"I have not had a severe episode of depression in over 5 years!" This was a statement from my last post on depression. Just a couple weeks after that comment, I thought to myself, 'Yeah, famous last words.'
Almost the moment those words were typed, I was thrown into an abyss. A lot of little stresses and one really big one slammed me all at once. I find it interesting how that happens... as soon as you begin making a positive impact, opposition arises.
After writing my last post, the girls and I all came down with bad colds that we struggled with for over 6 weeks, the days got shorter, the weather got crummy with negative temperatures, Danny's 2 year long job search almost came to an end but he was rejected instead, and (most difficult for me) a close friendship came to an abrupt end because of a disagreement. In fact, I was so stressed over the situation, that I didn't eat for three days straight.
We all have our baggage, and this event brought back a lot of old hurts in my life and weighed me down. I have been rejected by female friends in the past, so I was flooded with emotions from the present as well as those from associated memories. The heartbreak I experienced recently felt similar to when my friend (who was supposed to be the maid of honor in my wedding) told me that she didn't agree with me marrying my husband and couldn't be my friend anymore.
I was lost, hurt, condemned, and confused. A thick fog fell on my life. I felt like I was living life in a dream. Day in and day out, it was as if I was viewing my existence from a distance. Almost as though my own experiences were someone else's and I was watching a movie of their life. I tried SO hard to snap out of it and bring myself back to the present. But, this time, I couldn't climb out of the pit on my own. I felt disconnected from my kids and my husband and I couldn't go on living like this. If nothing else, I owed it to them to do what I could to be the best mother and wife possible. So after almost two months of being in a fog, I took a big step in the right direction and visited my doctor. She agreed that, once again, I was dealing with severe depression and prescribed an anti-depressant for me.
To tell you the truth, I'm a little scared of drugs. I had a friend whose personality was completely altered when he was put on anti-depressants after witnessing a murder. A normally sweet, calm guy, he told me about how he upended all the furniture in his room and broke the TV while screaming obscenities at his family members. I also worked with a woman who was on medication for postpartum depression. One day, she randomly packed up her kid in the car and started driving. She kept driving and driving until she snapped out of the mental fog she was in 2 hours later. When she finally came to, she was frightened and hysterical. She had to call her husband so that he could navigate her back home because she had no idea where she was.
I know of other examples in my personal life (and I bet you can think of some too) where the wrong medication or the wrong dose has caused terrible side-effects in people. I don't want to scare you away from taking medication, but I also don't want anyone to take medication lightly. I think we trust medications too much at times. We trust our doctors and we trust science (as we should), but we must also keep in mind that every human body is unique and the same medication is not going to work the same on everyone.
With all this in mind, and knowing that I am notoriously a "light-weight," I took two measures to make sure the transition to this medication would go smoothly:
So where am I today? MUCH better. However, medication is not the cure all. I still have to strive to incorporate the habits that I shared with you in my previous post. In particular, I really need to start adding exercise in my daily routine. I've lost a lot of weight and regained some energy from lifestyle changes in my diet. But my attitude towards exercise is changing as the result of my last appointment with my doctor. She stressed over and over and over the importance of exercise in my fight against depression. She said "it REALLY does help." I'm working on changing my perspective to look at exercise the way my doctor does - like a medicine. Just as I take a pill everyday, I need to take a run or cardio class, etc. as well. It's my next big step towards physical and mental wellness and one that I am taking seriously.
My husband and I are flirting with the idea of having a third child, but (regardless of what current research says) I refuse to risk taking a medication while pregnant. That being said, I've got a lot of work to do if I want to get off the medicine again and combat the crazy hormones of pregnancy on my own. I told Danny that I cannot even consider another pregnancy until exercise and my other coping strategies become a part of my daily routine. It's difficult to take care of myself and two kids, but with determination and God's help, I believe I will be back off the anti-depressants and feeling better than ever before the end of this year. One thing I do know, I am not quitting! I believe that an abundant life is in store for me and my family and I am striving towards that goal!
Keep up the good fight, my friends, and remember that tomorrow is a brighter day. Your victory is just around the corner!
Here you will find my thoughts on life and religion. I pray this will be a space where you will not only be encouraged, but would become an active participant as well.