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What having “all the sads” means to mean – my personal journey with depression

Inspired by so many blog posts floating around in the blogasphere at the moment, getting real about depression, I thought I’d share my struggle with depression again. I’ve blogged about it a few times, you can read previous posts here:

When you name it, you can claim it.

My journey with depression and G.A.D.

Ironically, the common thread among depression sufferers is that none of us seems to realize that we’re suffering with depression until we are literally teetering on the knife’s edge of the total destruction of our lives. That is definitely true for me. It was only when I’d nearly destroyed my marriage and my family and was on the verge of losing everything I held dear, that I accepted my diagnosis and sought treatment for it.

I think this is largely due to how depression is so often incorrectly portrayed. For me, I somehow believed that it would be experienced as extreme sadness and emotional outbursts. But in my case, it was the complete opposite. It was my complete lack of emotion that led to my diagnosis. I just stopped feeling. I stopped living. I just became an apperition in my own life. I was no longer a participant. I lacked the oomph to do anything to help myself. I lived inside an insulated, sound proof bubble, where I was incapable of feeling or hearing anything and I just floated along, completely oblivious and absent in my own life.

It was Walter’s request for a trial separation that finally burst that sound proof, insulated bubble and shocked me into getting help. But even then I was resistant to treatment. I didn’t want to go to therapy, I didn’t want to take medication.

Initially I felt stupid going to therapy. What on earth did I have to feel sad about (again, see how misinformed I was about depression) I mean, I had a baby, something I’d yearned for, for nearly 8 years. I had everything my heart had ever desired. I had no right to be sad. It was only when we started the sessions that I came undone and was able to fully experience the emotions and the trauma of what the previous 8 years of infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss had done to me and how it had pushed me over the edge. Not only did I have P.A.D.S. (post adoption depression syndrome) but I also had G.A.D. (general anxiety disorder) and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). I was literally a ticking time bomb and it wasn’t until the near implosion of my life, that I was able to recognize it and get treatment for it.

Medication worked wonders for me too. In December, I’ll have been on Cipralex for 6 years and I won’t lie, I’m still not anywhere near ready to give it up. I’m very afraid of giving it up, I’m terrified of going back to that walking zombie.

I will say this, to anyone who thinks they may be struggling with depression…

Depression is not hormonal teenage girls wondering what to do with their raging hormones and crying for no apparent reason.

It feels nothing like PMS.

For me it involved no crying. Just complete an utter emptiness, a hollow shell.

If you are feeling off kilter and you’re not sure why, get help, there is no shame in it.

 

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18 Comments

  • Reply kerryheathfield

    Great post 🙂 I am loving reading all these posts, not because I like reading about others struggles but because I am just so happy to see the pure honesty floating around – it can help others, we can help each other and also just educate.
    Tired of the “my life is so perfect” posts and loving these real, raw and honest posts.
    You go laddddy!

    May 27, 2015 at 1:03 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      Thanks babe!

      May 27, 2015 at 1:04 pm
  • Reply cath

    YES! I remember feeling that hollowness too. Like i was a void, and just marking time. I felt like that, just before I began medication and therapy. I was a hollow shell up until I exploded…. and my explosion, well, I’m still not ready to tell all on that one, but it was terrifying when I think about it, and almost petrifying for me to think of now, still. But I have grabbed life and lived beyond it. Thank heavens X

    Sharon, thank you for sharing this so bravely.

    May 27, 2015 at 1:04 pm
    • Reply Sharon

      Thanks for inspiring me to share Cath.
      And no shame here…..
      I’m convinced I had a total mental & emotional break down a couple of years prior that was the precursor to all of this.

      May 27, 2015 at 1:06 pm
      • Reply cath

        Me too – I think the one I had at 22 was a precursor to everything I went through 2 years after giving birth. I think (although I shrug it off nowadays), that I went through too much, too quickly (Birth+Dads death+relationship splitup+work+alotofotherstuff all in the space of 2 years) and it just culminated in me falling apart at the seams. I was petrified I’d go back there when my Mom died, but I didn’t, because I was highly aware of my own process that time round, and in a slightly better space than when my Dad passed. But still. I’m glad (in retrospect) that I did fall the hell apart. It enabled me to rebuild X

        May 29, 2015 at 12:09 pm
  • Reply Gaelyn Cokayne

    I often explain it like having a black widows veil over my face. It muffled everything I saw and heard. Until I got onto the right meds (after 2 years of trying others) and it slowly but surely lifted off my face. I was able to see colour and vibrancy and hear sounds and enjoy experiences and actually live in the present moment again. Good for you. Don’t hurry to ever give up the things that help you be your true self. They literally save lives.

    May 27, 2015 at 1:48 pm
  • Reply Cat@jugglingact

    I remember feeling miles away from anything and everything. Just being, not feeling. Only later did the sad come.

    May 27, 2015 at 3:35 pm
  • Reply Belinda Mountain (@BelindaMountain)

    Thanks for sharing this. It is not something I have ever suffered from so I’ve been misinformed about the symptoms (and also thought it was “extreme sadness”) . Will be reading your other posts on it soon.

    May 29, 2015 at 12:14 pm
  • Reply May Roundup and Linky | South African Mom Blogs

    […] or it isn’t. Know if it’s there, before you act. Sharon shares her journey with depression: What having “all the sads” means to me – my personal journey with depression. I somehow believed that it would be experienced as extreme sadness and emotional outbursts. But […]

    May 31, 2015 at 10:47 pm
  • Reply Megan

    yeah. I have those hollow days.

    June 2, 2015 at 3:04 pm
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