*Two Minute Read (Para leer en español, haga clic aquí)
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This is a subject near and dear to my heart!
There is a long history of depression in my family (going back at least two generations, probably further). And there is a scientifically proven hereditary component to mental illness. In many ways, suffering from depression was practically unavoidable for me.
Much like Diabetes, Cystic Fibrosis, Down Syndrome, and any other genetic disease, my depression has been genetically passed down through generations. When environmental factors hit hard, I am more likely to develop depression than someone who is not genetically predisposed because of my genetic makeup.
I first acknowledged and identified my depression when I was in college. I began seeing a therapist and, after a long few months of trial and error experimenting with several types of antidepressants, my doctor and I were able to find a medication that helped. I’ve cycled on and off of antidepressants and in and out of therapy ever since.
I’ve learned to identify my triggers and warning signs. I also know how to care for myself on a regular basis to try to keep my mind healthy and strong. But my depression is very much still there and very much still a part of who I am. Suffering from and managing my depression has very much made me who I am today in many ways.
My depression is a part of me I am not ashamed of or embarrassed by any longer. And because just like me, my kids are genetically loaded for depression, we talk openly about the various coping skills and mechanisms they can use to keep their minds healthy and strong.
The stigma around mental health is so strong and very much continues today. I hope sharing part of my story helps break down a tiny bit of that stigma and maybe helps someone feel a little less isolated if they are experiencing depression as well.
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Stevie Cromer is the Cultural and Enrichment Manager for LUNA Language Services. Stevie regularly provides engaging content to LUNA’s team to encourage a culture of care within our own LUNA family. For more suggestions and resources about how you might build a culture of care throughout your organization, please reach out to Stevie at stevie@LUNA360.com.