Monday, October 3, 2011

The Dance of Depression

If you have never had depression, then the title of this post will probably confuse you. If you are like me, and have suffered bouts of depression most of your adult life, you will most likely, understand completely.

This past year has been an eventful, sometimes stressful, exhausting battle of time, patience, health and sad news. I knew I was in trouble months ago, when I couldn't seem to kick the pneumonia and it was getting harder and harder to do things that I didn't HAVE to do. I am not blaming anyone or anything. Life is hard. Sometimes life is VERY hard and we all have to do whatever is necessary to keep things in perspective.

When you have depression, your body doesn't keep enough of the good mood hormones in your system. Then something stressful happens and the body says, 'hold up, can't dance that fast'. If you are lucky, things calm down and maybe, big maybe, you will start to recover. But more often than not, that doesn't happen and you start to slip into the darkness that is depression.

I have been on medication for awhile now. In fact, I have been on medication lots of times in my life. My doctor told me this time that I may have to realize that I will need it for the rest of my life. Now I am not the type of person to take that kind of thing laying down. To take anti-depressants for the rest of my life is giving up, right? So in my small mind, I convinced myself that I would be able to live without it. So I quit taking it when I started to feel a little better.

Yeah, not the smartest decision I have made recently. 

I found out rather quickly that I wasn't any good without it right now. So I began again.

But the sinking continued.

I could not do anything that wasn't absolutely essential to survival. I wanted to watch The Hallmark Movie Channel or sleep all the time. I could only eat tomato soup and chips. I was on the verge of tears all the time. I didn't call my friends because I didn't want to bother them. I didn't do my nails, or get a massage or go for a walk because I could not imagine doing one more thing. Every little annoyance was gigantic. I could not see any light at the end of this long, dark tunnel.

I knew I was in trouble. I made another appointment with my doctor. Unfortunately, that took two weeks, but the RGH came home and at least I wasn't by myself all the time.

The doctor sent me for blood tests, which is what a good doctor does when something suddenly changes. I won't know the results until Wednesday, when I have my follow up appointment. But she changed me to a new medication. It's been 10 days now and I am starting to feel more normal again. Case in point, I am posting on my blog. 

I really struggled with writing about this. No one likes the world to know they aren't perfect all the time, or any of the time. I have a good life, a loving husband, no real financial issues, and good relationships with my family. What in the world do I have to be depressed about? 

Well, it isn't about that. 

Patti Digh posted something on Facebook recently that said we need to bring depression out of the closet and start talking about it. When I read that, I cheered inside because I was one of those who is hiding. I was one who was running from the stigma.

I needed to own it. 

So here I am:


Yes, I have had a stressful year. Yes, I have two close family members with 4th stage cancers. Yes, I have had health issues. But none of those things is the problem.

I have depression. I have danced with depression for 3 decades. I can manage it with medication and the occasional round of counseling. 

I am not flawed. I am human.

I am a child of God, beautifully created for his pleasure.

This isn't a fun post. It's not full of jokes and cute photos. It is my truth and I am speaking it in the hope that someone else might be able to speak theirs. If we all speak honestly, take our humanness out of the darkness, we will have a better world to live in.

What's your truth? What are you dancing with?