Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Depression

I gave myself a little pep talk before I started this blog. I told myself that I would always be honest – that I wouldn’t skirt issues that were affecting me, and so on. This is one of those times that I really don’t want to write honestly, but I’m going to out of a hope that it might help someone else.
I’m living with depression. It’s not a daily struggle, but it is a daily issue. I get in “funks” as Dave and I call them. A funk, for me, is categorized as a period of time – days, weeks, usually all winter, as well - where I don’t function like I feel I should. I usually can feel it creeping up on me. It can start with a little tiny thing pushing me in the direction of sadness, fatigue, or sometimes a complete lack of emotion. But it can also start for no reason. I can be sitting on the couch, watching TV, and feel it come barreling in. It also masquerades as several different things. Sometimes I look overly emotional – I will sob during movies that shouldn’t be so sad or cry during a conversation that shouldn’t warrant tears, often it looks like laziness – I could go days doing nothing but sitting in the house in the dark or sleep 12-15 hours a night several days in a row. Sometimes it feels like deep loneliness, even when I’m surrounded by friends. Sometimes it looks completely normal. My life makes sense, and my emotions make sense. Other times it looks normal, but it doesn’t feel normal. Lots of people are depressed. Most people who live with it don’t understand it, and the people around them definitely don’t understand it either. If you’re someone who is very close to someone with depression, please understand that you can’t fix it. Sometimes even trying to fix it is worse than just letting it happen. Show love and support. Listen. Watch for warning signs of serious mental illness or suicide attempts. But you’re never going to fully understand it, and you’re not going to be able to fix it.
If you are not someone going through depression, I want to use this post as a window of sorts into the feelings. The past few days for me are an example of how my depression works. Last week was a great week. I was feeling up and alive and motivated. All weekend I had a great time being around close friends. Sunday afternoon I went to a party with a group of wonderful friends from church. We talked and laughed and ate some amazing lasagna.
And then Sunday night, I was laughing with Dave, we were having a fun time just hanging out together. Right before we fell asleep I said to him, “I don’t really want to talk about it, but today was hard for me.” He said, “I thought it may have been,” which is proof that I can’t hide my sadness like I generally think I can. And we went to bed.
Yesterday, I couldn’t focus on work, I was irritable, and I was very tired. Last night I had a dream that I was pregnant (which, if you know me at all, you know this is a serious desire for me) and woke up to realize that it was only a dream and became very emotional, I couldn’t sleep well at all, constantly waking up and feeling sad as I tried to fall back asleep and getting annoyed with myself that I was sad in the middle of the night, which meant I was wide awake… filled with emotion that had no cause, and spiraling deeper into the emotion.
When my alarm finally went off this morning, I struggled with whether or not I was going to go to work. I didn’t want to face normal life, normal people, outside situations. I had enough going on with myself, and bringing other people into it was not something I thought I could handle. I finally did get out of bed and got ready because I knew that if I called into work I would have to tell them why I wasn’t coming into work, and that would bring people into my mess even more – which I really didn’t want. Since “getting ready for work” was just an automatic response that I had to put little to no effort into today, I had about 15 minutes to kill before I left for work. I lay back in bed, with Dave still asleep, and cried. For no reason. I was just sad. Sad that I had to go to work, sad about not being pregnant, worried that maybe I could never have children, worried that I was holding on to something so totally out of my control, sad that I didn’t have breakfast, and sad that I was sad. I cried on my way to work, I cried at my desk, I ignored phone calls, I avoided chit-chat.
Although this isn’t a complete picture of what depression can be, it’s a glimpse. I’m not posting this so people will feel sorry for me, or so I can get away with certain emotions. I really do want this to help people in some way, and I want to be honest. If you have any questions about depression, feel free to ask me – but I can’t guarantee I’ll have any answers.

4 comments:

Angiefenton81 said...

Depression feels like a numbness to reality. Sometimes I wonder if the things going on around me are actually real or just a dream. Everything feels fuzzy, like im in a half coma sometimes. It's hard to not shut out the world and go back to bed for days. Depression covers you like a blanket, a heavyness that you can't shake off. It's exausting mentally and physically. Dr's don't fully understand why it happens yet, but the only thing they can recommend is medicine and/ or therapy. I know there are things that we can do to help relieve some of the symptoms, but what some people don't understand is depression makes it so hard for us to feel like doing ANYTHING. That includes, yoga, breathing exercises, herbs, therapy. Just thinking about all those things can be exausting enough. That's why friends and family need to become more aware and educated about this stuff. I feel a lack of motivation when my depression is creeping up, dan knows when it's happening and has to physically get me out of the house and into the fresh air for a walk or to sit in the sunshine. Lastly, i think depression is something people look down on and seem to "sweep under the rug". No one talks about it enough. Instead of being ashamed like some in my family, i choose to reveal it and talk about it so i can wrap my head around it. It's a way to cope. If you know others going through it also, it's easier to talk about and can be very theraputic in the process. I hope this comment sheds more light on the realities of this issue.

momherzog said...

I'm proud of you for being willing to share this stuff and let others know that there are people out there that feel the same way sometimes. It really does help to have it explained by somebody going through it - it helps to understand a little better how you are feeling. Because I'm such a "try to fix it person" that to know that I can just try to be there for someone is all I can do, hopefullly will help me relate a little better to people I care about that are dealing with some of these feelings. LOVE YOU

Christine Carver said...

Thank you for sharing this- I have gone through years of depression and it varies in intensity; sometimes the medicines make it worse, but sometimes they help me immensely. I'm in a good spot right now, but know it can sneak up on me without much warning! I wish our families could just sit on the couch and watch reality tv all day together and that you had a ton of little babies to play with. I'm sorry you have to deal with both of these things. Love you. Chris

The Hagens said...

Tnx for your honesty in sharing your heart. I hope it will help many people to better understand. Know that I feel your pain and am praying for both of you. With love.