Hello! Who are you?
I'm Lark Begin and live in Ottawa Ontario Canada. I own my own business in the digital marketing space. I have 2 pet guinea pigs. I enjoy nature, the outdoors, hiking, fishing, and strength training. I have been married to my husband since 2011. I consider myself to be happy most of the time, but I continue to struggle a few times per month.
💡 By the way: Do you find it hard to be happy and in control of your life? It may not be your fault. To help you feel better, we've condensed the information of 100's of articles into a 10-step mental health cheat sheet to help you be more in control. 👇
Don't Miss Out On Happiness
Find happiness with this 10-step mental health cheat sheet.
What is your struggle and when did it start?
I struggle with depression and anxiety. I occasionally experience high stress and dark days. It started 20 years ago when I was in my first year at University and had just experienced a bad breakup.
It wasn’t treated until 1 year after I struggled with an eating disorder. I got help and saw a psychiatrist and psychologist. The combination of CBT therapy and medication helped. Over time it was manageable.
Since trying to get pregnant in 2014, I went off the medication. Things were ok throughout the pregnancy but the depression came back as Postpartum Depression (PPD) after my first child. I thought it was just because I was a new parent and lacked sleep. The new addition made our life a bit more difficult, so naturally, there were days with added stress. But it was still manageable.
I had my second child in 2018 and during that pregnancy, I had to go back on medication due to severe depression. I have continued to be on the same medication since 2018. I tried going off of it for 2 months but the anxiety and dark days came back.
I still have a dark day 1-2x per month. The anxiety presents itself in stressful and social situations as well. This is still ongoing.
How did this struggle make you feel at your worst moments?
The depression has drained a part of my life that I will never get back. I can’t seem to not see the dark side of things even when I’m fully happy - I feel like it won’t last.
I hid it - until the depression manifested itself into an eating disorder. I got very thin, then people started to worry. My parents pushed me into doing therapy as they were very worried about my health.
👉 Share your story: Help thousands of people around the world by sharing your own story. We would love to publish your interview and have a positive impact on the world together. Learn more here.
Was there a moment when you started to turn things around?
It took me around a year with the eating disorder for me to get help.
When I started doing CBT - it really made me understand why I was feeling the way I was. When I started taking meds, things definitely took a turn in the right direction. It felt easy to go about my day. The days didn’t drag on and the minutes didn’t feel like hours.
This change was a result of my circumstances (having parents that cared enough to push me to get help) in combination with my willingness to stick with therapy and get help by doing weekly and bi-weekly sessions.
I still see a therapist once per year or bi-annually, depending on if I feel I need some outside help.
What steps did you take to overcome your struggle?
Getting help takes a long time and getting medication can take even longer.
If you notice that your days seem difficult, reach out to someone. It’s definitely a process.
In the meantime, while you’re waiting for help from a progressional, read some popular books in the niche of anxiety and depression. This will let you stay informed and learn more about how you can deal with these difficult feelings on your own.
Seek professional help: Depression is a serious condition that should not be ignored. It's important to seek professional help from a therapist or a doctor who can provide you with the right diagnosis and treatment plan.
Build a support system: It's important to have a support system of friends and family who can provide emotional support during difficult times. Don't hesitate to reach out to those around you for help when you need it.
Practice self-care: Take care of yourself physically and emotionally. This can involve getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in activities that bring you joy.
Challenge negative thoughts: Depression can often be accompanied by negative self-talk and pessimistic thinking. Challenge these thoughts by replacing them with positive, realistic ones.
Set small goals: Setting small, achievable goals can help you build momentum and feel a sense of accomplishment. Start small and gradually work your way up to bigger goals.
Also, continue to read self-help books. You need to understand your mood disorder in order to overcome it. Be your own therapist while you wait for professional appointments.
I’ve read Mind Over Mood, which comes with a workbook that is easy to follow. It also shares several types of people’s experiences with depression and how they overcome their thoughts.
Dr. Robert Anthony wrote the book Beyond Positive Thinking, which I’ve read twice now, and would love to read again.
Focus on mindfulness and read books about being in the moment. This can help you reduce the day-to-day mundane feelings of similar patterns.
Have you shared any of this with people around you in real life?
I have shared my experience with depression and anxiety with 2 of my close friends and family members. I’m willing to share my struggles to help others deal with theirs.
I have found a lot of others that have had to deal with PPD, I find it helpful to talk about it.
If you could give a single piece of advice to someone else that struggles, what would that be?
I wish I knew the signs to look for when it came to having a bad day vs. being depressed. I didn’t think I had a treatable issue (depression). I thought I was just prone to having bad days. Depression is a medical condition and not a personal failure.
Are there any benefits that have come from your mood disorders?
My anxiety has pushed me to be self-reliant and resourceful. This allows me to be extremely organized, creative, stay focused on tasks and excel in my line of work. I also have a great amount of empathy for others, which can help me support and comfort others.
Having dark days also allows you to see the light in the good days and the little things. On a good day, you can really enjoy the small things and not be stuck in a dark cloud.
What have been the most influential books, podcasts, YouTube channels, or other resources for you?
The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne helped me understand anxiety disorders and offers practical strategies for managing anxiety symptoms.
The Noonday Demon by Andrew Solomon helped me understand causes, treatment options, and impact on individuals and society.
Where can we go to learn more about you?
💡 By the way: If you want to start feeling better and more productive, I've condensed the information of 100's of our articles into a 10-step mental health cheat sheet here. 👇
This Cheat Sheet Will Help You Be Happier and More Productive
Thrive under stress and crush your goals with these 10 unique tips for your mental health.
Want more interviews?
Continue reading our inspiring case studies and learn how to overcome mental health struggles in a positive way!
Want to help others with your story? We would love to publish your interview and have a positive impact on the world together. Learn more here.