Unless you’ve lived it, you probably won’t understand it. It might even have a certain stigma attached to it. But let me tell you, depression is serious. It can be dangerous. It can overtake your body and leave you defenseless. Depression affects millions of people all over the world, so most importantly, you’re not alone.
I have been diagnosed with depression twice in my life. The first time was shortly after I got married. Lots of different life changes took a toll and I had a hard time dealing with things for a while. I didn’t notice the signs of depression or know anything about depression. My husband mentioned to me that he thought I might be struggling with depression a little bit, so I did some research online to check out the symptoms, and then met with a doctor who prescribed me some medication and counseling. It seems like it didn’t take me very long to start feeling better. The first medicine I tried worked and I went on to take that and another similar medication for several years.
After being on medication for 6+ years, I decided I want to stop taking it. I was feeling numb and I think that my body needed a change. With the help from my doctor, I weaned myself off of my depression medications. For the first time in years I had emotions. I cried A LOT, but I think that was probably normal. I went too many years without crying or being excited or being mad.. it took me a little bit to adjust to having emotions. It felt good to cry, actually!
I was medicine free and happy for about 2 years, and then it hit me.
Life is good. I am incredibly blessed. Time after time God has shown us that He loves us and we have been provided for like no other. Although I felt happy and knew I SHOULD feel happy, I was starting to slip a little bit. Again, life changes (LOTS OF LIFE CHANGES!) were a little hard for me to deal with. Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months, and I was getting tired. My tank was slowly leaking, and with each additional drop I was having a harder time bouncing back. Deep down I knew what was happening, but I was in denial. Thankfully, a coworker who cares for me pulled me aside and helped me come to the realization that I needed some help.
I was diagnosed with depression for a 2nd time. And this time, anxiety as well.
Unlike the first time, this time has been incredibly hard. I started out taking the medicine I was already familiar with and that worked the last time. I figured that this would be an easy fix since I’ve already been here before. It’s a great theory, but this time that medicine didn’t work. I stuck it out for 2 months, but my doctor helped me decide I needed to try something else. Medicine # 2 knocked me down.. hard. It took me places I never thought I’d go.. and it really scared me. I feel so thankful that I was able to be aware of what was happening so that I could take care of it. It worries me to think that some people get so wrapped up in it that they can’t step back and see what’s happening to them. Right now, I’m trying a 3rd medicine and I’m praying that this one is the one for me. So far, I feel like doing things I haven’t felt like doing in a long time. I will take that as a sign of progress.
I’ve debated writing a post like this. Like I mentioned above, if you haven’t lived this yourself – you have no idea what I’m going through. You really can’t sympathize. You might be thinking, “My goodness, just snap out of it!” Remarks like that are frustrating. I can’t tell you how many times I wish I could just snap out of it, but that’s impossible. Although I had been diagnosed before, I don’t think I even knew what depression could really be like. My experience was taking a medication and it working the first time.. and I felt better. I guess you could say I felt like it was an easy thing to get over. When that didn’t happen this time, I didn’t know what to think. It threw me for a loop.
If I could describe my experience with depression this time in 1 word, I think I would say “exhausting”. Life feels so hard. Simple tasks take 10 times longer to complete. Spending time with my children and my husband is almost more than I can muster. My job is suffering tremendously. I cannot think things through easily or concentrate. My mind feels fuzzy most days. I’ve been so forgetful that I’m afraid I might take my kids with me somewhere and then leave them there. No, I’m not kidding. My physical appearance is suffering. Fixing my hair and putting on makeup are things that aren’t in my routine right now. I got my hair cut thinking that might help, nope. It feels like a chore just brushing my teeth.
I could go on and I’m sure people would roll their eyes, but there finally comes a point where you’re just too exhausted to fight through it some days. There comes a point where you feel like it would be easier to get in your car and drive off somewhere and just go to sleep.. and maybe not wake up. There comes a point where you feel trapped inside a body that is just too heavy for you to carry anymore. Do you know how scary it is to say things like that? Do you know how quickly things can escalate to that point? Night after night I went to bed praying and begging God to please keep me safe and to please help me feel better. My word “exhausting” turned into “desperation”. I had a hard time getting in to see my doctor, but when I finally got in I just unloaded on her and she upped her game with me a little bit. For the first time in many many many nights, I feel “OK”. I FEEL OK!
I know my poor Momma has been worried about me.
I was trying to think of a Bible verse I could cling to right now. There are so many quotes and helpful tips about overcoming depression, but I don’t want anything that gives me a task to complete. It’s a big enough task just making it through the day some days. I think this one fits perfectly …
Right now I’m just going to be still. I’m going to take it one day at a time. So far on the new medication, each day has been better than the one before it. I know there will be bumps here and there.. my anxiety is a little through the roof these days, but I will take that over the alternative right now. This new medication seems to be working. I’m trying really hard not to get my hopes up, but I just so desperately want to feel better! So many wonderful people have been patient with me. I cannot thank you guys enough. I have the best coworkers.. I’ve been worthless and I know they have had to pick up some of my slack and try to keep me on task. My poor kids have had to watch me lay on the couch a lot and have had me tell them “No, I don’t feel like playing right now” way too many times. My husband has had an absent wife and has had to pick up lots of slack at home for me. There is so much more, but that’s what has been giving me the most anxiety. I can’t help but cry when I think about all the people who have had to deal with me while I deal with this. They’ve been so patient. I am so thankful.
Thank you for letting me talk about it a little bit. I debated a lot whether I should say anything about it or WHAT to say about it. Talking with others, their honestly has been so helpful. Having them talk to me about the scary and TRUE things they’ve dealt with is helpful. It makes me feel like I’m not alone and that it’s not just me struggling to get things under control. Maybe with me being honest, I can help someone else feel that way too.