Let me start this post by saying that I am gonna be completely honest in this entry. So many times we put on a facade to those outside of ourselves. We try to appear to be something we are not. Maybe it’s because we don’t want our family members just how human we are. Maybe we have the supermom/dad complex where we want friends to think we have it all under control when in reality we are falling apart inside and feel disconnected from everything around us. If you are my family member you may see a thing or two in this entry that will surprise you. But, you know what, when we are honest it is likely to shock others. Just brace yourself and realize that noone is ever on the inside what they appear to be on the outside. NOONE! Not even you – whether you admit it or not.
This part of my life is so multi-faceted that I’m not sure I can cover it all in one entry. We will see what comes out. First of all I’m gonna make one comment about what clinical depression is NOT and I’m gonna try not to jump up on the soapbox sitting in front of me. Clinical depression has absolutely positively nothing whatsoever to do with my spiritual walk. Honestly, it is an insult to suggest that it is. Does a normal person get down and depressed at certain times due to circumstances in their lives? Yes! That kind of depression is a completely different animal from clinical depression. The two can mix together and create a very vicious animal with a powerful bite.
Now that that is out of my system my story can begin.
Once again, like my Fibro story, things changed in my system after having Michael. Not only was I noticing changes in my body as a result of the developing Fibromyalgia I also noticed a change in my emotions. Now it is perfectly normal for a woman to experience a hormonal imbalance following childbirth. The problem with me is that my brain chemicals/hormones did not return to normal levels. I noticed a lot of changes in my emotions. I was a stay at home mom who was stressed and alone most of the time. My husband worked a regular job and also pastored our church. He worked very hard. I was trying to be supermom doing it all. But all I wanted to do was lock myself away and cry. My mind was racing constantly. I began wondering if I had made a mistake by having a baby. I was overwhelmed and did not have the tools to deal with it. Finally one day I told Ron that something was wrong with me – crying to him that I couldn’t go on like I was. I needed help of some kind from somewhere. I had tried to fix things myself. I had tried praying my way through it. I had tried ignoring it. I had tried distracting myself with shopping (with money we didn’t have). I had tried getting out and making new mom friends by joining a play group. But I was still hurting, numb, miserable and emotionally broken. If you read My Fibro Story from the other day you will know that during this time I was also dealing with overwhelming fatigue and unrelenting pain associated with my undiagnosed Fibromyalgia at the same time. I was the 8 ball on a pool table full of cue balls aimed right at me.
After a visit to the doctor I learned that I was depressed. I was never so glad in all my life to take a medicine. I learned a lot about words like dopamine – which is the neurotransmitter responsible for making a person have that “feel good” feeling. Mine was nearly non-existent meaning I had the opposite of the “feel good” feeling. A low dopamine level means that the person finds little/no pleasure in life, short tempered and anxiety in many areas. Basically all of the same things relate to a low level of serotonin as well.
So, somewhere along the way, my brain chemistry went haywire and it never went back to normal. Thus the entrance of various anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications to try to balance things back out. All of these years later I still fight the depression and anxiety. My meds are pretty well balanced at the moment. But there are times when I get very depressed and things look bleak. When those days start returning I know it’s time to adjust my meds. I see my psychiatrist four times a year. She keeps my brain chemicals level.
The best way I can describe my bad days is that I feel like I’m buried alive trying to dig my way up to the surface. I can’t breathe. I can’t see light. I don’t feel like anyone can see me. I feel like I’m in a black hole. I have been suicidal a time or two. I have a number of various medications at my fingertips. The couple of times I have considered using them I have thought of my children. I have thought about how selfish it would be of me to take my own life just to get out of the darkness. I have a husband, children, family and friends who love me and would have to deal with my selfish choice for the rest of their lives. That has been what has stopped me.
I have been to counseling a number of times which has helped me to deal with the dark thoughts I have when the times are bad. I can now work my way through the bad times by distracting myself with a hobby, a walk, a funny movie, a touch from my husband or my kids (the human touch is a powerful antidote to depression)….all until I can get to the other side of the darkness and get to my doctor. We usually will discuss how things are going, what kind of episodes I am having, what seems to be working and what doesn’t seem to be working…just like my pain management doctor with my Fibro – it’s about team work.
It’s a roller coaster life. But it’s what I have been dealt. I don’t know why I have to deal with all I do. But I remain steadfast that I am not alone. I work hard to remember that in the bad times. I have come across friends here online who walk the same path that I do. I have an incredibly supportive and understanding husband and children. And I have the cutest little pets in the world. A furry hug does wonders sometimes. And I have a God who is ever with me to comfort me and sustain me in the good and the bad times. I hold on tight to His promises and cling to the support He has given me. And somehow I make it to a new day – a day when the sun shines and I can see it and I can feel it on my skin again.