Heart Led Health by Coach Donna

Thursday / January 31 / 2013

When depression grabs the reigns

A fave perk about working for yourself is no alarm clock. That… and having a boss who thinks you’re pretty great!

My innate wiring makes me a “night owl” which means I often work well into the wee hours. It energizes me.

https://www.heartledhealth.com/It’s true I can function ‘just fine’ in the morning but would just as soon never see anything earlier than about 8:00am. Okay, 9:00am. I am definitely my Momma’s daughter (although she’s more honest, so she would admit 10:00am!)

My “alarm clock” is typically a kiss from my pup, Zeke Donald, accompanied by the nudge of a wet nose. The alarm clock sounds, “Wake up, Mommie! It’s time to pay attention to me… and PS: GIMME BREAKFAST!”

Kiss or no kiss, the past several weeks have found me not wanting to get out of bed… at all. Not because I’m tired or lacking sleep but simply because I don’t want to take on the day.

As I reflect on the month that’s about to become extinct, I see it’s been filled with spectacular things, including rapid growth in my health coaching business. I have never been so in love with what I do.

I’m happy, right? The answer is yes. But there’s a, “but”…

The “but” is depression. (ah, yes… I can see my fellow depression sufferers nodding with wild understanding).

Just when it seems I’ve kicked this demon to the curb (again) and “all is good”, these feelings? emotions? lack thereof? …whatever they are, seem to creep back in. It’s subtle. It’s not something that smacks me in the face. Rather, as I reflect on the month, I realize the number of times I avoided social situations, put something off, and all around hoodwinked myself and others into thinking, “nothing is wrong”.

…and then I got busted!!!

This morning, I received an email from my cherished friend Sue Stone. She reached out to, “just check in and make sure all is ok.”

Do you have friends like that? Friends who notice a change in your behavior (even as you’re waltzing around pretending the change is too subtle for anyone to notice)? Friends who reach out with heartfelt concern when they, “haven’t seen/felt your presence” in person or via social media? I cherish those friends. Heck, I want to BE a friend like that.

For me, depression is not something I struggle with every day but rather, something I grapple with in seasons, waves, or periods of time. In a word, it SUCKS!

So, guess what? I’m writing about it. WHY? Because I believe this demon “wins” when we hide it, bury it, act like it’s something to be ashamed of, or worse — assume (falsely) that a depression sufferer simply needs to ‘get over it’. By working together through communication and education, we can “normalize” depression.

Most people assume because I’m upbeat, expressive, friendly, and outgoing that I couldn’t possibly suffer with such an illness. But I do. [Read more about my personal battle here.]

I’m not in a “bad” place. I’m just not in a “good” place, either. I’m in an apathetic place which is WHY I’m forcing myself to write this post.

Dear Depression,
This is MY life and I’m committed to taking it back again and again and again.
Oh… and you should know I come armed with friends.
Love, Me xo

Thank you, sweet Susie for caring enough to be part of the solution. Being reminded you’re not alone has power beyond words. Healing power.

What if each of us reached out right now and reminded someone they are not alone? It just might be the one thing they really need (and perhaps don’t even know it yet)…


17 responses to “When depression grabs the reigns”

  1. Laura Goode says:

    I am in that boat with ya sister…and I feel your pain. I’m not gonna let mine win either :o)

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Thank you for sharing, Laura. It is indeed a continual battle. One I believe we will only lose if we stop talking about it and trying to understand. You are loved! And you are never alone. xo


  2. Laura Goode says:

    For anyone dealing with Postpartum Depression, send them to my blog:


    Luv ya too!

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      What a wonderful “you’re not alone” resource for Mamas who face Postpartum Depression (and the Daddies who need help understanding their partners). Thank you so much for sharing the link, Laura.


  3. Sue Mills says:

    Donna, I know where you are. i know how everything seems ok then wham!!!, it knocks you right off you feet. God Bless Sue

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Yes, Sue! Sometimes it’s subtle (and sneaky!) and sometimes it walks right up and slaps you across the face. Either way, depression is no good. I am blessed to have loving friends who offer such love and encouragement – like YOU! Love you!


  4. Kathy Porcell says:

    I can relate on many levels : ) Paddling for my life and trying to keep all my rafts afloat. I am so grateful for the life I have, I just don’t always believe in my ability to keep it cresting each wave!

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      What a clever analogy, Kathy. The good news is… you’re not alone! I love the thread of this theme and the importance it plays in each of our lives. I’m grateful for you. And I’m glad you’re in my life. xo


  5. Carley Chapman says:

    That is exactly where I am. It’s like trying to get out of a bucket of mud. Love my life so giving up is not an option. I look at all the things I do to fight it but some days it’s just not enough. Today is one of those days. Looking in my bag of tricks for help. Sad to say it helps knowing I’m not alone but that means others are hurting too.

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      I am so sorry you’re hurting, Carley. But I am also so glad this post helped you realize you’re NOT ALONE! Depression is such a crazy, mixed-up, next-to-impossible thing to wrap our minds around — but it doesn’t get to take the good from our lives. Let’s commit to keeping the conversation going so none of us get stuck “feeling alone”. Thank you so much for sharing with us here. Love you!


  6. Pam Fisher says:

    This is good, Donna. REALLY good. Keep helping people and say hello to Sweet Susie for me.

  7. Michael says:

    BOY..does this hit home. Thank you for sharing.
    You are NOT alone.
    You ARE a great friend.
    You DO come armed with friends here for you 24/7/365.

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Thank you, Michael. I am bound and determined to keep talking about the subject of Depression. It has to be one of the most misunderstood things I’ve seen. Thank you for your friendship and love. The feeling is mutual. And thanks for helping me communicate the need for communication about this very important topic.


  8. James Hood says:

    I have had my “down” days recently too. This time of year is tough with its gray days and crummy weather. It will always be a part of my life but recognizing when my depression has me in its grips and just communicating it to one or two close loved ones who understand is so helpful.

    Talking about my depression with my son, Cam, is a tough one though. I want him to understand why sometimes I don’t smile much or laugh much or talk much. However, he is worried that he will have depression too. I don’t see it in him now, and I tell him that, but he still worries.

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      I just love the heart you have for your sweet Cameron. And you’re SO right, James… it IS tough sharing our battles with depression with our children. As I consider all the perceptive times my children queried about what was bothering me, I realize my penchant was to put on a brave face in some sort of veiled attempt to protect them. But protect them from what? By sharing with them, I’ve been able to legitimately bestow strength, confidence, and readiness in them to face their own rivers of uncertainty (…whether that ever includes depression or not). More here, “When your kids call you on your sadness”: http://ow.ly/hEdIA


  9. Karen says:

    As always, a spectacular piece. I’ve had days recently where I wanted to go to my grandmas house to hide in the toy box where no one would find me. When the depression is mixed with anxiety issues, it’s like jello in an earthquake. No one knows where it’s going but you know it will be ugly on the way and probably a disaster when it gets there. Breathing in, breathing out, trying to hold it all together and barely making it through the day. It’s helpful to know others have the same feelings.

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