Note: This post began as a comment on a blog I follow. Things got a little our of hand and I’ve made it about me. Sorry, sorry.

But in all seriousness, Rachael from has written a piece about how she cured her anxiety and depression as a result of trying to overcome a serious illness. Read it– I bet you’ll learn something new about depression and people who have it.

Dear Rachael,
I loved your post about how you cured your anxiety and depression without trying. Don’t sell yourself short- you were trying, you were trying your ass off to get healthy. In order to have a healthy mind, so must be your body. I know a bit about mental heath from experience.

You touched on a point which is incredibly relevant and lesser known about depression- depressed people can appear to be happy!  I read this astounding fact recently and wrote about it here. Believe it- depressed people are often the most social, outgoing people you will meet at times (especially when they are taking drugs or alcohol to numb the pain.) What outsiders don’t witness are the days when we can’t get out of bed to fake it till we make it.

I relate to you on several levels.  Looking back at my childhood- I appeared to be a happy-go-lucky kid and I think I was for a time…until the teenage years. My parents fought a lot. A LOT. It scared me so I clung to my friends. I didn’t want to be at home.
As a young teen things got out of control. I started experimenting with drugs and alcohol, I got bullied in school for liking a popular, older boy, my mother and I fought like cats and dogs occasionally violently.  I thought about suicide.  If you met me, especially at a party, you would never know this.  I had friends diagnosed with depression, on medication, who told me I would never understand (because clearly I coped with it very differently). I felt like an outsider. I loved when you mentioned in your blog post:
“I legitimately thought I was happy! Everyone around me saw me as a happy and positive person and according to what my inner denial tells me, (apparently) whatever other people think of you is actually the truth!” -Rachael Abel
In my 20’s I dealt with it by drinking and taking pain killers. Otherwise life was productive.  I graduated college, went to grad school, held down two jobs, rented an apartment and bought a car. I had tons of friends and went out almost every night (red flag).

I escaped to Europe for a job and came back home again for a guy. The relationship ended because I threatened suicide and he didn’t want to deal with it (turns out I could not hide my depression from absolutely everyone). So then I went on antidepressants myself.

The drugs made me feel like a zombie and it sucked. I drank a lot of cheap wine, watched a lot of bad TV and could barely stay awake long enough to work. I ended up quitting job as a matchmaker because I couldn’t emotionally connect any longer.

I knew something needed to change.

I did what any sensible (cowardly) person would and changed my environment by moving to Australia. I had a lot of conversations with the ocean, wrote a bit and listened to a lot of Oprah.
Somehow I landed in a stable relationship that I didn’t screw up, started hanging out with people who didn’t binge drink and took a long, look at myself so I could start to figure out what the hell I was going to do with my life. Still I couldn’t seem to figure it out. So…
I got engaged. I got married and I got pregnant. I was surprisingly happy (distracted) and had a reason to care for my body like never before. My hormones were stable and I felt strong. After my daughter was born- depression came crashing back into my life and brought its friend anxiety along.
With support from my husband and friends I started the hard work of getting better, for real this time. Numbing was no longer an option. Now I laugh about the time I broke down and how my usual bottle of wine had been replaced by a bubble bath. I can no longer self-sabotage because I’m responsible for a small human and the family I’ve created.
I dug in again and did the work. Therapy. Assignments. Exercise. Eating healthily. Determined to lose the baby weight and gain more self-esteem.  I ordered local organic produce and cooked nutrient-dense meals.  I saw my homeopath.  I cut back on booze. I wrote about it all. None of these things are a quick fix, and not one single thing will do the job on it’s own. I had to find the right combination in order to heal myself from the inside out.
Somehow now, 16 months into my parenting journey- I’ve never felt happier. Honestly. I now have appropriate reactions to anxious situations and normal situations. This shows me how much progress I have made.
When you feel okay it’s easy to let one area slip. If you do- get right back on-top of it. Something seemingly insignificant can be such a big deal. Thank you Ms Abel, for making that connection between mind, body and gut. Check out for more healthy inspiration.
Rachael you are brave- you have a fan in me.

Author: dawnrieniets

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11 thoughts on “Depression: The Past And The Present

  1. Dawn, This is an interesting insight as always. I just had the pleasure of visiting my boys at the University they attend over the weekend. Their stability and willingness to share information on an adult level was extraordinary. The work done raising the boys came back as the delayed gratification I hoped would happen. They are open and satisfied which is the biggest payoff you can receive as a parent. You have a long way too go but when it happens it's like winning the super bowl! Continue to work hard enjoy the struggle and the fun and the payoff will be bigger than you ever expect!

    Posted on February 9, 2015 at 3:42 pm
  2. Uncle P, Your feedback means a lot to me, as always. I bet it must be so incredible to see your boys turn into such open, lovely young-men. It sounds like you did the hard work, and have done a stellar job. Personally I am more than willing to put in the hard yards so that I can have an open and honest relationship with Lavinia. It's the most important thing in the world to me. Any advice is always welcome!

    Posted on February 10, 2015 at 2:52 am
  3. So brave and so well written Dawn. You are right there is no one quick fix. We must gather tools from everywhere to help us find peace in our minds. Sounds like you have done an amazing job so far. So happy to read you are doing so well now. Motherhood can bring us the soulmates we have been looking for. Antidepressants have been amazing for me they cleared my fog and i have never felt not myself on them. Which goes to show everyone is different. Keep writing x

    Posted on February 12, 2015 at 3:06 am
  4. Druime, your kind and supportive words both here and in BWP have been incredibly important to me. I'm so happy to hear that you've found your clarity. Whether its drugs, therapy, standing on your head -I'm all about the end result regardless of how you get there. I am a firm believer that Mothers need to be happy (enough) to get the job done, it's difficult as it is. You keep writing too soul sister xo

    Posted on February 12, 2015 at 4:17 am
  5. Hey Dawn, I had a laugh out loud moment when you said “I did the stupid assignments, and they were actually helpful once I stopped judging their simplicity”! That is so me. I am a terrible learner because my inner teacher is always running critique on the lesson plan, the delivery… even re-designing the lesson in my head. Nuts. But when I slow down and give it a go, there is always always something good to gain.
    I loved this post. There is no shame in acknowledging the difficulties all humans experience. In fact, it is deeply affirming for me (and probably for many others) to hear all the ways people get through the hard times.
    So… Dawn, you are brave.
    And you have a fan in me. 😉

    Posted on February 12, 2015 at 7:30 am
  6. Dawn, I'm sincerely touched that my story inspired you to write this post. I'm really glad that it ended up as more than just a comment on my blog. It's a story that needed to be shared. You're doing amazing things, too, and you have a fan in me!!! For-evahhh.

    And again, you have that brilliant balance of passion/silly that I just can't get enough of! 🙂

    Posted on February 12, 2015 at 9:34 pm
  7. P.S. I'm sorry it took me so long to respond – I've been on bed rest for walking pneumonia and have been avoiding the computer! 🙂 xoxo

    Posted on February 12, 2015 at 9:35 pm
  8. Thank you so much- I'm glad you can relate to hatin on those assignments. I was so resistant at first! I decided not to promote this piece as usual on my Facebook page because I thought the content was a little full-on. I knew it would ruffle some family feathers (and it has) but my hope from the beginning was to connect with and help others through sharing my experience. It's crazy and screwed up but it's my truth. At the end of the day none of us are alone in our suffering. Making the scary decision to share is always a good one albeit difficult. I really appreciate your words and happy you had a laugh too! At the end of the day you have to laugh or else you'll just cry. 😉

    Posted on February 13, 2015 at 4:48 am
  9. Girl you know I think you rock. I admire your strength, your honesty and your super-human ability to heal yourself inside and out. I read your post and the emotions came flowing out of me. I tried not to censor too much but dang- it was coming through me like someone turned on a tap. I know we only know each other through words on screen but you know how you feel like you just 'know' your favorite authors? There I go gushing. Keep on keepin on and I'll keep reading/ stalking you. Haha!

    Posted on February 13, 2015 at 4:52 am
  10. Oh that sounds terrible! Sometimes we need a break from technology. It's good for the lungs. I hope you are feeling much better. Xoxo

    Posted on February 13, 2015 at 4:53 am
  11. And by good for the lungs I only meant that it allows one breathing room and space. That was definitely NOT a pneumonia joke. Doh!

    Posted on February 13, 2015 at 4:55 am