Dynamic Depression by Kate Mansi

By Guest Bloggers

November 20th I was lucky enough to watch through a window into the delivery room, as my sister became a mother to two tiny twin boys. What I witnessed will forever be one of the most powerful moments of my life. Without even looking into their eyes, holding them or even smelling them yet, it felt like they shattered my heart into a million tiny pieces in the best possible way. I didn’t know I could love that BIG! The world felt like it froze perfectly still and I had this slice of pure joy. I was stunned in awe of life and of my sister, and of all mothers. Just days before Thanksgiving, my family was given the greatest gift of all.

The next morning (and every morning since), the first thought to flutter through my mind upon waking has been, “The boys – it’s real! I’m an Aunt!!” I couldn’t shake this sheer awe and excitement. I felt an unexpected sense of purpose and strong surge of empowerment to take the best care of myself possible for the sake of my nephews and my sister’s new family.

In between visits to the NICU, I snuck in a yoga class. Fitness, specifically yoga, is a big player in my practice of good mental hygiene. In life altering moments, I’ve had yoga classes I’ll never forget. This was one of them.

Tears streamed down my cheeks and onto my sweat stained mat as I moved through my practice that day. With my eyes closed, I moved through each pose and failed several attempts to keep myself from smiling ear to ear. It was the first time I was alone to really pause and sit with the emotions that came with the arrival of our new family additions.

As we settled into savasana I closed my eyes and again felt tears stream down my face. I knew I was crying for all the good things in my life at that moment. I can’t remember the last time I felt that happy, that whole, that complete and peaceful. I wanted it to last forever.

A few minutes in, the instructor offered up a quote for us all to think about as Thanksgiving approached, “It is impossible to feel depressed when you feel true gratitude.” Immediately my gut reaction was resistance. I noticed the drastic switch of emotions swirl up inside me and then started judging myself before even questioning why I was so irritated.

“It’s a simple concept to encourage gratitude, can’t you just move on?” I thought. So I inhaled deeply, refocused on gratitude for my nephews and worked on getting back to my ‘happy place’. Boom, there it was again, right in the forefront of my mind like a giant stop sign I kept seeing and hearing her words: 

It is impossible to feel depressed when you feel true gratitude.” 

Next thing I knew we were directed to “bring life back into our fingertips and start waking up the body” – I missed it! I wasted my entire savasana contemplating what was wrong with me that I couldn’t just inhale and exhale the simple message of true gratitude, when ironically, I was feeling consumed with gratitude that day!

Feeling defeated, I rolled up my mat and drove straight back to the NICU to check if the spell of my sheer elation had been broken. I felt like Clara in ‘The Nutcracker’ not wanting the party to end. I was relieved it all came back to me the instant I was in their presence.

Seven days have passed since the yoga class, and I still can’t stop thinking (okay, fine, obsessing) about that damn quote. Finally I did something I should have done about seven days ago. I gave myself permission to challenge my thoughts. Permission to take inventory of my inner resistance instead of pushing it away (God knows that’s an ever present lesson).

Here’s what I’ve come up with:

Undoubtedly, I believe the instructor was well intentioned in offering that quote to her class. An inspirational gesture to encourage her students to embrace gratitude. In my opinion, I have to honor that I found it to be inaccurate, insensitive and a prime example of the stigma surrounding mental disorders. While I see her point in the great impact gratitude practices can create, it cannot completely absolve depression for someone who struggles with it. Her perspective was confusing, conflicting and isolating. Confusing because for me, someone who lives with anxiety and depression, that is not the world I live in. It is imperative to my mental health that I remember, nothing is impossible with depression, or anxiety.

This doesn’t mean we have to be white knuckling our happiness and preparing for disaster around any corner. Though the reality is, for those who struggle with depression, nothing is impossible. Expecting that you can pluck out your depression and ‘solve’ it, is a trigger-some set up for disappointment.

For example, while I was feeling extreme joy for my family’s experience that day and words like depression could not have been further from my mind, it did not change the fact that it was still a part of me. Sometimes it’s present, sometimes it’s dormant, but it’s always there and I am learning to take ownership over it equal to all the other parts of me.

I’ve lived the majority of my life with anxiety and depression. I’ve never embraced it, never spoken about it, never wanted it to be part of my story. Until recently. The truth is, depression and anxiety are a part of my story, and I want to make it one of the great parts! That goes along with all the other wonderful parts I have to be grateful for – including my new nephews. I want those boys to grow up in a world that is honest and truthful about mental health so that they never feel alone and will know how to comfort those who do. I want to create momentum to elicit change instead of staying silent and perpetuating stigma.

That’s why these last few months, I’ve hosted a series of workout classes to benefit BC2M in a campaign I’ve titled #SweatToStopStigma. With partners such as Open Sweat and The Know Collective, we’ve been raising awareness, support and donations one workout class at a time.

BC2M has a difficult task. They are not fighting for something tangible like delivering clean water to underprivileged countries, or building homes for people in need. You can’t necessarily measure the results of this fight. It is a change that has to occur from within and spread and spread and spread until we’ve changed the world.

The last week has given me so very much to be grateful for. It brings me to tears (again) just reflecting on this moment in my family’s life. It’s truly beyond me how blessed I am. And even in that great depth of gratitude, I acknowledge that my depression and anxiety are also a part of me. I won’t take that away from myself. I will learn to work with it instead of against it. I will be mindful that it can always reappear and coexist within other emotions, and that I’m not alone in that.

Just like my interpretation of Clara in ‘The Nutcracker’, it’s possible that we can dance with dark demons and also experience the purest sugar plum moments in the Land of Sweets.

If this post has resonated with you, please join in spreading awareness for #sweattostopstigma.

54 responses to “Dynamic Depression by Kate Mansi”

  1. Molly O'H says:

    Wonderful. Thank you, Kate. Every single word resonates with me. Beautifully written.

  2. Amy C says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. I have struggled with depression and anxiety for what seems like my whole life. Nobody wants to talk about it at all, which just makes me more alone and depressed. It takes a lot of courage to share your innermost feelings. I commend you for using your struggles to make a difference in the world.

  3. Jo P. says:

    Kate. You’re not alone in this! After decades of wondering what was wrong with me, especially when I began having physical symptoms that couldn’t be explained by physical problems. So at age 62, I was diagnosed with acute anxiety disorder and depression that I was told existed from my childhood based on my life’s story. So, I’m happy that you discovered your affliction so much earlier in life than I did and are dealing so intelligently with it. God bless you ….. and miss you on DOOL!

  4. krissy says:

    That’s so kind one of the kindest words

  5. Beverly S says:

    Congrats to being an Aunt.

  6. Teena K says:

    Thank you, Kate for your story. I, too suffer from depression and anxiety. My sister says she doesn’t understand how I can be sad when I have so much to be thankful for. I have six grandchildren and there are times when I can’t be with them because of my state of mind. I don’t want to feel this way. I want to be a great Nana.
    I don’t know how to spread your word. I don’t have friends.
    I wish you the best. Hope your nephews are healthy and
    growing. I will pray for you. Please pray for me.

  7. Susan says:

    I have always thought that being anxious was a part of being afraid; But I have managed to live a pretty happy life. My grand children are my joy!

  8. William C says:

    God bless you and you new family members.
    You are missed on Dool’s…
    All the best…..

  9. Catherine n says:

    Thanks for being so candid.m

  10. Ashley E says:

    Thank you for sharing and spreading the word! Mental Health plays such a big part in society today and it’s nothing to be ashamed of yet it is a stigma! I can relate to this post on so many different levels it’s unreal! Thanks again for bringing it to light! Have a blessed holiday!

  11. joyce b says:

    what are these presious boys names

  12. Susan says:

    I going to read this again , you can’t get through this world without anxiety or depression

  13. NM D'Amico says:

    Best Wishes & Hugs to you Kate!!

  14. Julie F says:

    Kate, I enjoy your work. This may be your greatest. I too have dealt with anxiety and depression since consciousness. Keep fighting. I’m 58. It’s moment by moment. I fixate easily on things that bother me. I too find acknowledgement of them allows moving on. You are a good soul. Never forget that.
    Sincerely, Julie

  15. Lorrie says:

    Kate,
    Thank you for sharing this. I have struggled with depression and anxiety for most of my life also and I’m twice your age. Very few people, even know to this day. Its still a daily struggle that so many people can’t comprehend. And then, at times, I doubt myself and my worth. Sometimes crying helps and others not so much.
    Back to you, I’m proud you shared this. Thank you.

  16. Marcia R says:

    Kate, My heart really goes out to you in every way possible. Depression is a very heartfelt illness that needs to be addressed. I admire you for acknowledging that you have anxiety and depression and have suffered with both for years. Your Dynamic Depression read is outstanding and very well written. However, I do not have depression but know how it affects those that do. Kate, you are to be admired not only for your acting, beauty, and knowledge, but for helping those that are struggling as you are. Keep strong as I know you are. Congrats on being a new Aunt.

  17. Alicia M says:

    This was so empowering and motivating. I too suffer from anxiety and depression and I struggle with everyday life. Kudos to Late Man so supporting such a good cause!!!!

  18. Kathleen says:

    Thank you for sharing my daughter is bipolar suffers from depression and anxiety ill will pass this on to her God bless you for fighting the cause “silent no more”

  19. Dottie says:

    You are such a strong individual and an amazing person
    God bless and keep you strong. Congrats on the new family members.

  20. Kim W says:

    Kate, I agree totally with you. Anxiety and depression are a part of the lives of those you have it. Hiding it only keeps it there. It needs to be acknowledged and dealt with!!! God bless you for helping others!!!

  21. Jennifer S says:

    This truly resonates on so many levels, and you’re making me question my aversion to donating to BC2M – because they are “only” about working to change the public stigma. But, having recently “come out” as bipolar to my small town in a pretty public way, I’m realizing that we need more of this and my one voice can do little. But a voice amplified through BC2M can reach hundreds of thousands. Thank you for sharing your story.

  22. Anna G says:

    Thank you Kate for this wonderful blog. Bringing awareness to mental health.

  23. Tanya P says:

    Very touching story and on point. That was amazing you put what others feel into words, thank you.

  24. Heidi T says:

    Beautifully said. Most people are afraid to admit it.

  25. Sandy McG says:

    My husband and I both suffer from depression and anxiety for which we are medicated. We don’t try to hide it; it’s a part of who we are and it takes a lot of work to live with it because meds do not make it go away; it just makes it bearable.

    By the way. I really miss you on DOOL. You were terrific in the role of Abby. God bless you and I wish only the best for you as you move forward. MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR.

  26. Kim says:

    Kate, Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have suffered from anxiety for many years, and have many relatives on both sides of the family with mental illness including my 27 year old half brother with Aspergers and bipolar disorder. The holidays can be hard, especially the last 3 years. Congratulations on your new nephews! You are a great actress and I wish you well with your career. Your new nephews are lucky to have you for an aunt.

  27. Christine says:

    Hi Kate Mansi, Thank you for being so open. I have constant anxiety and occasional depression. My live in bf has constant depression. Neither is fun at all. I have learned to accept my anxiety and do not push myself to do what is not ‘comfortable’ often. The times I do push myself, I set limits to what I can tolerate or accomplish! I wish you success with all your endeavors. You have accomplished so much and still have far to go! Enjoy aunthood. I so understand your elation. When my sister gave birth, I did not want to leave the baby at all. It is such a gift.

  28. Candace W says:

    Depressed does not = “crazy”. Those who wish to communicate with others are NOT always “stalkers”. People who are chronically ill (as myself) need communication most of all IMO….but are often maligned and/or misunderstood.
    Has been hard 4 me personally 2 enjoy cyberspace as I seem to always have 2 defend the mood I am in or explain something others choose not 2 comprehend

    🙁

  29. Michelle H says:

    Wow very deep and indeed touched me on so many levels

  30. Diane says:

    Thank you so much Kate! Thank you for your honesty! I sure miss you on Days! Come back!

  31. Cheryl K says:

    First, just want to say that I loved you on Days!! I’m sorry to hear what you are going through & you are definitely a strong woman to tell everyone about it! I to, have anxiety & am depressed a lot (I’m 57)of the time. I believe, as it’s how I felt, that I have been depressed since I was little. Part of it is due to the fact that I have ALWAYS been a shy, quiet person. Call it very reserved, whatever. It has always hard for me to make friends, really don’t have any. I usually have a “meltdown” once or twice a month where I really have crying sessions. It also doesn’t help that I don’t live close to family. I am married (not always happily), have 2 sons & 2 grandchildren. I haven’t talked to anyone about it other than I mentioned it once to my sister about feeling depressed & she goes, oh come on, like how could you be. You just can’t go by looks, you never know. I know you will be a great Aunt to those boys!! And I say that if you’re having a bad day, so what, just stay in & crying it out til you feel better! Keep the faith & I hope you have a great holiday!! P.S. Would love to meet you one day!!

  32. Gina says:

    Congrats on your new nephews and you did a
    great job on explaining depression and anxiety You
    are a strong person and you will be ok. Miss you on Days

  33. Nancy P says:

    Thanks Kate for the beautiful blog and sharing your feelings. I miss you so much. On DOOL!!!Please come back!! This girl is no way Abby!
    I have suffered since 1989 with major depression and anxiety. God help us all!

  34. Krys says:

    Kate thank you so much for your story and congrats on becoming an aunt. I’ve been battling anxiety and depression for almost 4 years now and it’s such an awful thing to go through. I am medicated for it but sometimes even that doesn’t help. Everything you said is what people like me feel but don’t know how to talk about it because unless you experience it people really don’t get it. I miss you on days of our lives!

  35. Sue says:

    Hello,
    I can’t seem to shake my Depression on a daily basis where it stagnates every thought in my mind. I’ve been in Therapy off and on for the last twenty years. I’m against medication because I feel it never helped me. I’m also in CBT every week because I don’t take medications. I’m always thinking about not being on this planet. I’m hoping I can open a platform to chat with people with this illness on a daily basis. The CBT I do is only a research program that lasts about 12 weeks. This is my second time doing the same program. I hope to hear from someone soon with other suggestions to help me.

  36. William S says:

    This is an excellent article.
    I found it much easier to live with my anxiety and depression once I accepted that it was a part of who I am and that by incorporating many of the positive methods we are learning today into my daily routine that I can live a happy life.
    Workouts and running are key elements for me.
    Thank you Kate
    Namaste!

  37. Kristina S says:

    I deal with depression and anxiety and PTSD…I dont take no meds cause I got a fear I will abuse them cause I once was on street drugs and When I get on the meds Im always get extra bleeding during the time of month which i dont need..What else can I use to help me besides my esa or sd and therapy..

  38. Regina S. says:

    Kate, Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have had anxiety & depression for many years and have always been made to feel like it is something to keep quiet. Or not to be talked about. It makes me feel like I am not so alone when someone like you tells their story. So I thank you so very much. I would love the stigma to be gone regarding mental health issues.

  39. Paula E says:

    Beautifully said Kate. Going through anxiety now and this helped by putting things in perspective. Enjoy those babies because they grow up fast.
    Paula

  40. Lowrie W says:

    I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety since I was a child and am now 65. I’ve been off my meds for four years now and so far, so good. I know from experience that it can return at any minute but I’m not dwelling on that or so naive to think I can just wish it away. So many times people have made the dumbest comments because they don’t understand that it’s not a choice we make to be depressed. I’m so glad to hear you’re trying to bring awareness to the illness. Thanks

  41. susan s says:

    I love your story and i love you Abie on days wish you would come back miss you lots

  42. peggy says:

    Hi Kate I am so happy u can admit depression and anxiety at an early age. I have dealt with depression and anxiety all my life until my mid 40’s. I am now taking medication for my unbalanced chemicals in my brain. I do not know if u can answer this question but those scenes with A.J. in the shower how do u not fall for him or any other man when u are in those scenes? Thx. I think u are beautiful.

  43. Kimberly says:

    I could not have found your words at a better time. I have struggled for years and it is right in front of me more now than ever. I am a wife, mother, and nursing student. I recently had to “give in” and see a doctor because the anxiety part was crippling me this semester. You are truly an inspiration and I continue to pray for you and look forward to what lies ahead for you. ❤️

  44. Lora says:

    I deal with depression also every day..Its so very hard .I take medicine for this & I think it might help just a little bit, but not as much as it should..I feel lost sad and alone but there’s alto of family around me…I feel like running away all the time..but I know this wouldn’t help me at all…I look myself in my bed room as much as I can…I even tell my family my head is hurting. .so they will stay away…I try to make myself happy but no matter what I do..I feel the same all the time..I seen My dad passed away several years ago..I be also seen my nieces & nephews being born..but I still feel the same…Feeling lost…

  45. Marilyn H says:

    Thank you so much for your beautiful and personal story. My daughter, 28, has struggled with depression and severe anxiety for most of her life. She and I are VERY close and I feel every bit of pain she feels and it constantly breaks my heart. Because I am her mom, I am supposed to be able to fix everything. This is true even though she is a grown adult because once a mother, always a mother and I know her pain and I’m her “security blanket” and “safe place” which everyone, especially with mental health issues need. She has dealt with so many things and although she has made major strides that comes with a lot of hard work, terrible things have happened to her which has tried hard to push her back. She stands strong against the times that she is able to, however, some of these tragedies have pushed her many, many steps back. Depression and anxiety is very real. Too many people tell her to “snap out of it” and tell me to “tell her to grow up and handle it”. It breaks my heart for her and my heart feels for you as well. You sound like you are learning how to handle these things and I know how hard you have worked at it. I admire people like you and my daughter who have to work very hard to get through a day or an event when so many people fail to understand what their words or actions do to people who are dealing with mental health. I loved you on DOOL and I miss you but I admire you more than ever. Please keep posting information on how you are doing and how we can help. Thank you again for putting your feelings out there so beautifully for others to be inspired by.

  46. Eileen S says:

    Beautiful. I related to every single tender word out of your sweet mouth. I feel like you every day of my life and watching you on Days of Our Lives really really got to me. I wish you health, love and lots of Blessings to continue your journey. Love and Respect you so very much.

  47. Kathy B says:

    I have bipolar all my life. When I was 26 I had a life event that put me in to a tail spin. I was suppose to get married and the guy broke up with me. I could not stop crying I thought it was something that I did. That is when I found out that this is what I had. It took along time to come to understand that it is something that I have. I let it rule me. It stopped me from doing things that I really wanted to do. Then all of the something happened to me. I realized that I was tired of living this way and took my life back. I am 55 years old. I am down to taking one medication for my mood. I hardly ever take Xanax anymore. I am 65 pounds lighter and I am feeling great. I know that I have it but I don’t let it rule me anymore.

  48. Michael Leo C says:

    I was upset when you left the show, but after seeing what great things you are doing in the world of mental health awareness, I am over the disappointment;) I too suffer from depression and anxiety, and that is why I felt and identified so much with your performances toward the end. It makes sense now, because you REALLY did understand those feelings. Thank you for everything you are doing! Still would love to see you on Days again
    someday:)

  49. Terri Sparks says:

    Kate, I want to thank you for sharing this part of your story. Im 53 and have had Panic Disorder w/Depression my entire life. My biggest problem are my family wanting me to stop my medication. Only I take them as prescribed, see my mental health physician every 3 months – and will not stop due to the fact being I know I need them. My physician agrees with me. I commend you on how your handling yours, I think its great.!! Now, I must add to my story – you killed me when you left DOOL you were the best and can not be replaced!!! Good luck.

  50. lynn c says:

    i appreciate your willingness to come forward. i live with bipolar disorder and anxiety. my highs can be wonderful or agitating and my lows can be horrid and suicidal. it can be fearful and paralyzing to go through the cycles not knowing which one or the effects of it. stigma is very hard thinking to overcome. it is great that you, like me, are not afraid to be open about the parts of ourselves that others find scary and confusing. thank you for helping to overcome stigma.

  51. lynn c says:

    i just posted a comment. forgot this. by the way kate, i have watched DOOL since i was 12. i have loved watching your character and will miss you as abby

  52. AET says:

    Thank you Kate for this article. I too have anxiety and depression that I have been dealing with for almost 20 years. Reading your Story really helped me put things in perspective… Btw, I really miss you on Days. The new Abby is ok but she is not
    as good as you were!

  53. lisa m g says:

    Thank you Kate as one that has suffered from depression and anxiety due to severe Child Abuse it affects my life till this day and I’m 41 I get afraid when a man raises his voice so my protection is be defensive so no one hurts me again he choked me more times than I care to count pinning me down to the floor and choking me I have been shocked, my lip busted open, made to eat my own puke, made to play out in extreme heat so he wouldn’t he to deal with me, I was beaten with belts, yard sticks a two by four, called horrible name a whore a n lover he was a huge racist I was only like 13 and he would taunt me saying there’s a N to suck till I was in tears I wanted to die another incident my friend went with us to a state fair it was a long trip and were in the bed of the truck so we played boyfriend and girlfriend seen were laying to close I was lesbian and the verbal abuse was horrible I wanted to die. I ran away from home I wasn’t aloud friends over or to go anywhere hardly ever at time I would put my dresser in front of my bedroom door afraid he would kill me he once asked me to help him move a table saw knowing it would shock the hell out of me, then a neighbor girl gave him a dirty look and made me fight her I didn’t want to but I know my chances where better against her so I did a few days later I apologized and explained why . He would call me fat if I wanted a bowl of ice cream he would say why don’t you eat the whole damn thing, we would go for walks he would switch me. Years after I got on my own I I asked him why he said I deserved it. We eventually got along I only did so to have a relationship with my mom when he died my life tailspinned with anger ,hate, love relief and no closer so I had to start therapy. Also with two sexual assaults I tried to kill myself a day before my birthday if it wasn’t for my son 3 at the time I wouldn’t be the plan was to go to sleep and not wake up I wasnt planning to go into shock he came to me and said what’s wrong mommy knew then that I need help a ran to a neighbor for help . I still struggle with depression and anxiety but I been with a good man for 14 years anyone struggling with depression and anxiety there is always hope my prayers are with you. When you did the scenes with Ben it was very emotional for me.

  54. Marjorie E says:

    My Son has anxiety and depression. He inherited it from his father. He has gone back to college, and is going through a divorce, so I pray for him every day, & try to help him as much as I can!! It’s so hard watching someone you love go through this!!!❤ Thank you for addressing this, and we miss you on days!! It’s just not the same!!!❤ Blessings!!!❤

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *