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.