Friday, March 19, 2010

Comment-Turned-Post: Depression

A few weeks ago, RhondaLue blogged about depression. I left her a far-too-lengthy comment; most of which ended up being this post.

People say that suicide is "selfish". And I am sure there are cases in which that might be true...

**BUT** I will say that I believe that there are many cases in which the entire reason someone has chosen to take their own life is because they were severely depressed and just not in their right mind. In my heart of hearts, I **personally** believe that God knows their hearts and that they will be judged accordingly, for He is a loving God.

Once I went through "post-partum depression". It wasn't severe, thank goodness. Just crying for no reason, feeling "blue", feeling exhausted all the time, not wanting to talk to anyone or do anything, etc. There are triggers for people who are predisposed to depression. I didn't know back then -- but I do now. Fast forward about a year after the post-partum...

Some things had happened that seemed to cut me right to the core. I felt overwhelmed, incompetent, a failure. This incident, I believe, triggered my depression. Not post-partum -- this time was different. Way different. I am ashamed to admit the way I mentally "checked out" and left my kids to sometimes "Fend for themselves" at such young ages. It was all I could do some days to get up out of bed and shower. I didn't feel like doing anything with anyone anymore. Even the things I **LOVED** doing like scrapbooking or hanging with friends. I wouldn't want to do.

My boss (who was also a good friend) at work called me in one night. My "performance" was slipping and she noticed that my breaks & lunches were getting a little longer. (I would go out to my car to cry, or nap.) She finally asked me if I could be depressed.

Nope. Not me. Women in *my* family are strong. Women in *my* family don't get depressed.

She told me that she was sending me home and that I had better make an appointment with a professional before coming back to work the next day, and if I hadn't, she would insist I go to the EPA (Employee Assistance Program). I said fine. but I *knew* I wasn't depressed.

"Depression is a cop-out for when you just wanna be lazy" I told myself. "Depression is just what people say when they feel sorry for themselves; I am not depressed."

I felt like if I admitted I was depressed, I was somehow making excuses. Plus, I felt ashamed for not doing all of the things I was "supposed" to be doing... laundry, dishes, etc. But I went to the Dr. and guess what... yep. I was depressed.

After I got on the Prozac, and was talking to my mom, guess what else. She told me that her own mother (whom for all intents and purposes, neglected her at age 10) battled severe depression. Then she told me that she herself had a bout of it when she was a young mom of 7. I was like, "Wha-? Why didn't you tell me???" I am going to warn my daughter that it runs in the women in my family. I am grateful to a boss who was in tune enough to know I wasn't myself... and not that I had become lazy.

I remember (pre-prozac) there were times when I would be driving home from work, and the next thing I knew I was in a completely different city, like 15 miles from home; passed my exit several minutes before. Twice I drove right past my house and got down to the other end of the road before it even dawned on me (I lived there for over 3 years at the time). I had for real "checked out".

Looking back there were "coincidences" of people calling to check on me. I know this was answer to prayer. Once a lady called to ask me to offer a prayer in church. I wasn't planning on going that day - but I couldn't say no. So, I went. Another lady stopped by my house once to tell me my flowers looked beautiful. Another lady used to stop by every so often to "say hi" and drop some cookies or a note off. These were little rays of hope in my day, helping me to believe that maybe I would be ok, and that I wasn't alone.

Thankfully, I was never severe enough to consider taking my life, or inflicting harm on anyone else.

I still feel depression tugging my sleeve at times. I know what some of my "triggers" are. I have been through enough counseling to recognize the triggers and have been given "coping mechanisms" to help ward it off. Still, it is very hard.

And when life is compounded by other issues and a society of over-achievers, sometimes it's all I can do to keep depression at bay - waving at me from a short distance; mocking me; taunting me. It might even last for several days, weeks or months.

Depression is a real thing. Sometimes it is mild. Sometimes it is severe. Sometimes it makes us feel ashamed or inadequate or incompetent or even unloved. Even if you think you might just be "blue"... if it lasts for more than a week and you have lost all desire to do anything, don't simply shove it aside. Don't put yourself down; rationalizing, saying you are just being lazy. If you feel emotionally unstable in the least bit and there is a chance you might be depressed, go in. Get checked out. You might even consider taking this little assessment Mayo Clinic Depression Self-Assessment .

My cousin, who was only a few weeks older than me, took his own life. It wasn't until after his death did some self-help books arrive that he had ordered. These books made it very apparent that he was severely depressed. It's a shame that he hadn't talked to someone before hand.


Denise @ Sunflowers, Chocolate and Little Boys said...

Depression is hard. And usually people dont want to admit it. I went through a bad bout with depression after I split from my first husband. Thankfully I ended up at the doctors and was put on medicine....I wish people would change their attitudes towards depression and depression medications. Maybe then more people would go see a doctor when they start feeling bad.

Im so sorry you lost your cousin to suicide.

Alice in Wonderland said...

I found this very difficult to read, although I do understand it and how you feel, it's just that I'm going through the same thing myself at the moment, and although people who have followed me for any length of time will know the reasons why I feel this way.
There is still this stigma of "depression", and life is not always "sunshine, lollipops and rainbows", but we just plod along as best as we can.
At the moment, I'm trying to decide if whether the reasons I decided to blog were really worth it, when all I want to do is shout and scream at the world and the people who just make things worse by writing nasty things about you.

I'm so sorry about your cousin, but there are things that are just out of your control, such as stupid drivers who talk away on their phones, while innocent people get killed. Is that murder?

greenolive said...

I took the assessment. That's interesting. I think it's good to check yourself and even watch out for the ones you love if you start to notice anything out of the ordinary.

S Club Mama said...

I think I had some PPD with Isaac. I had such a hard time bonding with him. But I know that it could have been more severe. I'm better now but it was so hard to care about him for awhile. And that's awful because he's just a little guy.

I don't know if depression runs in my family. I know that my great-uncle and my great-grandpa both killed themselves after they learned they had cancer (it was my uncle's 2nd bout with it; I'm not sure about my grandpa). My mom will say she's depressed sometimes but I don't think she is; I think she is sad and disappointed with her life. I think if she keeps sulking like she tends to, it will turn to depression. It's sad.

Susie said...

Depression is something that I have to manage everyday. It is always there for me. I have good days and bad days just like everyone else but with drugs and therapy, they aren't skyrocketing highs and debilitating lows.

okeydokeyifine said...

Yes, we are Strong. Yes, we are too blessed to be depressed. Yes, we know that Heavenly Father blesses us through each challenge.. and yet, We have human frailties that we need to take into consideration. What ever it may be, it is different for each individual. No easy way to combat depression. Just remember that Heavenly Father loves us. That the Lord wants to hold and carry us through these times. " My peace I leave you".
I told somebody once that God loves those people too that do us wrong. And what goes around comes around. Maybe the jerk in the lane next to me is getting bad news on the phone and needs to go to the hospital. Maybe someone hurt them so much they are not thinking straight. What ever happens to us we need to step back a little.
Talking it out does seem to help put it into perspective and if one needs medicine to help, get the medicine. Just know we are not alone. I too wish your cousin could have talked to someone. Life just hit him in the face from several angles and he just could not cope. I saw what his family went through. I saw how he suffered because he did not die instantly. I agree that Heavenly Father knows what is in the heart and mind. Thank goodness for that.

Debbi said...

been there. Amen to it all!!

Ruthykins said...

well, i went and took the assesment and it was just what i thought. it said i have moderate depression. i did not know that about our cousin, i mean, as far as ordering books to help.

Puphigirl said...

I possibly have mild depression. I know that at times I feel overwhelmed with school work. I feel some shame for not helping out with the housework. I feel self-disappointment for not losing the weight that I want and not having will-power to say no to food. There are some days where I just feel 'blah'. My husband doesn't understand this feeling. I'm not sad or depressed for any particular reason, just seem kind of out of it. Maybe lazy, maybe tire, maybe bored, or something.

Tulsi said...

A lot of people don't believe people can feel that bad about themselves or life and don't believe in depression itself. I would love their life. Ok, maybe not. I like my own despite the little bumps in the road.

Neff III family said...

Hmmm...I don't know what or how much to say...I believe in depression for sure. My mom has struggled with it her whole life and still is, has tried every medication, dose, combo, etc and they are still trying to pinpoint the right regimen for her. I don't want to admit I need help because I don't want to start a whole life of trying this and that, half pill, 2 pills, with sleep, no sleep, with sex, no sex, until I'm an empty nester with grandkids and still am depressed. Not that I think I need help now, but probably could have used some in the past and probably will be there again in the future. I truly believe in "Men are that they might have joy" but I don't understand why it has to be almost impossible for some people. I guess we all have our trials and troubles and some people have addictions, some have immoral tendencies, some have lots of death to deal with, some have depression, etc. I guess God's test is to see if we can endure our own trials and still have faith in Christ at the end of it all. But it sure is hard.

RhondaLue said...

I appreciated your comments when I posted about this and i appreciate your post about it now.

Depression is real. It is so frustrating for those FEELING depressed and those AROUND the affected person. IT's a helpless feeling.

It's good to talk about it, if you know 10 people, chances are a couple of them suffer from depression.

Sweet Sassy Molassy said...

Very interesting read and helps give me some insight into something I don't understand very well.