Depression: Putting Yourself Last Causes Depression

by Angela Brooks

Most women are doing too much, expecting too much, influenced by crap and were never taught to take care of themselves. As a mom of two handsome young men, I am guilty for putting myself last in taking care of myself and making plans for my own personal growth.

Guilt sets in when plans are made without the boys or my husband involved, feeling as if I am selfishly taken time away from my family. When in fact – when I do invest in myself, I give them a happier, better mom and wife.

Over the years women have been taught and some expected to take care of the children, the household chores,, the meals, errands for the household, take children to their activities. Plus in today's average families, also work a full 40 hour a week job. No wonder so many women are worn out, out of shape and depressed.

Unresolved anger, and fear cause women to drop out of the game and let their own needs go without realizing how it is making them feel. After taking care of a full plate of everyone else's needs they give the excuse of being too tired or it is to late. It becomes a form of self abuse, almost as if they are the sacrifice for everyone else to succeed.

Putting Yourself Last Causes Depression

Expecting yourself to fill the shoes of wonder mom leaves you feeling empty and frustrated. Magazines and Television show moms with a baby on their hip, dressed for business, talking on the phone and smiling. The real truth in – one person cannot do it all without burn out.

Very few women are taught how to take care of themselves; most are influenced with so much crap the focus is taken away from their own health and needs. Leaving mom agitated and tired.

When I began my home business, I was working full time at night, multi-tasking on very little sleep. Attending the boys activities and not taken any time away from the rush of the daily events for me. I began falling apart at the seams and stayed frustrated. I pulled back and had to make a decision quick before mom popped like a balloon. Investing into my own personal growth, exercising – education for my business and branching out to a whole new outlook. I began to change how I was thinking.

After returning from a mastermind event with a group of talented women it shifted my thinking about me and my business – My husband gave me the best compliment I could ever have received. "You have a new business and I have a new wife." The smile had returned to my face. I felt happier than I have been in a long time.

Why? Because I took time for me and my dream.

Women need to step out of the dirty laundry room and re-discover who they are. Over the years, as I observe and listen to not only the patients at the hospital, but the nurses on the unit as well. Frustration is a common conversation around the water cooler. A lot of women feel that when they have children and get married all their dreams have to be placed on the back burner or forgotten. Within a few short years or working in robot mode – people begin to see a changed person.

Who Am I?

I always think about the older lady who came to the hospital, whom for 30 plus years had served her husband and her children. She ran the household like a business. When her husband came home from work one day and told her it was over. She was devastated. She had no idea who she was without the role she had lived for all of those years. She had lost herself taking care of her family. To her surprise she had a serious wakeup call on her life. Who am I?

Don't wait until you're so worn out, out of shape, depressed before you start living. When you live a full life those around you will benefit from your new joy. Stop worrying about not being enough, or what people will think, (I mean who really cares anyway), forget the rejection, no one will notice if your clothes are ironed or your hair is perfect. When you give others your control, you're allowing them to determine yourself worth. Start a journal today and you will amaze yourself what you will learn about YOU.




Angela Brooks has worked in a state-funded psychiatric hospital in Kentucky for 21 years as a nurse, assisting sometimes-dangerous patients who come in shackled and cuffed. At, she offers stories of life on the inside of a psychiatric ward, and the site, as well as her company, offers support for nurses in the mental health field and helps them bring passion into their role at work.

On her BlogTalkRadio show, Mental Happiness with Angela Brooks, she shares some of her experiences “learning to love those others have forsaken” and gives tips on how to bring peace to your own life.

Everyday we share insights, strategies and even some of our biggest secrets to nurse entrepreneurs  on our Facebook page!  Join the fun and connect with like-minded business owners and Nurses EVERY single day!  Click here and "become friends" with  Angela's NOW!

* Please note: I am not here to CURE, DIAGNOSE, Treat or suggest replacements for what a doctor prescribes. The names used in this post are not the real names of the people being mentioned – I am sharing my nursing adventures with you.

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Angela Brooks is a retired nurse after 25 years in mental health. She used her lunch breaks to build her business part time on the night shift. Her car became a mobile university as she listened to business training, coaching calls on CD and phone webinars. She blogged while she was at her sons' baseball practices.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 denny hagel January 20, 2011 at 5:57 am

Angela this is awesome! So many important reminders for woman! Fact is if we don't take the time to refill our "bank of giving" we will eventually be running on empty…and then we are no good to anyone, especially those we love! Thanks for sharing your wisdom and insights. Well done!

2 Lily January 20, 2011 at 7:10 am

You said it sister!  I was single for a long time before marriage and instant family (stepchildren), so I only lasted a year before I thought I'd snap if I didn't start getting a lot more time for myself.  I see a number of my mommy friends in the middle of the same struggle, and there doesn't seem to be much I can do to help.  Maybe I should direct them to your blog!
Lily 🙂

3 Angela Brooks January 20, 2011 at 7:32 am

Lily – send them here! Who knows it could be just the boost they need to hear.

4 Angela Brooks January 20, 2011 at 7:33 am

Thank you Denny. People feel selfish if they do something good to or for themselves. It is the best thing we can do.

5 Victoria Gazeley January 20, 2011 at 9:49 am

Boy did I need to hear this today!!!  This building a business while still 'working' our regular gig stretches us in ways I couldn't have ever imagined.  And no matter how many times I've heard this in the past, it never really went from 'yeah, I know, I know', to actually doing it.  I waited so long to realize my dream of working for myself that now that it's happened recently, it seems like there's now REALLY no time for 'me'.  But obviously there is… ;o)  Thanks so much for this eloquent reminder.  Time for a spa day!  But first I'm off for a weekend on my own – to WordCamp!  Is that geeky?  Probably.  It's sort of like a vacation, though – it's out of town at least!  ;o)  Thanks, Angela.

6 Angela Brooks January 20, 2011 at 9:52 am

Enjoy your weekend! You will love yourself for doing that

7 Claudia Looi January 21, 2011 at 11:38 am

Angela, good word. Many women lost their identity after years of being home, work etc. I was one. Thanks for sharing.

8 Joy January 21, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Angela, such a timely message for women everywhere as we make new years resolutions we can add ourselves and our dreams back into the picture!

9 Angela Brooks January 21, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Yes Joy – it seems to happen with out planning for it too and before you know you don’t even know who you are any more

10 Angela Brooks January 21, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Your welcome Claudia –

11 jeannette webb March 15, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Angela,  Your story is my story.  Why is it that women so often fall into this trap?  l loved your affirmation for all of us to take care of ourselves and be better people in the process.

12 Angela Brooks March 15, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Jeannette – so many people struggle with depression….even those that wear a smile and look perfect on the outside.

13 Sharon O'Day March 15, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Okay, you're taking care of the family, doing everything the kids … and your husband … need.  You're also working full time.  AND now you've decided to start a business to supplement the household income.
You have two choices:  you can put on your on your Linda Carter-type golden bustier and your tight blue shorts with white stars … and pretend you're Wonder Woman.  Or you can enlist the help of all the players who are going to somehow benefit from all your efforts: that means your husband, your kids, other family members, your baby sitter, your UPS man, everyone!
There's no way you can stretch yourself thin enough to cover all bases perfectly.  Your success depends on redefining things you always took for granted as your sacred, life-will-end-if-I-don't-do-this responsibilities.  From mentoring women through this transition, here are my four suggestions:  (1) find your sense of humor and laugh off all your little screw-ups, (2) delegate, delegate, delegate the little stuff while involving everyone in your "why," 3) give up trying to be perfect, and (4) steal time to do stuff that nurtures you.
Understand that the time you "steal" means something else won't get done.   But also understand that if you don't "feed" yourself, you'll fail.  And everyone will be poorer for it …
Go ahead, pick how you want to define yourself:  victim … martyr … or fulfilled and loving achiever.

14 Angela Brooks March 15, 2011 at 8:05 pm

Just sayin my husband would love to see me in the wonder women suit. Without my husband and the boys help there is no way I would get done the things I do. Delegate is one thing I do well. No job is mine alone. It is a team around here and so many people think they have to do it all themselves. I once tried to do it all and it is not possible and still be happy.

15 Annemarie Cross March 17, 2011 at 12:21 am

Very important words here Angela. Several years ago I decided NOT to feel guilty if the house wasn't clean; if I lay down on the couch for 10 minutes to rest; or if I decided to watch a movie instead of doing the ironing Thank goodness I did! I can highly recommend it to everyone!! Stop putting yourself last – Amen to that Angela!!

16 Angela Brooks March 17, 2011 at 9:50 am

Anniemarie – some where is our culture taking time out for us and even resting is almost looked down on… when in fact that is what makes us better people. Thank you for reading

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