I have had bits and pieces of this post sitting in my drafts for several months now but I have finally been given the courage to finish it and hit publish.
Yesterday was a hot sunny day like so many have been this summer. While I love warm weather I am pretty over the oppressive heat that has enveloped us for over a month but my poor Dub needed to get out and run so I took my kids for a walk to the playground in our neighborhood. The kids blew off some steam and I enjoyed getting out in the sun even if it was hot outside.
When we came back home the kids and I hung out for a little while longer until Dub went down to the playroom to play with his trains. I then decided to check my blog email and Facebook. Upon opening Facebook I was hit in the gut with the news of Robin Williams’ passing. This brilliant, funny man who brought so much joy to others -poof!- turned out the lights.
They say that the funniest people are often the most damaged and in my life I have noticed this to be true. I often fight my own demons with humor as well. This is the face that I show the world while inside I am fighting the beast known as depression and have been for over half my life. In the past I have tried to convince myself that I’m just shy, an introvert, a homebody, and not willing to put up with any BS. What I really am is withdrawn, a bit social phobic, and irritable. Because I didn’t feel sad I had no idea that these were signs of depression until a few years ago. I didn’t even know that I was depressed until then!
I had a depressive episode thirteen years ago or so that lasted about a month, then another about ten years ago that lasted for a couple of months to a year but I had no idea that all along I had been dealing with a chronic condition since I was about fourteen or fifteen that ebbed and flowed with whatever else was going on in my life.
Several years ago is when I became truly aware of what I have been dealing with all along. I developed pretty severe postpartum depression after Dub was born where I barely left my bedroom for two or three months. Around that same time an event happened and being depressed I took this particular event as a personal attack on myself as a person. Whether it truly was or not, I’m not sure. Depression lies. But I felt bad about myself and angry at those involved to the point that my feelings spiraled out of control in my mind and it’s still affecting me today because there is this thing that a lot of depressed people do called rumination.
This is no way to live.
I have been trying (for years and years) to “get over it” and “put my big girl panties on” but clearly that doesn’t work. For a while now I’ve been telling myself that I need to see someone but talk myself out of it because what are they going to do for me? I’ve tried meds before and they had some pretty unpleasant sexual side effects and I told myself that I would never take them again. But you know what? There is more to life than this and my kids deserve a mom who isn’t depressed. The passing of Robin Williams has been a wake up call for me. If one of the funniest, most loved, and most brilliant minds of a generation couldn’t fight back then who am I to think that I can do this on my own? I’m not in the darkness as much as he was but I don’t want to be. I don’t want to get to a place of such profound desperation.
I want to turn my internal light back on and keep it on.
This is my story. Are you also suffering? Are you being lied to and made to feel like you are less than by the depression monster whispering in your ear?
Signs and symptoms of depression include:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed down”
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
- Restlessness, irritability
- Persistent physical symptoms