Where have I gone?

The last few years have been nothing less than a roller coaster ride.  And most of it was hidden, a secret.  Disguised behind smiles and outward picture of  "I'm fine, thank you."

It's somewhat hard for me to sit and pour this out, yet also freeing and therapeutic at the same time.  What is it?  Something that no one knew for a few years, and then only my husband for the last 4 months or so.

I have a mood disorder, depression, anxiety.  It started simple enough.  The birth of two children, life, staying home at first and then going back to work....it all happened.  It was life.  It IS life.  Stress, fun times, stress, hard times, stress fun times.  It's normal, it's life.   Just a day here and there of feeling blue.  Then those days became closer together. 

My already embedded, but not bad anxieties about various things, began to become stronger.  I never really liked, for example, other people except myself driving my children around.  As my depression worsened and anxiety increased, I didn't even want my own husband to drive them around.  I always had to be behind the wheel.  On the occasions that I had no other choice it was all I could do to sit in the seat without crying, or shaking, or hyperventilating.  Looking okay from the outside, the person/friend/husband didn't know what was going on, on the inside. 

Anxiety, fear, nervousness, sadness began overtaking me.  Overtaking my thoughts.  My rationale became irrational.  Certain things I wouldn't want my children to do or places to go for fear of them becoming harmed or worse, killed.  I would fret when my husband would work late nights.  Wondering if he had been in an accident when he would come home a little alter than usual.One time I even remember calling a couple of local hospitals in a frantic search, certain he had come to perilous doom. 

Things got even worse.  I became so tired I could barely function through my day.   It didn't matter if I got 4 hours of sleep or 10 hours.  I would wake up as if I never even slept and then go like a zombie through my day.  I would cry at the drop of a hat.  I began having pain all throughout my body.  Physical pain to a touch.  I had several scary episodes of memory lapses. 

I had the hardest time remember names of things, of items, of people.  I would ask one of the boys to get something out of the refrigerator, but I couldn't remember what the refrigerator was called to even tell them.  I couldn't remember what "dishes" where called, or foods.  It would take me a moment to stop and think about it. 

One particular time I remember driving down the road to the grocery store.  Suddenly, I looked around and thought "Where am I?  I don't recognize this place?  Where am I going?  I have no idea."  I had to pull over.  It was a good 40 seconds before I remembered where I was and what I was doing.  I was too scared to say anything to anyone about it.

The next time I vividly remember walking into Walmart and suddenly I had the same thing.  I couldn't remember where I was, what town I was in, why I was there or even who I knew.  I was so frightened.  I walked to a deserted aisle so no one would see me and my nervousness.  Finally I did remember and again told no one.  Other times I would be at home and couldn't remember what I was doing or why I was there, things I needed or what needed to be done.   I was becoming increasingly anxious about these memory lapses and that in turn caused panic attacks.

Then there was "those" times.  I felt so sad, so lost, so depressed, so overwhelmed....One time I remember I could not wait until Eric go home because I just wanted to bolt from the house.  I said I was going to the grocery store.  I got in the car, started to Publix and thought "I could just drive away, never come back and no one would ever know.  I could do it."  I can not tell you how "NOT ME" that is.  I could NEVER leave my husband and children behind.  It was the most awful feeling.  Because I knew in my heart I NEVER would want that.  But that depressed "NOT ME" said "do it!!"  I drove for awhile, and then turned back to the grocery store and went on about my normal evening.  There were a few times that feeling would overtake me.  I can not describe what a living nightmare that felt like.  There are no words for it.  To have your heart say one thing and part that couldn't be controlled, say another. 

Then there were the times that I thought, if I did pass away, I wouldn't be missed and people would probably be better off.  I never ever thought of taking my own life, don't get me wrong.  But I didn't feel like my life was really that big of a deal to anyone else.  I didn't feel like I helped many people, or did much for humanity.  I didn't feel of value. 

For the longest time, I wore a great mask.  No one knew.  Everything was fine, if you asked me.  But inside.....inside, I felt alone.  I felt most people didn't REALLY care about it.  It was all just surface I told myself.  Sure they said "Hello"  and "how are you?"  But I felt they didn't really care.  It was all I could do to force myself out of bed and to work every morning.  It was all I could do to come home, do my "home" stuff and get through the evening.   I prayed for bed time.  And then it started all over again.  Had it not been for me having to work, I didn't even want to leave the house much anymore unless it was to escape.

Finally things began to emerge.  I become increasingly short with my husband and children.  I came to a point that I didn't even want to be touched by anyone.

Finally one night, I have a wonderful friend who talked to me, I'll call her "Jane".  She could tell and knew EXACTLY what was up and told me.  That was the open door, the moment I realized...."I need help!"    Jane, and a small group of women that I am extremely close too, encouraged me to tell my husband and get help.  And I did!

One night I finally broke down and told Eric about the memory thing and about how I knew I wasn't "me" and I was making an appointment for the doctor.

Within 2 days they ran all kinds of tests from physical to emotional.  The diagnosis:  Anxiety, mood disorder most likely brought on from undiagnosed post partum depression and Fibromyalgia.   I can't tell what a huge relief it was just to know that it WAS something that was beyond my "control" and that I could get help for.  I've begun taking Cymbalta, which is a dual med used for mood disorders and the pain management for Fibromyalgia. 

It has been one month since starting and I am so happy to say I feel more like the old "me" again.  Not 100%, but getting there.  I can make it through my day, not only make it, but look forward to it.  Looking forward to spending time with my husband and my children and family and friends!!   I feel more positive again.  I realize that yes there are realities in life.  Not everyone likes me, things DO happen beyond our control, etc.  BUT, life is still good and I am very blessed!   It has been a month and I've had no memory lapses for over 30 days!  I haven't felt so anxious.  I've been able to let the boys ride with other people without a full blown panic attack!  And best of all, I do NOT feel like running away :)

The sun is shining again and I realize I am not alone.  I have my faith in God, I have those friends that cared enough to say "hey, we are worried..."  And best of all I have my husband, children and entire family who are always with me in the flesh and in spirit.  Who could really ask for anything more! 


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