My Story: Bobbie White

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

I had heavy, sad feelings and anxiety for several years. A call to a clinic resulted in the person I wanted to make an appointment with being busy. I didn't leave my name, a message or callback number, so the effort went unmet.

Three years later I went in for the appointment. I recall bursting into tears as soon as the therapist opened the door to enter. She probably thought, "Oh boy!" We talked about all the things that seemed too problematic, and her diagnosis was that I was a busy, new mom of a 1-year-old, working full time again, and managing work and home life were too much for me. There was nothing said about depression or anxiety.

About eight years later, my doctor prescribed Zoloft for my anxiety; I took one dosage and the next day I informed my husband. "Well," he said, "you know how I feel about medication." Since I was not mentally strong, I assumed he was correct.

I flushed my medication down the toilet. In hindsight, I later joked that Zoloft should be put in the water because so many people needed it. I went two more years and decided that I didn't want our children growing up with a sad mom and needed to take steps out of this hole.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

First, I made therapy a priority and kept my appointments. I continued the therapy to myself, so I had no one else's opinion or influence on my decision.

After several months, we tried talk therapy (which I highly recommend) and cognitive behavioral therapy, and she and I came to consensus on the same appointment day that it might be time for medications, which was her last resort.

Coincidentally, I'd asked my doctor to prescribe the Zoloft again, and I would see it through this time. I decided to keep my prescription a secret too until they'd had a chance to work. After a month I was feeling much better, much more confident and told my husband on vacation about my therapy and medication.

This time, oddly enough, he replied, "That's good if it's helping!" I don't know why he did an about face in his reaction from the previous time I'd informed him. Perhaps he could sense and see that I was a happier me.

My therapist released me because she could see I was wear if needed to be all along and seventeen years later, I'm still taking meds and will be for life. I'd love to stop, due to long term negative effects, but my husband says I shouldn't stop taking them.

Who has been there for you? How?

My therapist, Shirley. I call her, "My miracle worker." My friend, Bobbie, who recommended Shirley. My sister, husband, parents, and my best friend from college, Marilyn.

Who has been there for you? How?

My therapist, Shirley. I call her, "My miracle worker." My friend, Bobbie, who recommended Shirley. My sister, husband, parents, and my best friend from college, Marilyn.

Share your story with others who probably need to hear it.

Share your story with others who probably need to hear it.

What's your advice to someone else living with Depression?

There is hope, there is help, and there will be changes. We are proof. Also, if you don't find a therapist with whom you click at first, keep trying. If you don't find the right meds at first, keep trying.

Avoid toxic people in your world or keep them to a bare minimum. Surround yourself with positivity.

Get fit physically - activity, diet, and sleep. Don't freak out if your meds start feeling less effective after a couple of years. Adjustments are normal. Share your story with others who probably need to hear it.

If you don't find a therapist with whom you click at first, keep trying. If you don't find the right meds at first, keep trying.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

1.) I found the strength at a very critical moment to consider something besides myself -my children- who deserved a happier mom.

2.) Within six months of beginning medication, I became interested in what became my passion: finding more humor and laughter in daily life. I became a Certified Laughter Leader with the World Laughter Tour. I created a keynote and jumped into professional speaking which I love to do. We formed a company called, "Try Laughter! Inc."

3.) I've published two books, coauthored three and write a weekly blog, and one for a local media site. The book titles are:

  • Life in the Laugh Lane, (steering through life's twists and turns with laughter)
  • If Stress is Garbage, I've BIN there, Recycled that!
  • Chicken soup for the Wine Lovers Soul
  • Fantastic Customer Service Inside and Out
  • The Ultimate Garden

4.) Jeff and I celebrated our 40th anniversary this year and to celebrate all that we went through and still made it, we are collaborating on a book about my depression and how Jeff survived it. Based on the millions of people struggling and suffering, and the responses I get when I address this topic in my blog, we have high hopes for our work.

5. Jeff and I have four elderly parents living in four different places, all in our city. We deal with Alzheimer's, dementia, and Parkinson's. I'm healthy, I'm very thankful and proud of how I've been able to cope through this and make tough decisions. If I were still dealing with depression and anxiety, it would be beyond horrible.

Numbers 4 & 5 are my proudest accomplishments because they are so hard, yet important.

Is there anything else we should know?

My Story: Bobbie White

I'm 62. My problems probably started mildly in high school, with the usual growing pains of dealing with popular people and love interests. In college, eating disorders took over my life for ten years, which I've since learned were a precursor to depression and anxiety. My dog provides me therapy – I highly recommend a pet.

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