You make Mark and me better people just because we know you. You are selfless, relentlessly caring, and never much for glory – though you deserve so much of it. The dedication and behind-the-scenes detail you pour into every ounce of your family is admirable, at the least. You make me want to be a better Mom and Grammy. You inspire me to embrace my gifts and talents as I watch you inspire Lainey and Caroline to do likewise. Your daughters know they can do anything because you’ve shown them they can, and then you’ve backed it. You make me feel cherished and loved and special. You make me feel giddy down to my toe tips because I have the privilege of knowing you so intimately. Not to sound cliché, but you are the wind beneath my wings.

To both of you… you make me feel extraordinary, accepted, part of The Pack… warts and all. For that, and for so many other reasons, I’m thankful God gifted me with you as my big brother and little sister. My life would not be the same (nor nearly as fun) without both of you. Thank you for sharing life with me and for your willingness to embrace the sibling-hood we all cherish so much. Let’s never take it, or each other for granted – at least to the best of our very flawed abilities.

This, I promise to both of you.

Consider this one grateful sistah


My You Evolution™ friends, if you feel like you’ve just eavesdropped on an intimate family conversation, that’s because the above is an excerpt from the letter I sent my brother and sister one year ago, when I first began my self-discovery journey to rescue the “me” inside the Depressed Me. It was a year ago when I was left with no choice but to deal with my depression.

What a difference a year makes when you’ve taken steps toward your unique-to-you healing. Especially when surrounded by those who love you.

All of us have someone who needs us. I implore you to reach out. Communicate. Listen. Be the assuring voice that reminds, “your life is not a mistake. you are not alone. keep seeking help until you find what works for you.” The more we talk and share with one another, the less this disease gets to win, and the better we all are.

To win? We need to fight together. Who’s with me?


6 responses to “Rescuing “me” inside Depressed Me”

  1. Dawn says:

    Thank you for letting us in. Your letter brought tears to my eyes and makes me want to reach out to my brother & sister as well (will give her a little more time with the time difference in Hawaii), and to all those I love (including you!!) Love ya, Dawn

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Thank you, Dawnie. There are so many of us out there struggling with depression just “trying to be normal”. The love, support, and encouragement we gain from our friends and loved ones mean so much.

      It’s critical in this social media age that we don’t lose the human touch.

      Thanks so much for reading. And for your friendship.


  2. Debbie says:

    Sissy- you mean so much to me. You’ve always been my biggest cheerleader, biggest supporter, and truly the “wind beneath my wings”. 😉 Love you lots!!! xoxo

  3. Jessica says:

    That was a very open, kind, caring, and sweet note that you wrote to both your brother and sister. Thank you from sharing, I really felt warm as I read the notes. It is quite clear, your love for them both, and how endless that truly is. I’m glad that you’ve found something within the walls of depression that said to you “it is time to be free”. I think for many people, unfortunately that moment never comes while suffereing from depression. I believe that the disease speaks to us, TRULY speaks and says things like ” will this ever go away, can I live like this forever? .. I’m a prisoner in my own mind and body” .. “I just don’t know who I am anymore, what happiness feels like – when was the last time I was happy and would I even recognize it if I were happy right now?”. In my youth I suffered from depression that happens to run in my family. I can recall it clear as day, my depression speaking to me and saying things very similar to that.

    D’Nana … a note for special you from adoring me :

    I want you to know that when I think of you, the first thing that comes to my mind is your contagious smile!! Next would be the way your eyes glisten and sparkle with love, care, and genuine interest when you’re a part of any moment or conversation. The way you love your children without condition is amazing and honest and beautiful. Coming from a place of growing up without a mother during my teen, young woman, and the “now” times of my life, having someone like yourself who is for Grant and Britt what I could ever imagine in a mom is angelic to me. You are all blessed to have each other. Our times together, from the snowy evening when we closed down Starbucks (because that’s how we roll!), to my birthday, your birthday, getting groovy on the dance floor .. I knew I had some type of connection to you that was surprising and so comfortable. Skip is the ying to your yang, your husband, your best friend and first mate to the ship called your life. You’re both inspirational to each other and it’s inspirational to everyone around you whether they’re in a relationship or hopeful for a relationship. Now .. let’s not forget little Zeke, you’re other child. We are both “soon to be” mother-in-law’s to each other’s babies, so girlfriend – we’re tied for life !

    What is a friend? A single soul dwelling in two bodies.
    – Aristotle

    I think of you often ..


    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Thanks, Pickle. Your adoring words are so sweet and much appreciated!

      You’re right when you say that depression “speaks” to sufferers. This is precisely why it’s so important for all of us to engage with one another in conversation, speaking words of love, encouragement, and hope. Every word, every step, every conversation matters.


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