Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Depression

It's hard to believe I posted this entry in November of last year, but I did!  I went looking for this old entry and figured I posted it back in February or something.  I was shocked that it was from November!

I had posted:
"Because of the season of life I'm in (nearing 40, newly-expanded family, major life-changing move, and weight gain that ticks me off greatly), I've been experiencing days feeling very low.  I've blogged before about how I don't like using the word "depressed" lightly, so I don't think I'll use it here.  But I've been feeling dark, low, melancholy, aimless, and tired."

Since November, those feelings didn't go away.  Oh, they might subside for a time, but would rear their ugly heads at any random time.  In addition to those feelings, I was experiencing an overwhelming feeling of failure.  

These feelings would manifest themselves by my simply giving up and doing nothing.  I felt so overwhelmed by everything I wasn't accomplishing that I felt I should be accomplishing, that I would want to just stay inside all day.  

By nature, I'm an optimistic person.  Even when I've felt "down" in the past, I haven't felt so paralyzed.  I'm also very social and outgoing.  So the fact that I was turning inward and hated leaving the house and being around lots of other people gave me a clue something wasn't right.  

In addition to my own feelings, I had two different girlfriends come right out and ask me if I thought I might be depressed.  One of these friends gave me a book about women and depression and the other just flat-out told me I needed to go see a doctor....the next day and said she'd watch my kids so I could go in.  (Might I add that these ladies are true-blue friends!! It takes guts to be so honest and I'm immensely grateful.)

I wouldn't have thought I was depressed, because I appeared to be functioning okay, but when I opened the assessment in the book "Unveiling Depression in Women," I cried for half an hour, reading through it and seeing myself in a majority of the descriptions.

I wanted to stay in almost all the time.
I dreaded going out and talking to or seeing people.
I was either sad or just numb for hours at a time.
More than anything, I felt an overwhelming sense of failure in every area of my life.
Reason, logic, nor "pep talks" would help me feel better.
In addition to the failure, I felt like I couldn't pick myself up and dig my way out of the pit this time.

What confused matters for me was that I still had a lot of joy in my life.  I love my husband and my satisfaction with him hadn't changed.  I adore my kids...they all bring me so much deep joy it's hard to put into words.  I like where we live and where we go to church.  There wasn't one thing I could put my finger on that would explain why I felt depressed.  Before I experienced depression for myself, I wouldn't have understood it.  It was just a feeling of oppression.  Lethargy.  Failure.  And I knew I couldn't function that way for very long.

One of my girlfriends had offered to watch my kids, so I took them to her house and went to see a doctor.  I'm so glad I did.  It took some humility, that's for sure.  I struggled with thoughts like:


If you prayed more, you'd not be depressed.
If you were a good mom/wife, you could get yourself out of this funk.
You stink at homeschooling. You used to be good at it, but not any more.
Only people unwilling to change end up taking meds for depression.

But I'm at the point in my life where I don't really mind admitting I need help and then asking for it.  The doctor was able to verify that I did need a bit of a "reboot" and, a month later, I'm feeling much better.   I still have some work to do just to get back into the groove of life, but I feel a lot better.

I considered not posting this.  There is some risk in airing very personal information.  People may misunderstand, misinterpret, or assume things that aren't true.  However, I've logged our journey this far...the good and the bad.  The stresses and joys.  This is something that hit me; I never would have expected it.  My hope is that if anyone reading this ever feels overwhelmed, even if not to the point of being depressed, they would seek help...from friends, church, counselors, and doctors if needed.  There is no shame in admitting you need help.  Your family and friends will be glad you did, too!

12 comments:

  1. Wow! Scathe how familiar this sounds. I need to read this book....

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  2. Scary not scathe ....stupid auto correct

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  3. Sending you hugs!

    Roxanne Weiss

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  4. What's the name of the book?

    Lisa C.

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  5. Sarah, good for you for speaking out! Take a look at your diet. Diet really does affect biochemistry. When we changed to the recommendations of www.westonprice.org , both the weight and the mood changed for the better.

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  6. beautifully written..I am proud of you

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  7. I love you Sarah. Call me anytime. I miss you.

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  8. Sarah~ Thank you for sharing the personal stuff. Thank God for your two angel-friends :o)

    Your post last November encouraged me to open up and seek help for my own "post-adoption blues". Your words have been a blessing to me over this past year or so, and I keep you in my prayers.

    (((hugs))),
    chris

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  9. thank you soooooo much for sharing this! i needed this right now. i have no ins. so i haven't gone to the dr. because on top of having this depression, going to the dr. and getting the bill would make me even more depressed! :( it's great to receive your encouragement!

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  10. I found the name of the book when I clicked on it. Thanks. Thank you for sharing.

    Lisa C.

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  11. Sarah - thank you for speaking from your heart on this issue! I think this is very common - just not talked about much. Change has always been hard for me, regardless of if the change is good or bad. I have had to admit to being overwhelmed more times than I can count in the last two years. I have also experienced greater joy than I could have ever imagined since becoming a mom. It is quite the roller coaster ride!

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  12. I believe depression is as physical as any other illness. Good for you for getting medicine!

    About your comment "More than anything, I felt an overwhelming sense of failure in every area of my life". I just want to say that you are literally my hero! Almost every day I think, can I do as good of a job as Sarah has done? Thanks for your encouragement to me!

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