Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Discover | depression and getting help

Warning: You may need a cup of tea and a good lie down after reading this post. I know I do. I had thought about not posting this at all. I have tried to keep this blog a positive space, but let's face it...life isn't always sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.  I worried that posting this would damage my credibility and reveal me as someone who is weak. I'm hoping that it will do the opposite and explain a little more about me and maybe encourage someone else out there to share their own story...

For the last few weeks, I have been feeling completely down...just no enthusiasm for life whatsoever.  I was trying to explain it to my hubby last night and just couldn't put it into words. I have been finding it very difficult to find the joy in anything, and the things that were previously making me "happy" just haven't been holding my interest at all.  Scrapbooking has been one of them.  I feel like the creative part of my brain has been put to sleep, and that has been depressing me even further.  I want to think that this period of my life is going to pass soon and I'll be my usual upbeat self again. I am hoping that my current state of mind has been exacerbated by a six week long bout of the flu from hell (way worse than man-flu...just to put it into perspective. lol). Please let it just be that. 

Yesterday as I was driving home, I was looking at the newly installed concrete telegraph poles along the side of the road. For a brief moment I thought it would be so easy just to drive straight into one of them. I had the cruise control on, so I knew speed would be constant and the impact would be hard. In that moment, I snapped out of it and finished my trip. My children would be making their way home from school and expecting me to greet them at the door.  Taking the "easy way out" just wasn't an option. Instead, I retreated to my bed and watched Judge Judy and an infomercial for the Magic Bullet, because I couldn't be bothered finding a remote control to turn it over. Eme joined me in bed and cuddled me. She always knows and it tears me up.

What am I trying to say here? I guess its that I realise I need help.  I have been taking antidepressants for over two years and obviously my dose needs looking at. Its time to go back to the counselor too. I am lucky that my employer offers a counselling service, and I will be taking full advantage of that.  In fact, I have an appointment later this week.  Suicide (such an ugly word) is NOT an option.  I want to grow old with my hubby. I want to see my children grow into whoever they choose to be. I want to bounce grandbabies on my knee.  Life is most definitely worth living. I just don't want to go through life living in a fog.  I want to smile and laugh again.

I have been through these waves of depression often enough that I think I can see the signs now. I become really distracted and can't concentrate on anything. I miss deadlines. I feel like an utter failure. I have trouble sleeping, but could sleep all day. I eat all of the wrong foods and don't take care of myself. I don't participate in anything...from playing with the kids, to taking care of the house or going out with friends. I isolate myself.  I find it really hard to smile.  Does any of this sound familiar to you?

Today I forced myself to go out for lunch with a couple of friends. I tried to think of excuses about why I couldn't go, but it was my friend's birthday and I didn't want to let her down. I ate my pad thai and made conversation, but I didn't feel present at all.  My friend asked me how I was feeling, and I just didn't know how to answer...giving the usual and polite "I'm good". She's not a fool and asked me more questions. We talked long and hard about depression. She gets it.  She has been going through her own issues and I felt guilty talking about my own because mine seem to pale in significance. I so appreciate their support.  It helps immensely that they understand. I'm glad I pushed myself out of my comfort zone.

I've often talked about being kind to myself, and I think to a degree that is still the case. The time has come though to give myself a swift boot in the arse and to start doing something about it. I think I've been sitting in the corner of this pity party way too long.  You know, life is to be enjoyed, and damn it, I want to enjoy it again.  I have set myself some short term goals to work towards...achievable goals.  One of my first goals is to list 10 things that I am currently grateful for. I'm also going to a couple of events next month which I am nervous about attending, but I'm looking forward to it.  It helps to have plans for the future...something to look forward to.

So many people suffer through depression in silence, and there is help out there.  If any of what I have written here has resonated with you, please seek some advice from a friend, a doctor, a counselor, somebody. You don't have to live this way.

...and as for that rainbow I mentioned at the top of this post...they always appear when then sun comes out after a storm.

PS. Mum, if you're reading this...don't worry...I'm working on it :-)

Some resources:
Beyond BlueProfessional CounsellingBlack Dog InstituteBeat Baby BluesThe ShedJust Speak Up

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