I haven’t been very pub­lic about this, but I was go­ing through a se­vere bout of sea­sonal de­pres­sion. We were liv­ing in a base­ment apart­ment in one of the cold­est places you can live: Minnesota. Add to that the fact that there are so many days where it’s just gray and gloomy.

Don’t get me wrong, Minnesota is a beau­ti­ful place, and I loved liv­ing there, but the win­ters are harsh and long.

People kept telling me that it was­n’t a big deal” and that I’d get used to it.” But I had lived in Minnesota seven years al­ready, and this was a feel­ing I’d never felt be­fore.

People still don’t un­der­stand de­pres­sion. Not only was I go­ing through a dif­fi­cult time, but I also needed to muster up the strength to ex­plain (almost jus­tify) what I was go­ing through to loved ones. I of­ten felt like peo­ple thought I was mak­ing all of this up, or that I was weak be­cause I could­n’t tough it out.” And it’s ok, many of those peo­ple are well-mean­ing—they don’t un­der­stand how deeply and pro­foundly their words can cut.

Back in November, we de­cided to spend the month of January in California. We were hop­ing the warmer cli­mate and sun­shine would help me. It did. I started feel­ing like me again.

So when we got back home in February, we de­cided it was time to leave Minnesota. We packed our things, said good­bye to our dear friends and fam­ily, and left.

I was scared. This was a big move. Kelly would have to quit the job she’d worked at for al­most 20 years, and I had sud­denly lost my job. It kept me up at night think­ing about how this could all go wrong.

I’m glad we did it any­way. Kelly al­ready found a job, and I’m do­ing every­thing in my power to get Bokeh off the ground. We found a beau­ti­ful apart­ment, in a con­ve­nient lo­ca­tion that we can af­ford.

Having de­pres­sion has been an in­ter­est­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. It’s changed how I view cer­tain things and re­vealed new as­pects of my per­son­al­ity that I’m not happy about. I’m a pos­i­tive, happy, and op­ti­mistic per­son by na­ture, but de­pres­sion had turned me into a bit­ter, jaded, and cyn­i­cal per­son. If there’s one pos­i­tive, it taught me that my em­pa­thy has room to grow. Everyone has their own tri­als and tribu­la­tions, and in­stead of be­ing judge­men­tal, I need to find more ways to be help­ful and en­cour­ag­ing.

Thankfully I’m feel­ing bet­ter. But I’m glad I took ac­tion. I found a ther­a­pist and went to the ap­point­ment. I made this move be­cause I was tired of feel­ing the way I felt, and I did­n’t want that to es­ca­late into ru­in­ing my won­der­ful mar­riage or into sui­ci­dal thoughts. And that’s es­pe­cially hard when the last thing you have when you’re de­pressed is mo­ti­va­tion.

So if you’re go­ing through some­thing sim­i­lar, take ac­tion. Talk to some­one. Get help. I’m so glad I did.

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