From The Heart

Thoughts On Depression

September 19, 2016

Hello everyone, it’s Monday so we are naturally looking at a new week with plans to set into motion, right? Feels good. I normally face Monday with a bit of hesitation at first but now, it has changed because I’m doing lots of positive events around my new book, I’m on the road meeting friends and fans, making new business contacts, and it’s very, very invigorating. I feel alive again. The last time I felt this good was at the beginning of the year when I went to Paris and then London. After those trips, I hit a very low point in my life – I felt really inspired and happy but returned to a reality that I didn’t really want to face.

Thoughts On Depression

The thing was, I had to be an “adult” in some things that I’d been putting off. I needed to REALLY fix things in my personal life, with my health, with childcare (lack of), with my career (felt a bit directionless), and with a few friends. Most of all, I had to learn to be more kind to myself, to really put myself first which has always been hard for me.

All of this reality put me in a depression period that I didn’t know how to get out of. I kept it hidden from most people and on my blog, but it was really a hard time. Fortunately, my good friends stuck around to help. I confided in them and they’ve lovingly listened, provided a shoulder to literally cry on, and have acted as strong and willing when it comes to jumping in and just caring for me. I didn’t have to beg my good friends to be there through my hard times.

I’m happy to say that the depression period has let up now, the dark shadow passed over. FINALLY. I have new goals and am doing a lot with my life that I don’t think a lot of people will believe or even recognize as coming from me in the months ahead but I’m gonna just go for it. I’m gonna jump and just do things with a sense of “screw it” because really, life is too short and precious to live a fake life or a life that you aren’t really happy with.

I have childcare now (lots of it). My nutrition and self care are on point. I have plans in place to take care of the bigger stuff in time but for now, I’m not feeling held back or scared anymore. I’m not frozen. The depression period has ended. And I’m out again doing events and scheduling workshops and my calendar is full until the end of this year and I love it. With each event, I am allowed to share and receive positive energy in return and that give and take is so healthy and beneficial.

But wow, that depression period. Shit, man. Yuck.

It was horrible.

Thoughts On Depression

Sure, I had felt the blues before, you know, days where you just can’t seem to make progress. Days when you don’t want to get out of bed but you do anyway. Everyone has those. But I’d never known sinking depression on that level since I was in my early twenties and experienced a really big break up with someone I thought I had loved.

I’m always very hopeful and optimistic. With that, you almost become responsible to be a light to everyone. You become known as a light. And then you just shine and shine and shine and even when you have nothing left to shine, you find something and shine anyway. And then you get drained after a long enough time. Then you start to fake or pretend that you are fine, because you don’t want to let anyone down. And of course, your ego is involved at that point. You are known to be shining and encouraging and motivating, you can’t possibly show people that you feel like shit inside and wish you could run away and go live on a secluded island for a year.

For me, it all started in March after my birthday and by end of May, I was hitting bottom. In June, I had a momentary lapse of “I’ve got this!” and then, boom. I didn’t have anything, I was a mess. The dark clouds came in fast and furious. And stayed.

July and August were horrific.

I didn’t want to get out of bed for TWO MONTHS. I have a toddler to care for, so he was my motivation to shower and get up and get the day started. But boy, I didn’t always want to be responsible. I wanted to go to sleep at 8pm and a lot of the time, I did. I felt guilty giving in to my feelings at first. “I’m strong”, I told myself, “why am I giving in to these feelings, I’m a mom for god’s sake, how can I be such a wreck, my son needs me?”.

But after awhile I stopped pretending to be strong and I started to allow myself to be vulnerable. Through the help of friends, I realized that I needed to drop the act and tell people how I was really feeling because I had built a WALL around me and it was not helping my friendships. I needed to learn what I craved the most in my life – intimacy – wasn’t what I myself was giving to others. I wasn’t open and working towards intimacy in my relationships yet I expected this from my friends. How about that?

What I realized is that I always thought I was so open – I have a blog, I write a lot of stuff here that I’d consider pretty revealing at times. I share my life on the internet, in the press, in my books… But this isn’t really being OPEN. Sure, I’m more open than the average person who would never dare write about their child birth experience online like I did, or they’d never show their home online, etc. But I still am open in a way that I am safe with. In other words, and I think a lot of us do this online, I am open when it comes to showing the good stuff in my life. I’m open with all of the positive things. Not to show off, but because I really want to inspire people to be happier and I think that sharing that I’m in a dark place isn’t going to help anyone else. So I stay quiet and I hide.

Yet, one thing I crave more and more, and maybe it’s because I’ve been writing professionally online for over a decade, is greater authenticity. No, I don’t mean showing my ugly disorganized closet or me not wearing makeup. What I do mean is being a bit more open to how I feel and expressing it openly. Sharing that yes, while we enjoyed our trip we also had to deal with a screaming toddler and 100 melt downs and I almost missed my flight because I was too busy texting someone. Or yes, our house looks great but before the photo was taken, it was a giant mess of toys and I decided to clean it to a take a nice photo for the internet. You know, just being more natural and more normal and stop fearing judgement because all of that can ultimately suck our life out and make others feel like crap too.

First world problem. I know. But it’s causing a lot of people to ultimately experience burn out, depression and a lot of other unnecessary problems because all of the perfect we see. It’s nice to hear the stories behind what we see online and to open up about our very human experiences. That is the definition of being open and authentic.

Now that I’m beyond the darkest darks, I’m doing a lot to change my life for the better. When I make my mind up, I really make my mind up. And for many things in my life that I’ve sat idle on for a long time… Well let’s just say I made my mind up to do several things very differently.

How about you, have you ever hit a period of depression? How did you end it? I’m glad my time is over with this but it was NOT FUN. But I learned so much, mostly what I learned is who my real friends really are. That was so revealing… To see who sticks by you when you’re not your best self and need help. Also, I learned what wasn’t working in my life and what needed to change. I’m taking steps each day to change those things and that movement alone, the new flow of energy the movement is creating, has helped tremendously.

Love you all.

xo Holly

(photography Holly Becker)






50 Comments

  • Reply Lida September 19, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    Thank you for sharing. It is very tough when you go through periods of depression. Thanks for being authentic. I am glad you are back and energized!

    • Reply Holly Becker September 19, 2016 at 9:14 pm

      Lida I’m glad my words helped you somehow. :)

  • Reply Ellie Cashman September 19, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    Good news Holly! I’m glad you’re on the other side. Your struggles sound so familiar to me. I think trying to be perfect in your life, family, relationships and work is just really exhausting. Compound that with the challenges of motherhood and it’s kind of inevitable that you’re going to find yourself in a dark place at some point … I visited it recently as well :( I don’t know if you ever refer to Julia Cameron’s ‘The Artist’s Way for Parents: Raising Creative Children’ but this book has been really helping me of late, to take the time to care for and connect with myself and, as a result, feel like a better person, friend and ultimately a better Mom. Stay strong! x Ellie

    • Reply Holly Becker September 19, 2016 at 9:14 pm

      Thank you for the book suggestion. My depression didn’t come from parenting though, that is actually the one saving place in my life! It came from things that have nothing to do with my little boy. But that book looks so interesting!!! Thank you. :) xo

  • Reply Sylvia September 19, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Holly,
    Thank you so much for sharing. I’ll admit – I’m the first to assume everyone in the blog world has these perfect lives, while I sit here in my toys,tears and tantrum filled world, which makes me harder on myself (and my kids) than I should be. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being honest and baring your true AUTHENTIC self. I’m dealing with some post-partum depression right now and it feels very isolating. And on top of that I have this guilt for feeling down when I’m so “blessed” and have been so lucky to have kids and be able to stay home with them (insert guilt ridden spiel here)…it’s SO hard when it just doesn’t feel that way. Anyway, wanted to let you know that this touched at least one person today (and I’m certain many more!), and made her feel less alone. Thank you.

    • Reply Holly Becker September 19, 2016 at 9:15 pm

      I bet post- depression is so hard. I can’t even imagine how that would have been to have a new baby AND be depressed. What are you doing to help yourself during this time? Are you able to talk about it with your doctor or partner?

  • Reply James Day September 19, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    Thanks for the share Holly. I think it courageous, but good, of you to share these personal challenges that you have been facing. It’s nice to hear that you found help and a way out of your temporary doldrums. Myself being someone who struggles with depression, I find it reassuring to know that one is not always alone with these sort of issues. Putting that aside, I find your perspective seen though-out, on Facebook, your blog, books etc, to be inspiring. As it shows that you are a genuine person. And which keeps me coming back. So, keep up the good work and keep on truckin’!

    • Reply Holly Becker September 19, 2016 at 9:17 pm

      Wow James, I never knew you battled with depression. I’ve dealt with it one and off since I was a teenager but usually related to wintertime when it’s dark out or if I’ve not been social for awhile or if I was going through a break up or something like a death in the family. But never like this where I just lost all sense of time and place and fell into a hole. I think that a lot of creative people go through depression spells and some battle with it for life. I often wonder if it’s part of the tortured artist, you know?

  • Reply Ellen September 19, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    Thank you Holly for this honest post. I’m struggling with depression too (in fact going through it right now) and have a hard time being honest about it to my family and friends. I like to hide in myself. Good to read about it from you and realize you can’t do it yourself and need help from the people who love you, no matter what.

    • Reply Holly Becker September 19, 2016 at 9:21 pm

      Ellen – When you come clean and just tell people whom you trust how you really feel, it is an amazing weight that comes immediately off of you. So many rush to help you. It reminded me of when people found out I was pregnant. It was like, “Oh Holly is pregnant, she is vulnerable now, we can help her.” And they did. Strangers opened doors and people treated me like GOLD. I loved being pregnant! But telling people I love that I have been depressed was like that all over again and I never expected it. It was like, “Oh Holly needs me, I have to be there for her” and my friends and those who love me REALLY helped. And still are. And I am closer to many more people now because I came clean with how I was feeling. It’s almost like people need to feel they know you and sharing the hard times makes them feel like they are special to you, because you shared it with them. I never considered this either until June when I talked about this topic with a few friends and it was very enlightening.

      • Reply Ellen September 20, 2016 at 6:55 am

        Thank you so much for your words. It means a lot to me. So happy you’re doing better and share this with your readers.

  • Reply Guada September 19, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    Dear Holly your words defines so many times of my days!!!! I feel totally related ! Its a great gift to have the strenght to re define yourself!! I love your work and somehow i have always felt you as authentic as oppose to others ” for the picture perfection blogs” .
    Best wishes from Argentina! 🌺

  • Reply Verity September 19, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    Holly, I’m so sorry to hear you went through such a difficult time, thank you for sharing with us. It’s really never fun hitting these hard places but I’ve come to realise, as with many things in life, you do come away having learnt that little bit more about yourself, your priorities and just how you work as an individual. In the past I’ve hit pretty bad times and had to go the whole hog – counselling and anti-depressants – to pull me out. For me, I’m now aware that depression and most likely (in my case) anxiety can sneak up at any time and I’m always watching out for it now. I practice mindfulness and yoga and most importantly, listen to the warning signs my mind and body give me when things are too much. Then I take some time off (even if it’s just a day), sleep, write in my journal, spend time alone. I’m now working towards a life I know will keep me more balanced – less hours and less stress. It’s difficult to do it in a world which values busyness and being financially successful, but with support, I feel confident that me looking after myself is the best thing I can do for me, and anyone I come into contact with! I’m so pleased you’re through the other side and felt like you could share. There should be so many more discussions like this online – we’re not all superwoman! xx

  • Reply Sia September 19, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    Thank you for sharing, Holly. I am so sorry to hear (well, read…) that you’ve been going through all this. All I can do is send you a hug, with every step that you’re taking – it’s not up to me to write “I can totally relate”, “you’re much stronger now” or “don’t feel guilty” or… (it is very sweet or polite to say all to things but sometimes you just want someone to listen). Take care x Sia

  • Reply Funnygrrl September 19, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    Brava! I live with chronic depression. Not situational which is triggered by something and can be overcome with time and attention. I can’t always identify what triggers my “descent”. But self-care and slowing down is a necessity unless I want to be down there for a long time.
    So great that you are opening up about this. It doesn’t make you weak. It actually takes strength to share this part of your life.
    What I have learned it that I don’t have to cure myself. Depressed feelings will come and I take that as an opportunity to say no to others and yes to me!

  • Reply Inge September 19, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    Gosh Holly, I so appreciate you are sharing this. Right now I’m at home because my doctor told me to rest. I’m overwhelmed and tired and just a bit burned out. Feeling sad and empty and a bit dragged, because the kids, my job (that I don’t love) and the everyday hustle took a toll on me. Mentally I am feeling so tired. Exhausted. There are so many ideas in my head and yet I can’t see very clear anymore… I also feel that the inner stress that I have been building up, is all due to the fact that I’m not going forward faster than I had hoped for, regarding my dream of becoming my own boss… That is why I’m talking to a job coach this week and a psychologist. Because I feel talking will help me a lot. I just need to get a little help and keep doing what I love, like my doctor told me to do. So that is what I’m doing right now when being at home: painting, reading, drawing, dancing… It definitely helps me to feel less anxious and stressed.
    Good luck Holly, I so so so understand how you are feeling right now. This blog post totally struck a chord. It totally sums up how I feel right now… Sending big hugs and a lot of optimistic and warm and happy thoughts,
    Inge x

  • Reply Eva September 19, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    Hi Holly, first of all, glad to hear you are feeling better and your energy ist back!
    As one of your regular readers (who rarely comments), I can tell you that you couldn’t keep your situation away from the blog. I felt that your posts this year had a lack of lightness and were often professional as usual, but -you name it – not authentic.
    Personally, I had a very difficult year 2016, too, ignored many signs that appeared to me and as a result I have to face serious back problems now :(
    Ok, not the time to moan, but to change things in life.
    Wishing you all the best, dear part-time-neighbor ;) Eva

  • Reply penelopeloveslists September 19, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Thank you so much for your authenticity and vulnerability here. It’s hard to let your darkest sides be seen, but, when you do, you are so open to light. I am inspired by you!

  • Reply Tina slocum September 19, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    Dear Holly, I’m so glad you have come out of the dark clouds of depression and are starting to feel positive, motivated and hopeful again. You are truly an authentic person and have been for all the years that I’ve followed you. (8!) Actually, you have become even more so since A was born. Parenthood, makes us grow leaps and bounds in terms of what really matters , doesn’t it? And opens our heart like nothing else.
    Your post has been a timely gift to me, Holly. I am in a very deep depression. I have Depressive Illness and must take meds forever in order to keep it at bay forever. The meds work mostly, but I crash a few times a year. This time I am numb with no hope and no energy. I also have CFS! Which is related to depression. I will re read your post in hoping it will further help me at this time, as it’s been a few months now of not doing anything but walking my dog on short walks and then dropping into bed exhausted.
    Thank you. TIna xx

  • Reply Stratos September 19, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    I’m glad you managed to go through it and come out well and with a new determination and power! Nobody is perfect, if we learn to give that luxury to ourselves, as we all strive for perfection everywhere, we will be better to us and to others.

  • Reply AJ September 19, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    I just want to say thank you for writing this as I am experiencing depression, I think. I can relate with almost everything you said from the yo-yoing in moods to feeling like I don’t want to get out of bed to feeling so very unmotivated. Luckily I have recognized these changes in myself and am taking some steps to get help. Your words are very encouraging and I have hope that I can come out of the other side of this a better person. Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply Cora September 19, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    Dear Holly, thank you so much for sharing your story about depression. It is truly brave to admit it! I suffered from this darkness several times in my life: in my adolescence, while studying, and when my first child was almost one year old. In this dark times i always wished not to wake up any more. Now it seems so far away like a blurred dream. What helped me:
    Sleep. Always enough sleep. i try, with a baby and a toddler, it´s hard.
    A healthy diet with fresh veggies from the farmers market and to cut down sugar.
    Fresh air as much as possible.
    Sports and meditation. For me yoga and pilates, these are 2hours of the week exclusively for me! Wow!
    Now i care a shit what others think about me.
    I try to safe my energy and do not waste it for the “wrong” things.
    That everything is my choice! the book “the rhythm of life” from Matthew kelly was really mind changing for me and opened my eyes.
    I hope you do very well. Take care! You are such a precious and inspiring person!

  • Reply francetaste September 19, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    Good for you. Thank you for sharing your experience. I had it rough leaving my beloved career and big city and moving across the world to a rural spot with husband and baby. Kind of post-partum/culture shock/economic crisis rolled up in one. And the lack of family nearby, no friends yet and lack of funds for even a babysitter made my biggest joy sometimes difficult. I don’t think I spent even an hour without my kid for three years. But eventually I worked again and my kid grew up and things got better.

  • Reply hayniedi September 19, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    Hi Holly, I have been following you and your success for your years and appreciate your honesty. For some of the reasons you mentioned I began posting once a month on the things that made me happy in the previous month in order to force me to seek out the good and not focus so much on the bad. Like you, my life is not bad but sometimes it just all seems so overwhelming. I have done this for about a year and it can be difficult some months but I always find ten things that gave me some level of joy and happiness. One of those things is your photo of the cow which I would like permission to use in my own blog. You see my husband just underwent and survived an emergency heart valve transplant and he now has a cow valve. This is certainly fodder for plenty of silly jokes but your photo just said it all! Thanks for your honesty and bravery is putting it all out there!

  • Reply Sandy Deasey September 19, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    Hi Holly, You are definitely not alone. I’ve been there, as have most of my friends. For me it came at a young age the first time, and I’ve learned over the years, as others have said, to watch out for signs so I don’t go there again. I try my best to shuffle my priorities and look after myself with good food, yoga, reading, writing, inspirational days out, connecting with friends. Would love to hear more of how you pulled yourself out of it. So pleased for you that you did. x

  • Reply Angerer Tschopp Gertrud September 19, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    Hi Holly – thanks for sharing and no you are not alone. I know this journey as well, and I think becoming a mum and being a high performing professional isn’t something which reconciles easily – I learnt the hard way too to be kinder to myself – in my case it was allowing myself some personal time and not just being there for my work, my children and my husband, but also give me some space to recharge batteries – I was either working like crazy (project manager at a bank) or around the kids (day and night as they were no good sleepers either), well bad boss at work, hick ups in the relationship, miscarriages and then burn out, break down, dark days – I then stopped trying to be the same person than before the children, and I realized I need to be able to do this mum thing for more than 20 years – not 2 not 4 I have to survive 20 years – that’s a marathon not a sprint and I better stop going to all baby and toddler activities, or have 10 appointments in my agenda every day. I started to not trying to be perfect all the time, not fulfill every expectation, to ask for help more often and accept that not all will be done exactly as I want when I delegate. I enjoy my coffee and accept babysitter Youtube sometimes, I stop feeling guilty having child care, I allow myself a weekend with my husband and my kids survive a night without me/us every year – they do, I tested it – still hard, but I know it’s true. And I make sure my job allows me to be authentic, so I left my bank career, started a company and here as well as it takes place in social media a lot, I still remind me that I don’t have to be more than just me, myself and I, because it takes so much energy if I am not authentic. And now 13 years after my first child was born, and 12 years without sleeping through and 4 kids having epic meltdowns several times a day, I must say, I enjoy my life and that it is good enough if I try my best. It’s good enough if I drink coffee first even the kids want something else, that it is ok, if I send you a comment instead of adding some new products to my shop or editing pictures. We need to take care of us first, before we can take care of our kids and our relationships.

  • Reply christina petermann September 19, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    hello, Holly, I read Your blog so many years and its important to write You now, because
    ‘these times’ we’re all going through sometimes… I’m a bit down on earth and i have learned to say NO to some things and people . And I have learned to say YES to my wishes and moods.
    I need my dayly dose of walking with my dog !!! enyoing the nature and to realize, what happens arround me.
    And sometimes I need some brave people, that bring me down on earth again.

  • Reply Britta September 19, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this today! All the best to you! xo Britta

  • Reply ellencrimitrent September 20, 2016 at 1:21 am

    I am in it right now Holly- my preschool brand that I worked so hard for and built 17 book titles is slowly falling into a ditch- 4 titles are getting liquidated ( I had also hoped it would have more legs sand get into more licensing categories) and my sales for art is way down and very few licensees are taking new art= I might have to go out and find a “normal” type job and after 21 yrs of not in the corporate work force where do I even begin. I was here in 2010 and 2011 had to borrow money to pay my mortgage from my brother which nearly broke me- but I busted my ass and rebuilt it all back and paid everything off only to have this wheel start to break again. I have two kids to take care of and a tuition for my sons high school. I feel defeated daily when I see 20 somethings get huge deals simply because of their Instagram following. I do my best to get followers and put my self out there on social media but I also have to work and take care of my kids. I have been stuck for about 6 months and feeling like at 49 I am a complete failure. I thought for sure by now I would be wildly successful since I have always been driven. The worst part is seeing fellow alum doing well traveling the globe and flying first class. Yes I know money isn’t every but it is when you see your bank account with barely anything. I am glad you have a great support system its more difficult for me since I barely have friends here in MA, my closest friends are scattered throughout the states leaving a major void. All the dreams I had when I was 20 seem like dust now and as I look in the mirror I see how horrible my skin looks and how much weight I have gained in a year after i have worked my butt off to get it all down 2 yrs ago. I think its nearly impossible for women not to have difficult times when they work and have kids- your pulled in many directions and without help its very daunting. I am glad your out of the fog- I hope some how some way I can finally have some sort of big success so I don’t have to work so hard in my old age. I am burnt out. :)

    • Reply Brittany September 20, 2016 at 4:19 pm

      Ellen! Just wanted to say I’m sorry to hear that you are going through a tough time. I have been following you on instagram and just wanted to say that your work is beautiful and inspiring. Your birds make me smile:-)

    • Reply Emma September 21, 2016 at 2:36 am

      I’m sending you a big virtual hug Ellen! As I creative I can understand the ups and downs of making a living through art, it’s often feast or famine (especially with the rising costs of living), it can really take a toll. I hope you hang in there and keep doing what you love. Sometimes its hard to see how far one has come when we’ve been at it a long time and especially when things get rough but clearly you are tough and resourceful, hang in there!

  • Reply Mark McDonough September 20, 2016 at 1:41 am

    Depression is brutal and thanks for being so honest. Also as a fellow blogger being online so much doesn’t help but always remember we are all in this together!

  • Reply Desha September 20, 2016 at 3:59 am

    Dear Holly, wow what courage you have to share this. I would never guess you struggled with depression. I’ve certainly struggled with the winter blues and my solution is to exit and get the hell out of dodge by going to a sunny warmer place. I know some people may think it’s selfish (as you know, I’m also a momma)… But if I didn’t go, I don’t know what kind of momma I’d be. The kind crying, most likely.

    I’m really glad to hear things are better and that you are able to do what it takes to take care of YOU! As my dear old dad used to say, you have to take care of #1.

  • Reply Tina Abbott September 20, 2016 at 7:00 am

    This realness, that’s the stuff. Depression sucks and I’m glad you’ve found your way through. It can be a long rough road. Love and sleep and sometimes meds are the only way. But really, love and sleep. And now, I cannot wait to see what comes next!

    The balance of real but not too too revealing, it’s a delicate line. I’m trying to learn on my brand new baby blog as I start my business. The line though, it’s where the juice is. Thank you for being a demonstration of it. The world needs more of that.

  • Reply marrdid September 20, 2016 at 8:15 am

    You’re right – sharing with friends can be amazing and once you’ve built that relationship with yourself, you become so much stronger. I hope these skills help you through rough patches that life tends to throw at us and I’m very happy that this is a good point in your life. Thank you for writing about this and for being honest, it makes me really reconnect to the blog.

  • Reply Ellie September 20, 2016 at 9:50 am

    Very heart touching post, very sorry for the phase you came across. No words to say…

  • Reply Tina September 20, 2016 at 10:37 am

    Holly, thank you for being so open, honest and authentic. Gives me a lot to think about, especially about finding a balance between my online self and my real-life self. So glad you are feeling better now and can’t wait to hear about the new direction you are going in!

  • Reply Barbara September 20, 2016 at 10:40 am

    Oh my God, Holly, I can so relate to this. I am happy that you feel better now. I have experienced periods of depression, and I think I am quite of inside of one at this moment, too. Years ago I did therapy during almost 3 years. But now that I am feeling down again, I don´t want to go to therapy again. I now perfectly what there will be said to me. My problem is a very stubborn ego and pride, all that has made me building a wall as you describe it, and I don´t know really how to step out of this. I am a single mom with a 2-year old girl and I am doing the best I can, my girl needs me and I am so very happy to have her. But there is a lot of adult stuff to take care of and I really don´t know how to fix this (starting with the work/carreer issue). At the moment, I am going early to bed, just one hour after my daughter, and we get up at the same time. My apartment is a big mess, as I used to clean up after she was asleep, but now as I am so tired and going so sleep so early, the mess is getting bigger and bigger. Thank you for being so honest here!! With love and the best wishes for you.

  • Reply lizziemloves September 20, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    All I want to say is thank you Holly. Thank you for being so open. I definitely get the blues badly. I imagine it like a bowl that gets too full and starts to spill over, usually work or financial worries, or not slowing down enough, not getting enough family time. It’s all about balance to get it back to normal again. It’s so hard sometimes, and I’m an expert at putting on a front to the outside, not to my family, they get the real me, poor them!
    I do think that peering into perfect lives on social media doesn’t help at all… but it’s pretty much impossible to avoid it when it’s part and parcel of your work. It’s such a pressure to be the whole package these days, working, blogging, juggling it all, it’s truly exhausting sometimes. So thank you for being more real and for making me feel a bit better about myself. xxx

  • Reply Cuckoo4Design September 20, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    I can so relate and I hide it from my blog because the depressions and dark periods in my life are caused by my husband’s family. I’m a German living in the US and my entire family is in Germany. While I have lived here for almost 20 years, I don’t miss them any less and the expectations put on me by his family have pushed me over the edge when I turned 40 now and I said no more. I was always told life is too short by his family and that they could die any day, but what about my own life. It’s too short as well.
    Making changes for me and my family hasn’t made things better at all but I feel better on holidays because I can do what I want now even though I’m the most hated woman right now. I’d love to open up about it on my blog one day. I was in such a dark place for a long time and I was sick of the doctors telling me I should just take medication. I need to learn how to take care of myself and listen to what my body and mind is telling me. I loved reading about your own struggle and how you pulled yourself out of it. I always feel like my creative side is what helps me pull through. Making things!

  • Reply Sacred and Profane Designs September 20, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    Holly that was such an inspirational post! Thank you so much for sharing this experience with us!

  • Reply Linda September 20, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    Hi Holly, I was very touched by your story and am very grateful that you shared your personal story with us! In fact, one of my beloved ones is also very struggling with times of depression which hit very hard and make the relationship with the partner and kids very hard once in a while. I am glad that you came out of this time and wish you the best for your future. Thanks so much for your honest words!

  • Reply Dex September 20, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    Thank you so much for this Holly, I have been there too…strangely your worst months were also mine, maybe its in the stars! I share the exact same feelings about having a hard time being vulnerable, I feel closest to the friends that confide in me and let me into their dark moments yet I don’t always feel safe to do the same which inevitably has meant a lot of suffering in silence. It’s something I’m working on and it’s encouraging to hear that you were able to have that breakthrough.
    Its been said that its a strange time to be a woman, we have so many more options which is wonderful but it can also be paralyzing, combined with the overload of ‘styled’ lives we’re exposed to online, its sometimes hard not to lose sight of true selves and purpose.

  • Reply Carrie Hampton September 20, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    Hey Holly,
    Thank you for your words — they certainly hit close to home for me.

    I have had 2 major depressive episodes in my life The first was about 8 years ago & quite literally knocked me off my feet. I was forced to quit my job, use all my savings & ultimately move in with my parents because I was so ill. I had never faced anything so all encompassing or debilitating before. It took over my entire life (physically, mentally, emotionality, etc). I reached out for help – received it but, continued to struggle with finding my own feet. It was a really long process and wasn’t truly myself until about a year later.

    My second episode was less severe but, still completely debilitating. Except this time I knew what was coming. I knew how hard & painful it was going to be. The path forward was known to me & that almost made it worse. I just couldn’t find the strength & motivation to get started because I knew how long it was going to take. Ultimately, I got there (again many months later). I’m better now. But, I also know this is something I am going to face for the rest of my life. It’s never going to go completely away. It will always be a shadow over my life. I know it’s out there. On the edges. Wanting back in. These days I knew my triggers much more & I can “feel” it coming and take action before I am knee deep in the pain. I also know I am not the same person I was before my illness. The after affects (I can only liken to PTSD) can sometimes take my breath away as much as the illness itself. It’s like a bruise on me. Slightly discolored & under the skin.

    I hope you never have to feel that struggle again. I would never wish it on my worst enemy. Nobody truly understands what it’s like until you have faced it yourself. You are fortunate that you knew to bring those friends in to help you – that is something I still have never been comfortable with. I tend to “suffer in silence”. Logically I know that’s not a good thing – but, sometimes you can’t fight your own nature.

    Thanks for being brave enough to put out there. Sending you all the love & peace in the world.
    Best,
    Carrie

  • Reply Maike September 21, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Dear Holly,

    for a couple months now I’ve been drafting some words in my mind in order to eventually write them down and send them to you. Nothing big, but a sincere, heartfelt thank you.

    This post, thoughts on depression, finally moved me to actually get in touch.
    Thanks for these very special thoughts, for your courage (and that’s how it seems, being brave, speaking up in the aftermath of feeling pretty down and maybe weak and vulnerable), for your authenticity and for your openness.
    I can only imagine what degree of strength it took to get up again, to gather the pieces and to look forward, not in a shiny-happy-go-lucky, but in a here-I-am-againish and screw-it-kind of way.

    Two years ago I experienced a similar depression period, completely out of the blue (to whom was that happening? me? no way) in answer to a simultaneous realtionship break up, job change, move across Germany to a city where I knew nobody, etc. And another hundreds of kilometers-move to city number three some months later due to the break up.
    In the midst of unpacking and packing and unpacking the boxes, of assembling/dismantling/assembling my furniture I sometimes asked myself for what reason I was getting up in the morning at all. I’ve never ever felt so alone. But.

    Moving meant decorating, and there have been certain aspects that kept me sane from day to day. Alongside to other blogs it was mainly decor8 and it were your books that I went to whenever my mind and my soul needed something nice, something comforting, something distracting and especially some inspiration. It was YOUR work, your voice that kept me occupied and that gently took my hand, led me, little step by little step. It was a haven to turn to, a place that inspired me to care for me in a very special way: That is, to create a home that really is a home – a place where my spirits can refuel and that reflects my most inner me. Additional it was your general approach to life and to work (the more or less explicit glimpse of it that is reflected in your written narrative, in your posts) which often inspired me. This is how I reflect on these months today – back then at first nothing really touched me, though in the long run, it really sank in.

    Sure, in the end it took professional help to gain health again. That said, personally, I see the decision/ability to seek help as one of the signs of resilience: We do not need to collapse completely until we deserve healing.
    But – all the little hours spent with your work was some special kind of therapy, too.

    I’m with you with regard to every thought you shared, even though every one’s experience is completely individual.

    Going through a period of depression and dealing with it, to me, can mean change. Though it’s not easy and it’s painful and anything but straightforward, it contains the chance to do so in a fascinating manner: Carrying on bruised but strengthened, in all its contrariness.
    It’s a process that requires a lot of patience and confidence, and how could one possibly be confident when everything seems to fall to pieces? But SOMETIMES, mercifully and gradually, the pieces seem to fall in place… and yes, that means learning who one’s real friends are, too.

    In addition to confiding in (real) friends, to seeking help, to slowly putting daily life in (a newish) order and to generally, carefully realign (and to nurturing creativity ;), a possible way to live through all that is to do so mindfully. These bruises won’t go away, but maybe in overcoming the darkest moments realigning can mean to be more aware of how to care for these bruises and how to prevent further ones or deal with stress and grief.

    A woman that really is inspiring, too, is Brené Brown with her findings about vulnerability and living authentically. Often when I read your posts I’m reminded of her books (e.g. Daring grately).

    So I equally highly appreciate your talking about depression and in general talking about (completely normal) imperfection on a popular blog; which means putting an end to the common façade-building that lacks wholesomeness and that induces discontentment and illness. I’m a sociologist by profession (and by heart) and often ponder over the subliminal outcomes of lifestyle-themed blogging.

    Holly, I admire your work a lot – and today I didn’t even talk about the happiness it frequently sparks and how often it has influenced my own development style wise.
    Today I wanted to say thank you for having collected strength in order to move on.
    Be assured, I am highly aware of how difficult this might be, so please do not perceive my words as euphemistic and neither as well-meant, straightforwardly comforting. (And please excuse my bumpy English…).

    But to me it seemed as if it were time to say thank you: For having been there and for being as you are, for giving inspiration and joy, for being authentic and honest and being, screw it, optimistic.

    I’m wishing you all the best!

  • Reply Sonia September 22, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    Dear Holly,
    thank you for sharing.
    I took part to one of your Blogging your way course and I was really impressed and motivated by your energy and open approach. It was really helpful for my personal development, thank you again for that.
    I understand what you mean with “shining” and shining further altough any shine is there.
    Als expat with a little child, a creative job and a husband going parallel his way, is really very much easy to reach the limit..
    I`m happy to hear that it is over ;-)

    Have sunny days sunny Holly!

    Sonia

  • Reply Ulrike September 23, 2016 at 11:38 am

    Thank you so much for sharing!!!!

  • Reply frauheuberg September 27, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    Thanks my dear to be again so authentic and it remember me to a Situation of a very good friend of me who have also handled with depressions more than a full year. It was a difficult time and sometimes everything has seemed so hopeless. There were a lot of days i came to
    my limits as a friend, but i have stayed and tried to be the friend i would wish to have in a situation like this. This is the most important thing to have these handfull of people who love you no matter what happens. Its so priceless and so glad that you had these great souls, too, around you. And fine to have you here again, my lovley lady…wish you a sweet “sunny” refreshing autumn bliss with your sweet love ones and send you a big hug…much love from the south…i

  • Reply Nicole Nicol October 17, 2016 at 10:59 am

    Hi holly, so glad to hear you are feeling better. i think you also find when you open up how many others have felt that way too but never speak out. I’ve had my times but what I wanted to mention was something else. I think my oldest besets friend was like you..in the sense she was always sparking and there for others. Whenever we needed her she was there..she in in the medical field and even went in with our 4 week old daughter when they did a spinal lumbar puncture as they though she had meningitis ..we were terrified to be there but also not to be there and this is an example of the way she has really been there for us. But I found she did isolate herself from needing help from others..I told her one day that I felt like it wasn’t fair..that I owed her so much and I never had the chance to repay her by being there for her. Like her protecting us from her problems was helping us when it really felt like we were isolated. Friendship is a two way street..we need to allow others to help us sometimes and I’m so glad you have been able to do this with your friends. So happy that you have realigned yourself to what is going to make you more fulfilled in future x nicole

  • Reply Boxon May 18, 2017 at 4:26 am

    Hello Holly, thanks for sharing, I feel more motivated and impressed with your Blogging course. Very useful for self-development … I am relieved because you are feeling better now and can not wait to hear about the direction you are going to take.

    thank you

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