Had a not so great revelation today.
I really DO struggle with depression. I mean, I knew that I did to some degree, but I thought it was more circumstantial than anything….. and less physical and mental. But it’s not. Let’s back up…..
Round 1 – Pregnant with Owen. Winter of 2006. I knew something wasn’t right when I was neglecting Aidan and Dylan and foung myself literally HATING them and Jake. It was like those stories you read about, only I didn’t want to kill them. I just wanted to leave them on my moms doorstep and run far far away. And when I say hate…. I mean HATE in every sense of the word. I hated their laughter, their talking, their crying, their needing any amount of attention at all. I laid around all day crying. I screamed my head off almost nonstop. It went beyond pregnancy hormones. Luckily, by mid-pregnancy and with A LOT of help from family, it subsided. I finished out the pregnancy without any other issues. My OB said that 30% of women suffer severe depression DURING a pregnancy rather than after. It was a horrifying time.
Round 2 – After I had Owen I did a 180…. became OBSESSED with my children. Like, OCD obsessed. I would waste hours checking on them at night making sure they were alive. They couldn’t be out of my site without a panic attack resulting. Jake took the older boys camping while I stayed home with 1 week old Owen and I sobbed hysterically convinced that they were going to die. The next day was Owens circumcision and then I hitched a ride with my cousin to the camp ground. What genius take a one week old baby with a fresh circ camping?? A crazy one. About 6 weeks after I had Owen, I went on anti-depressants. I stayed on them for about a year and a half…. then I was at the peek of my dosage and they weren’t working anymore. We had moved and I didn’t want to explain all over again why I needed them to a new doctor. It’s embarrassing enough the first time. And besides, I was fine. I thought. I quit cold turkey and went through something I can only imagine is close to a drug withdrawal…. because it basically was. Chills, shakes, neaseau, headaches, endless sleeping, hysteria, you name it. I went through it for about a week. Take care of three kids on top of that…. not the greatest week of my life. They ate a lot of pb&j and watched a lot of cartoons. After that was over, I led a pretty normal life without any boughts of depression, and when I felt myself getting “down” I quickly recognized it and took care of myself how I needed….. more sleep, better eating, more active, etc. I thought that my previous encounters with depression were purely due to pregnancies, so I thought that from here on out I’d never deal with it again. I found this old post at the beginning of when things started to change.
Round 3 – Just this past fall I could start to feel myself….. changing. For lack of a better word. I wasn’t snapping out of it as easily. I found myself sleeping A LOT. Like, just fall asleep in the middle of the day and sleep for hours sleeping. Thank God the boys are older and are basically self sufficient, because I wouldn’t realize anything until I woke up 2 hours later…. in chair, on the couch, in my bed. I wasn’t as happy, not like I normally am. But I wasn’t sad either. I just…. was different. People annoyed me. I angered easily. My patience was completely gone. Noises got to me. I lacked any desire to DO anything. I wasn’t taking care of our house. And during all this I was supposed to be homeschooling AND co-coordinating MOPS. Yeah, the pressure was mounting and my perfectionistic characteristic was caving. So, in December I went in for meds again. On one hand I knew I needed it. On the other hand, truthfully, I was disappointed that what I thought was pregnancy related….. wasn’t really. Part of me still thought it was the overwhelming stress I felt I was under, and that after this MOPS year was over I could focus on one thing and the pressure would leave. So deep down, I thought this was because of outside circumstances…. not because my body was malfunctioning.
I’ve had a hard time taking my meds this time. I don’t take them regularly and when I forget, I forget for like a week. Or more. I think the last time I took a pill was 10 days ago. And yesterday I was INSANE. My friend saw it in me and said “you haven’t taken your meds have you?” NOPE. Haven’t. And today, I did everything I could think of to get motivated, and that’s when I saw it in myself again…. that lack of care. That want to just sleep. The wish that all noise would stop and I could just be alone and quiet. The body aches and fatigue. That’s an ugly mirror to look into when it affects your family. Depression isn’t just about being sad. It’s so much more…. on any given day, I can laugh and smile and have fun… but alone, I walk with a 1,000 pound weight on my shoulders and feel like I’m walking through sludge.
I took one today when I remembered. Then it hit me today….. I need them more than I think. And apparently I always will. I am less stressed than I was in the fall or even in December, and I’m still acting like I was then….when I was blaming it on stress. Don’t get me wrong, stress triggers depression, but if you don’t have that tendency already…. there’s nothing to trigger. SO, as much of an advocate as I am for medicating yourself when you need to… it’s still a hard pill to swallow when you realize this will be your life.
So friends, pray for me please? To remember to take it everyday. EVERYDAY. I don’t know why it’s been so hard to remember this time, but it’s been a struggle that I clearly can’t fight on my own. 😉