Donna doesn’t know this, but when I was first getting to know her, I was alarmed by her positivity. Not because it was a bad thing, but because I was so used to trading complaints with people, that to have a conversation with a person who saw only the good in life was challenging. No matter what the weather, no matter where we happened to meet, she would say, “Isn’t it a gorgeous day? Can you believe we live here?” I would look up skeptically at the gray sky but nod. From then on, if I saw Donna walking down the street towards me I frantically try to find something positive to say. That’s why it came as a surprise to find out about her personal struggles:
I am more than my depression and anxiety. My loves are my family, especially my grandchildren. They are such a gift and remind me of the good in my life. I also love my extended family of friends. Sometimes friends understand you more than your family and can be much easier to confide in. I love that my friends can laugh with me.
The ocean is my happy place. The smell and the healing benefits take my mood from anxious or depressed to grateful. As a kid, going to Nantasket Beach every summer gave me freedom from my anxiety and depression. The cottage belonged to my Nonnie, and she always loved me no matter what. Having the ocean in my backyard was awesome, and being able to walk everywhere barefoot was freeing.
I adore animals. Pets and animals love you unconditionally. When I had a rabbit named Bailey, I could always talk to him and I felt that he always knew how I felt. If I could have pets I would have them all.
I’m one of those people who love facts. Sometimes my kids tell me my head is full of useless information.
I try to be happy in the moment and not worry so much about what is coming in the future. I try to be grateful for everything. My positive attitude was instilled in me by my Nonnie. Knowing that things could be so much worse has helped. This doesn’t mean the depression can’t show its ugly face even during great times. Family situations sometimes cause the depression symptoms to come back and that is due to my upbringing. The surprising thing about anxiety and depression is that the attacks don’t happen during a bad experience, they usually come a couple of days later. As an adult, I am much better handling unpleasant experiences with the help of therapy.
The joy of my family, and, of course living here in Gloucester keeps me going.
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