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:
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.