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.