Friday, December 21, 2012

My depression story...

Okay, I'm going to start off this whole depression talk with the following statement: I am NOT an expert. Just because mine happened this way doesn't mean it happens this way for everyone. And my "advice" on the topic is NOT the same as getting PROFESSIONAL HELP, which I super highly encourage you to do, if you think you might be suffering from depression. End of rant.

I guess I'll kick off this shindig by starting at the beginning.

I have always been a "deep feeler." In my teen years, I was affectionately known as Katie Kaboom around the home front.

But I never would have labeled those emotions as "depression."

I had "low self-esteem" or "self-doubt," or I "felt isolated" (all signs of depression, by the way). But I NEVER would have called it depression. I was in student government. I made good grades. I had close friends. I was on homecoming court. As I said in my last post, I wasn't one of those people.

Looking back now, I realize that I have been battling depression for most of my life, but never more than January of this year.

I injured my back while visiting family over the Christmas break. Then I took an 8-hour car ride home. Then I REALLY injured my back about five minutes after walking through my own front door.

Forget New Year's resolutions, I couldn't even get off the couch. For two weeks, I lay there and watched Netflix. My husband was teaching and coaching and doing his best to run the household. Laundry began to pile up. Dishes went unwashed. Dinner consisted of PB&J or leftover pizza. And all I could see were the many, many ways in which I was failing as a wife and mother.

And those thoughts led to other thoughts... memories of past failures (and boy, I've had some doozies). Damaged relationships. Wrecked cars. Poor financial decisions. Lost jobs. Messy houses. Tempers. Weight gain. Regret. Regret. Regret.

And then my back started feeling better. But I didn't tell anyone. Because getting off that couch meant facing the world again... the world that contained all. those. failures.

And so I stayed there. And I watched TV. And the laundry and the dishes kept piling up. And I slept in the day. And I couldn't sleep at night. And then one awful evening, when everyone else was in bed, and I lay on the couch wrapped in the torment of all my many failures... I had a single moment of clarity... I think I'm depressed... and then... I don't know how to fix it.

The next morning, I called my mom and asked her to make the 8-hour trek to my house. I texted my Sweet Hubby, who was at school teaching, and simply wrote this: "I think I'm really depressed. Mom is coming into town tomorrow. I'm calling a counselor." And I did. I called everyone in the yellow pages.  Only one called me back, and he said he could see me that afternoon.

Thus began my journey to discovery and recovery. And in the next few posts, I'd like to share with you some of the most important things I learned (and continue to learn) about depression...

To be continued... 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Welcome Back, my friend!

Well... here it is... the end of 2012... and I have written exactly FOUR posts this year.  I'd like to give you a host of reasons why this blog has been thus neglected. I could say that I have writer's block. I could tell you that my year has been so full of changes and ups and downs and craziness that I haven't had time to write. I could sigh and look forlornly at my dying dinosaur of a computer and tell you that, sigh, the machine freezes up every single time I have attempted to write a blog.

But none of those would be true. While I do have a monster of a computer that hates blogspot, I occasionally have access to Sweet Hubby's computer, and therefore could type a little sumpin' sumpin' every now and then. And since my year has been so full of changes, one would think such changes would at least create a few readable anecdotes.

And I do not have writer's block.

I have writer's hesitation.

Because every. single. time. I sit down to write, I am prompted to write about one subject. If I try to stumble through a light-hearted, "welcome back" post, I just freeze and think, "This isn't what I'm supposed to be writing about."

But I hesitate. And close the computer. And walk away. And say to myelf: "Self, not today."

And the subject that has possessed my writing faculties for almost a full year? The thing I have hesitated to make known in such a public arena? This mental roadblock on my path to blogging?


Almost a year ago today, depression hit me in a way that I have never experienced before. And it has changed my life... at first, for the worse... now, for far far better than I could have imagined sitting on my couch this time last year.

And the thing about depression is that it's a secret illness. People don't send flowers. They don't fix meals and bring them to your family. They don't sit by your bedside and hold your hand. People don't know about it. 

And because people don't know about it, you might not know about it. I didn't.

I knew the symptoms I had seen on commercials. But those people were cast in gray lighting, holding their foreheads, and wincing. Those people suddenly lost interest in things they once loved. They couldn't get out of bed. Those people constantly had suicidal thoughts.

But I wasn't one of those people. I didn't wake up one morning with a sudden pang of gray lighting and think, "Oh man, I'm depressed."

Because depression is sneaky. And secret. And slow moving... until it's not. And then, you become one of those people.

So over the next few days... or weeks... or months... or years... or however long it takes me to process all this into bloggable words... I am going to talk to you about depression.

Because we're old friends, you and I. We have been through a lot together. I think our friendship can handle this, don't you?

And who knows, maybe you're on the road to becoming one of those people. Or maybe you're the other people, the ones who don't really know about this illness.

Either way, I hope you're changed, as I was changed. Knowledge is power, my friend. See you soon.

The Quote That Started It All...

I myself have twelve hats, each one representing a different personality. Why be just yourself? - Margaret Atwood