I know all about depression.
Eight years ago it nearly destroyed me.
I was sad. I was crying all of the time. I didn’t leave the house much. I drank too much. I felt worthless. I felt ugly. I felt like the world would be a better place without me.
Getting out of bed was painful. Both physically and emotionally. But I did it, every day, because there were two beautiful little boys who needed for me to get out of bed.
Those were the worst days of my life.
I was sick. So very sick. And even though I was surrounded by people who loved me, I felt alone. I felt unworthy of love. I didn’t know where to turn for help. No one around me understood what I was going through. I had two beautiful children, a loving husband–why in the hell was I so sad? Didn’t I realize how lucky I was?
Unable to turn to the people closest to me, I began to write about what I was going through on my blog. In graphic detail. (I’ve since deleted a majority of those posts. They were too difficult to read and I was mortified at the thought of my children reading them.) I started receiving emails from people suggesting that I seek professional help. I knew that was what I needed to do. But I was afraid. Terrified, even. People Who Love Jesus don’t need psychiatric help. They just pray harder and trust in God. Because People Who Love Jesus don’t get depressed and they certainly DO NOT TAKE THE DEVIL PILLS CALLED ANTIDEPRESSANTS. I knew that going to a psychiatrist would be frowned upon by my family. I knew that they would tell me that satan was responsible for my depression and I just needed to draw closer to God.
So I continued to live with and in Depression out of fear. Fear of being judged. Of being scolded. Of being the subject of Friday night prayer meetings.
But then, one afternoon, something happened. Something awful.
I had a mental breakdown. In front of my children.
My husband called me a bad mother.
“I know you love your kids and you take care of their basic needs.” He said. “You make sure they’re clean and dressed and fed, but you don’t show them love beyond that. You don’t go that extra mile for you kids anymore.”
(He was angry that I hadn’t done the dishes again.)
In that moment, all of the sadness, loneliness, worthlessness that I had been experiencing came out of my body. I won’t go into detail, but I will tell you that it was horrifying. My husband had to refrain me from injuring myself. All while my precious little E watched in horror while hiding underneath the kitchen table. (A memory I wish I could forget, but can’t erase from my mind.) It was in that moment that I knew I had to get help. It didn’t matter at that point what other people thought about my decision. I had to get well. For myself, but especially for my children.
Taking the step to get help was the best decision I ever made. I now have a deep understanding of depression, of how my brain works. I am no longer ashamed to seek help from a mental health professional or afraid of taking anti-depressants. If I hadn’t done that, I don’t know that I’d be around, typing this.
I know that I’ll always struggle with feelings of depression. But now I am better equipped to deal with them. I know when I need to make an appointment with my psychiatrist, when I need to allow myself to feel the sadness. I know when I need to be quiet and when I need to speak up and give my feelings a voice. I know when I need to pull away from people but more importantly, when I need to surround myself with people that I love.
I’m not as sad as I was when I wrote my last post. I’m able to talk about things now.
I guess this is a really long, drawn out way of saying I’m feeling better and I’m going to be just fine. Really.
My husband just walked into the room and noticed the tears forming in my eyes. “Why are you crying?” He asked. I snapped at him. “I don’t want to talk about it. I’m just having a bad day. Please, don’t ask me again.”
That wasn’t the truth. It’s not just a bad day. It’s a familiar, dark cloud that has been looming over me for the past few weeks. I don’t want to give a voice to that cloud. (But I will give it a name. Asshole.)
I’ve struggled with severe depression in the past, so any time I deal with these feelings, I wonder– could it be? Maybe it is.
Or maybe it’s just PMS.
While I can’t deny they exist, I don’t want to give these feelings power over me. Which is why I just don’t want to talk about it.
What I do want is to be surrounded my family and friends– to laugh, to go to dueling pianos bars and sing and dance. And also? Eat cheesecake.
I want to eat lots and lots of cheesecake.
(Because that’s better than drinking lots and lots of wine, yes?)
This is about as deep as I want to reach into my Feelings at the moment. Thank you for understanding. And for the hugs and kisses I hope you will shower me with.
On Tuesday I had to go see an ophthalmologist.
(There is something weird happening in my right eye that leads to headaches that my doctor feels I need to have checked out. CT Scan next month. FUN!)
He did some weird things to my eyes that didn’t hurt at all, but totally freaked me out (numbing the top layer of my eye, what?) When he was finished, he didn’t see anything wrong with my eye, but wanted to do a few more tests to be sure. He had to go get the nurse, so he did something kind of dangerous.
He left me alone in the room with his computer. The computer that had my medical history. As soon as he left, I got up to look.
Right there on the screen was my medical history.
The thing that stood out right away was something titled “Problem List.”
The thing is– that’s just a snippet of the list! (Look at the scroll button! So much scrolling!) I wasn’t brave enough to scroll. Too afraid of a) getting busted by the doctor for playing on his computer b) finding out new things that I didn’t know was wrong with me!
I GET IT, MEDICAL RECORD. I’VE GOT PROBLEMS.
And one of them is GERD.
I’m never telling my doctor about the peeing when coughing. I don’t need to see that on the list.
This is why my doctor calls me “a fun mess.” you guys.
Except, I’m pretty sure there’s nothing fun about GERD.
Last night, as I was tucking my boys into bed, Andrew looked me in the eye and asked me what was wrong.
“I can tell something’s wrong, mom. You seem sad.”
I told him I wasn’t feeling good, that my kidneys have been hurting again and it was making me very tired.
I was taken aback for a second.
Funny how you think you can hide things from your children, but they know.
“A little bit, baby, but I’ll be ok.”
“I hope you don’t get the bad depression again. You were always crying and you forgot to give me a birthday party that year”
Did you just hear that sound? That was my heart breaking into a million tiny pieces.
I knew it affected my children, I knew that they paid a price for my mostly selfish depression, but at that moment, I realised HOW it affected them.
The guilt is somewhat overwhelming this morning. The fact that him seeing me sad makes him worry inside, it’s too much to bear.
I hugged him, told him I was sorry and assured him that will NEVER happen again.
I’m not going to give into these thoughts, this sadness, this depression.
It’s funny. I was happily strolling along the path of life, when out of NOWHERE, depression hit me like a bat to the head and suddenly, I found myself on the ground, unable to get up, unable to catch my breath.
But this time, I cried out to God, I asked for his help, for his wisdom, for his understanding of my purpose in this world.
I finally realised I can’t do this without him. I’ve tried that once before, and I failed miserably.
I sit and wonder what brought this on. Could it be physical? I haven’t felt well in weeks, my kidneys are aching again. I’m unable to sleep at night, so I have a hard time functioning during the day. The lack of sleep could be the problem.
Maybe it’s the jealousy? That’s right, I’m jealous of everyone and everything.
Jealous of people who own houses. Jealous of people who have money. Jealous of people who are funny. Jealous of people who have new cars. Jealous of people who are pregnant (what the HELL? I don’t want more kids! So…why?) Jealous of people who know how to decorate their houses. Jealous of people who are on vacation. Jealous of people who have pretty, white, straight teeth. Jealous of people who know how to dance. Jealous of people who live in NYC. Jealous of EVERYTHING THAT I DO NOT HAVE, CAN NOT DO, CAN NOT AFFORD, and so on and so forth.
Which is weird, because I’m not like that. I don’t LIKE people who are like that. I like to be happy for people! I like to celebrate people’s good fortune! But recently? When someone tells me good news? Instead of smiling and saying “that’s so AWESOME! I’m SO HAPPY! I flat out tell them… “I’M JEALOUS!”
How embarassing to admit this, but it’s the truth.
And what do they say about the truth?
It shall set you free.
I am thankful that I no longer feel like the tortured girl in that picture. I am thankful she is a stranger to me. I am so grateful that I no longer hurt myself, that I no longer hate myself. That I no longer wake up wishing I could just go back to sleep forever, never having to wake up again. I’m so thankful I no longer wish I were dead.
Instead, I wake up with a smile on my face.
I look forward to the day, I can’t wait to go wake my children up so I can hug them, kiss them and tell them I love them.
I am so thankful for the friends who helped me and stood by me in my darkest moments. I’m thankful for their love, patience and honesty.
I’m thankful that when I look at that picture of myself, I still remember exactly how I felt the moment I took that picture because I never want to forgot how awful it felt to be like that. That way, I never take this joy I feel now for granted.
Are Americans over medicated?
Have we become a nation of pill poppin pussies?
I have such conflicted feelings on the issue. I fought taking anti depressents for a long time, but when I started hurting myself, when I wouldn’t leave the house and my job was in jeopardy because all of the time I was missing, when I didn’t want to get out of bed anymore, I finally decided I had to do something. For me, that was taking medication.
Not only that, I also went to therapy and depression group. I know pills alone aren’t the answer.
But are doctors too eager and willing to hand out pills instead of directing people on other ways to help themselves?
Perhaps, but I know from experience there are those who truly need the medication to get back to normal…
I’m sure there will always be people who think I’m weak because I needed medication, but the only thing that matters to me is that I did what I needed to do to get well for myself and my children.
I feel so humiliated.
I went to my friends sons first birthday party today. I wasn’t feeling well, and I almost didn’t go. But I love them so much I didn’t want to miss it, so I got my ass out of the house and went.
I could feel “it” coming on. I was uncomfortable being around a bunch of people I didn’t know, which is unusual for me, but I was extremely uncomfortable. I was hungry, but couldn’t eat. It was hot so I went inside to sit by myself and try to calm down.
It didn’t work. I started having an anxiety attack, right there. I got scared because I started going numb, I felt like I was going to pass out. I heard my friend talking and went to her. I was crying, shaking, hyperventilating and asked her to help me. She didn’t know what to do, so she just held my hand and told me it was going to be ok.
I have never had that happen in front of anyone but my husband. How fucking humiliating. I wanted to just die right there, I felt so stupid and ashamed.
She was very kind to me about it, infact, she is one of the best friends I could ever ask for, but I still can’t help being embarassed and sorry that she had to see that.
I sometimes wonder why my friends and family put up with me! If you only knew how grateful I am that they do, though.
I’m fighting urges to hurt myself at this very moment. I don’t know where this is coming from. I was laying in my bed, thinking and started to get frustrated. I could feel the rage and panic starting to take over and I started to tense up. I started feeling things I haven’t felt in a long time, feelings of anger and rage and hurt and my first reaction was to start tugging at my hair. Gently at first, then I started pulling harder.
I hate this, I actually am sitting here fighting the urge to inflict pain on myself. I want to rip my hair out, I want to beat myself, but I’m not going to. I’m not going to do that to myself. Instead I’ll type, I’ll think of all the good in my life and how far I’ve come. How blessed I am to have the best friends a person could ask for, How I have the most beautiful boys in the world and a husband who’s stood by my side through all of my struggles. I won’t think of the friends I’ve lost, or the things I can’t control. I refuse to do this to myself. I have come to far to let this take control of me again. I’m not going to let it happen. Fuck that.
Infact, I think I’m going to go to a group tonight and talk about this. I’m not going to ignore it, but I’m not going to let it beat me either. Hell no.
Ethan just showed me his kindergarten memory book. It’s filled with pictures of him throughout the year and some of his art work and writings.
I can’t stop crying.
I missed out on so much this year. I should have been there in his class watching him do these things, taking pictures, recording it. Instead, I layed in bed crying and beating myself screaming that “nobody loved me” all the while that precious boy was there at school thinking of his mommy, the mommy he loved with all his heart hoping she’d come help in class and watch him play on the playground.
I wasn’t there for my little boy.
I can’t believe the pain and grief I feel in my heart at this very moment.
Memories I can never get back.
I feel sick and I can’t stop crying. I missed out on so much.
I can’t ever get those memories back, I can’t make it up to him.
All I can do is vow to never let it happen again.
I’ve undergone so many changes in the last few months. It’s been overwhelming and I thought it was going to break me, but it didn’t.
I have found out I am stronger than I ever imagined.
There were things that happened to me that no one knows about, things I never thought I would be able to get past, but I did and I am a better person for it.
I still have bad days, there are still moments when I cry, when I wonder if I could have done things differently. There are still times I am overwhelmed with sadness and hurt, but it no longer controls me. I have taken control of my life.
The first step was getting help. At first I was embarrassed, I was ashamed, but now I am proud that I did it. I am proud that I didn’t wallow in my darkness, but I sought ways to make it better and to change.
And you better believe I’ve changed. And for the better.
I stopped using other people to fill the void in my life and for the first time in my life I took a deep, hard look at myself and decided I needed to fix me, I needed stop trying to make myself feel better by trying to fix everyone else.
I will never again base my worth as a person on what others think of me. I will make myself happy by working hard, loving and living life.
I will never again use other people, alcohol, or food to fill the voids or to stop the pain. Instead, I will confront those issues head on in therapy , I will explore my spirituality, and I will ask for help when I need it rather than trying to do it all on my own.
I think that is one of the biggest lessons I have learned through all of this. Accepting help does not make me weak (which is what I used to believe). If anything, it takes alot of courage to admit you’re not perfect, that you can’t do it all and that it’s ok to lean on others in your weakest moments. As long as you do your part in trying to get back on your feet again. And that’s what I’ve done and will continue to do for as long as I need to.