I suppose my struggles with depression started in High School. At least that is the first time I remember feeling sad, helpless, hopeless. I was a freshman I think and I remember being in the car with my mom. She pointed out that she thought I was unhappy. I knew I was, but I thought I was hiding it well. I wasn't. My mom was not a touchy feely mom. We did not often talk of emotions or feelings. We had a great relationship, it just wasn't a love fest, so to speak. So for her to broach this topic, I knew it was apparent that I was heading down a path she didn't want me to go down.
I made a decision at that point to be happy. It was that easy, it really was. From that point on, I was pretty happy. Sure I had bad days, just like every one, but they were here and there, nothing unbearable.
My mom died unexpectedly in 2005. Three months after I got married, she was gone. I was a mess. I flew home immediately and for two weeks, I was with my sister and dad, figuring things out. I am the youngest. I live in California. My family is in Denver. My sister was there that morning. She arrived at my parents while my mother was still in the house. She arrived to the fire trucks, ambulance, police cars and medical examiner. She was there when they wheeled my mother's lifeless body out on a gurney. I was in California, in bed, sleeping.
When my father called, I didn't pick up the phone. He then called my cell phone. I knew it was something tragic at that point, but I had no idea of the train that was about to hit me head on. When he told me, I began to scream. He immediately handed the phone to my sister. When I arrived in Denver, I was useless. There were things that needed to be done and for the most part, I sat. The phone would ring and I would sit. The doorbell would chime and I would sit. I was unable to make myself do anything. My sister did it all. I think back on it now and realize how terrible it must have been for her. We both lost our mom and yet, it did not register with me that she might just want to sit. She never did. She always moved forward.
When I returned to California, I went back to work immediately. Things were okay for a while. For about six months, I was able to function normally. We scattered my mom's ashes in the mountains, had a nice Thanksgiving dinner at the table I grew up sitting around. Things were definitely different, lonely, but okay. It wasn't until January that the depression took hold. For me, it manifested itself at home. I stopped cleaning, doing laundry, cooking. I showered every other day at most, sometimes going a few days in between a good hot shower. Every night, I would come up with some reason why I could not go to work the next day. I would agonize over work, but every morning, I would wake up, get dressed (sans shower) and show up. I was fine during the work day but the cycle would start all over again when I got home.
I let this continue until I simply could not function at home at all anymore. I let it go on until I was afraid my husband was at his wits end with the filthy, laundry filled house. I realized I had to do something before I lost myself completely. I sought out a therapist. I went to someone who my friend saw when her dad died. For eight months I went. Several times a week I would sit in the chair, petting her dog and talking through my feelings. I never felt completely comfortable and once I did the laundry, made a meal and proceeded to shower daily, I quit going.
I was okay until I had Luisa. I was totally overwhelmed and cried for two weeks straight. I knew that was normal and sure enough, after two weeks it was fine. I was okay until she was 31/2 months old and the world came crashing down on me. I was getting up twice a night and I was irate. I was so mad at this tiny little defenseless baby. It was a terrible feeling. I also didn't want to see anyone, didn't want to talk on the phone or have visitors. I was still at home with Luisa and I would cry if I had to leave the house for anything other than Stroller Strides. Sometimes I would cry at Stroller Strides. I got medication that was a god send (God makes meds ya know) and I was better.
I stayed on the medication for four months and then slowly weaned myself off. I had been fine for a few months....until last week. Luisa is turning one, we are spending our life savings on a home renovation and Luisa is going to start daycare in November. A lot is going on, I realize, so I ignored it as long as I could. Then one night I couldn't get Luisa to bed and it all came back. I was mad at her (HELLO, SHE'S 11 MONTHS OLD!!). I didn't want to see my friends, I didn't want to go to work and I hadn't talked to my dad in over two weeks.
The good news? I know how to spot it. I know there are steps I can take, with out medication, to help my circumstances. I know that I am a person who absolutely needs to exercise (even though I LOATHE it) , needs to get outside, needs to be around positive people. I am making changes right now to see if I can kick this with out the help of a prescription, but believe you me, if I can't, I already have the meds on hand.
There is nothing wrong with suffering from depression. There is nothing wrong with using medication to combat this horrible disease. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. I am okay with the fact that I have to deal with this, I know that I will get through it. My depression is not epic. It has never landed me in the hospital, it has never gotten so bad that I have thought of ending my life, but it has been debilitating in its own right. It doesn't matter who you are, how bad it is or isn't, there are solutions and they are fine. If anyone tells you different, send them to me. I just might feel better after beating the crap out of someone.