Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Depression

I can't say the suicide of Robin Williams surprises me.  Anyone who has or had severe depression knows exactly how he must have been feeling when all hope was lost, when his head got the best of him, when there seemed like no other answer.  I was going to stray from my recent book posts to write about my depression but I think this is the perfect time to tie it all together.  Depression comes in many forms and I have been through a lot of them.

My kids were young, my daughter still in a high chair.  Our family dog was just diagnosed with Cancer.  My husband was at a Company meeting and I was feeding the kids dinner.  Typical evening, nothing out of the ordinary except my head.  This would be the first time I can remember feeling hopeless and letting the thoughts in my head take over.  I couldn't stop crying.  Both of the kids were fighting with each other at the table, neither would eat, dog was sick, husband wasn't home and all I wanted to do was run.  I seriously thought about leaving the kids at the kitchen table, grabbing my keys and never looking back.  I had never felt this way before.  I couldn't figure out what was going on, but I knew that I couldn't let the thoughts control me.  I reached for the phone and called my family doctor.  The office was closed but the answering service said they would have the on-call Doctor call me back.  I sat by that phone waiting for it to ring while rocking back and forth on a kitchen chair.  I didn't say anything, just cried while listening to the kids yell and cry.  They were right next to me but seemed so far away.  The phone rang.

"This is Dr. XXXX, how can I help you?"
I was crying so hard it took everything I had to make out a sentence, "I don't feel right.  In my head.  I want to run."
"OK, is anyone with you?"
"Just my two kids."
"Do you have anyone you can call to come over?"
"No, I feel so alone.  I want to run away."
"Do you feel like you may harm yourself or others?"
"No, I just want to run away."
"Do you feel that you need me to call an ambulance to come get you?"
"I don't want to be my mother."
That's what it was.  I had grown up in a home where my mother suffered from severe depression.  I had convinced myself that I was turning into her.  I didn't want that.
"OK, ma'am if you think you can calm yourself down, I will call the office and leave a message for them to call you tomorrow to set up an appointment."

With that I hung up the phone.  I wondered why he couldn't help me right then.  Why would he wait until tomorrow.  Didn't he care about me?  Didn't he care about my kids?

I called my husband.
"I need you to come home.  It's an emergency."
"Is everything alright?  What's going on?"
"It's me, I need you to come home and watch the kids.  Somethings wrong with me."
"OK, I'm leaving now."

He came home, I barely talked and went to bed.

I did go see the Doctor the next day and that's when they prescribed medication for my "head issues".  It takes a little bit of time for them to get in your system and start working but when they do, they are a blessing.  Right after they started working my daughter was diagnosed with Cancer.  I believe the incident that evening happened so I could get on the meds and give them enough time to get in my system and start working.  I would hate to think how I would have dealt with that situation if I wasn't receiving help with my bad thoughts in my head.

I always know when my medication stops working and needs to be increased or changed but once and awhile I think I'm ok and take myself off my meds or just get sick of taking them. Right before I started dating Evan I knew my meds weren't working properly.  They were doing an ok job but I could tell in my head that I wasn't rational.  But, I had found someone that I was looking for, someone I thought I would spend the rest of my life with.  He was perfect and I didn't want him to think I wasn't.  So, I downplayed my issues.  I didn't get my meds adjusted, I didn't see a doctor, I didn't see a counselor, I did nothing...except let bad thoughts in my head get in the way.  Some days I wouldn't even get out of bed and other days I would just cry by myself because I knew I wasn't even giving our relationship a chance if I wasn't honest with him about my depression and I certainly wasn't being honest with myself if I wasn't doing something about it.

As our relationship went on, I know I got worse.  I'm pretty sure he figured out that I was fucked in the head but what he probably didn't know was that all I had to do was change my medicine. I wanted off my medicine so badly.  I wanted to pretend that I wasn't my mother and that I didn't need help.  My fucked up head is what lead to my lies, my lack of emotional attachment, my life changing event on that airplane, my losing him.  It happened two specific times...once in NYC and once in Vegas.  I casually called him by him ex-husbands name.  Not during sex or anything like that, just casually in conversation.  He was actually ok with it because he recognized that I had been with that man for 17 years so this was all new to me.  The problem was my head.  I couldn't stop punishing myself in my head for doing that.  In NYC it was touch and go...he just wanted to turn around and go home, then we stayed and ended up having a beautiful trip (after we got passed the fight).  But, it never left my head...it was early in our relationship and early during my med issues so I was able to fight the thoughts and move past.  Not completely past it because I would beat myself up over it for the entire trip.  The second incident didn't end as well.  In Vegas I did the same thing.  Again, after it happened and we got in the car he tried talking to me about it, tried holding my hand, tried being playful but I couldn't let it go.  My med issue was at a peak during this trip.  One day I would be ok and wouldn't let negative thoughts take over and other days I couldn't shake them.  When we would be around other people I would act like everything was fine because I didn't want them to see my weaknesses but I was way past hiding them from Evan.  He knew them.  He knew I was fucked in the head.  That incident turned into a very large incident only because I wouldn't let it go.  I'm not going to write down all the specifics of what happened to me but I can tell you that the brain is a powerful organ.  My brain and my negative thoughts combined with stress and anxiety caused my body to shut down...on the flight home.  It wasn't my finest hour(s) and it did change my life forever.  After we arrived home I started treatment and the first thing they did was change my medications.  The new medications didn't work but I didn't want to tell Evan that.  I knew it was going to be a struggle to find the right balance of meds for me and I also knew that my time with Evan was now limited.  I didn't want him to have to wait for me to fix myself.  Honestly, that's exactly what I should have done.  I think if I were honest with him about what I needed to happen to make myself better things might have ended differently but that's all in the past and nothing I can do about it now.

It wasn't until somewhat recently that I finally figured out my med situation for my depression and anxiety.  I'm currently on one medication but I alternate dosage day by day.  It works perfectly for me.  I do have issues when I let my meds run out and think that I can rule the world without them but I know that I can't let that happen to me anymore.  I'm not a bad person and I'm a better person when I receive the help I need from my medication. I am loving and able to be loved.  I am beautiful inside and out and I'm ok if I need the medication to be that person I know I can be.

I'm happy with myself.  I'm happier with myself now than I was before I was ever on medication.  I'm living my life, feeling young, feeling beautiful, feeling grateful.  I'm finally being me and yes, I'm medicated.


~Jen

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