As much as I was inclined to write about something amusing to display on the blog I share with my lovely and hardworking sister, this past week it has been hard to be amusing, because I haven’t been able to be amused, I haven’t been able to be lighthearted or funny. The beginning of this past week marked the start of a particularly extreme bout of depression for me. .
On a regular day, when my depression is being managed, I have fun, act like a big dork, love on my babies. I go out of my way to do something special and fun to entertain them as well as taking any chance I can to educate them. I can’t be slowed down when it comes to keeping up with them. I stay on top of the housekeeping (most of the time) and diapers, as well as situational maintenance (potty messes, etc.). I am a funny and outgoing mother and a devoted and overwhelmingly clingy wife.
However, when the depression sinks in my heart drops and I can feel everything bad anyone’s ever done to me like it is a testament to what a foul person I am, I feel like everything that has ever troubled my beautiful babies is my fault, and I’m ashamed to have them see my self-pity. The thought of them seeing me depressed and crying makes me more upset and disappointed in myself.
On these days where I have this hopeless feeling in my heart and an angry and morbidly upset film over each and every thought I have, I don’t do very well on my own. Sitting or lying alone in my room while my husband watches our kids exacerbates the theme that I am, in fact, useless. Going out among my family in times like these is even more painful, on account of the fact that even though my family is everything to make me realize the amazing quality of my life, they are so beautiful and funny, ornery and loving, that I am struck with a bad case of “I don’t deserve them”. I begin to think that everyone would be better off without me. To my husband, I perceive myself to be an annoyance. To my children, I feel as though I keep them from happiness because of my mothering skills.
Now, let’s be clear… there is no part of this individual that does not think myself amazing in all aspects of family life. I have some annoying quirks, like anyone with half of a personality, but I’m generally adored by the people whose opinions I value. The trouble is, like anyone who has suffered from severe depression knows, all the good things don’t matter when you feel that dark cloud starting to loom. Attempts to cheer you up by yourself or by a concerned bystander, or even a family member, are not only futile, the outside aide not working will only make you feel like more of a horrible person. My husband starts out wanting to know why I’m upset, wanting to help, but when I can’t even bring myself to speak, only cry, and beg him with my eyes to help me, just help me somehow feel better, he doesn’t know how to help me, or even where to begin. I can’t imagine seeing him feeling the way that I do at these times and not being able to help. It would break my heart.
Looking back on the history of my emotional and mental health problems, I remember the first time I felt this severe depression. I was less than 3 months pregnant with my first son and all I wanted to do was lay in bed and be left alone. I had no issue with being pregnant, I just let the smallest thing start a downward spiral in my mind that ended with a feeling of just not wanting to be. Not suicidal, not angry. Just a feeling of wishing I would simply stop existing.
The worst part about this feeling? When you let it go untreated for as long as I did, it can be debilitating to you as well as the people who depend upon you. No one wants to be married to someone that cries so much they have to hide from their children so that they don’t worry about Mommy? Who wants to hang out with someone that is always thinking people are against them, or find them annoying, or are friends with them out of pity?
I used to think that most embarrassing thing in the world was to be diagnosed as depressive, and to take medicine for something that normal people just power through, to get upset by things that other people just deal with so much that it stops you dead in your tracks to where you can’t function on a daily basis. However, after receiving treatment and maintaining that treatment at the insistence of my obstetrical physician I can honestly say the most embarrassing thing in the world is to deal with this huge and very real problem on your own.
You see, I haven’t had a bout of depression that was so very, very bad, (like the one I had over the last week) in a long time. It was my antibiotics for a sinus infection that inhibited my antidepressant. In this time that I was still taking the antibiotic and antidepressant, I felt back to my old, easily excitable and horribly morbid self. This is not something I was proud of, but it was also something that I couldn’t control, and this feeling is like you will have it for the rest of your life. The thing is, after my antidepressant kicked back in I felt like a normal person again. I don’t intend to suggest that medication is what I recommend for people who suffer from depression. But please, please just acknowledge you need help and seek it, because as soon as you work towards being able to control your depression, the more hopeful you can feel during the onset of depression, as far as believing you can one day not feel that way, and that is the real way to fight off the long and damaging effects of depression, treat it and make it seem like it can be overcome, one day at a time.
If you struggle with depression there are multiple physical and online aids to help you. Check out Depression Chat Rooms.