Surviving in darkness, reaching for light: The toll of depression.
I started treatment and felt great for a couple of years.
Now, I *thought* I was doing well the 3 years after that. I didn't recognize the slip again. The slip into depression's waves and tides, the grasp it takes and slowly pulls you down, is often subtle and unnoticed until someone or something makes you take notice.
This has got to be one of the hardest posts I have ever done, one of the most heartbreaking for me.
There was no one moment, one day, one week where suddenly I was swimming in the depths trying to reach the top. It was a slow dissent. A thought here, a misread conversation there, an over analyzed look from someone, small situations, all that began eating away at simple sanity again.
I had no real idea that it would become something that I'm going to continually have to battle.
I remember days of analyzing conversations in my head over and over and over wondering what I had done, or said, to push people away. All the while not realizing it was I who pushing them away.
It became to easy for me to go inward and shut everyone else out.
It became normal to feel as if no one cared, especially as we dealt with David and his special needs. It became normally sadly to push even my husband away, slowly, over time, until he was shut out completely. All the while thinking that he was to blame, when it was my own battle causing me feel things that were not true.
Depression is hell. It's a hell where nothing is as it seems. The loneliness for me was self induced even though it appeared it came from everyone else pushing me away.
As I look back now I can see the patterns. I can see that the summer of 2015 when David was diagnosed with his auto-immune disorder, that my dissent became deeper. I didn't realize it then. I realize it now.
For over a year, I lived in a personal hell. As David's condition became relentless and showed no signs of remission, no response to treatments, I dived further into feeling so alone, so abandoned, so overwhelmed.
I know now people reached out. I know now, I refused help.
Then, I felt they didn't mean it. Or the "right" people didn't reach out.
The year moved on, it seemed the world was just against my son, myself, my family. I had removed myself mentally and emotionally so far from my husband most importantly, but also family and friends.
I was so far...gone, I didn't know how to come back. I didn't realize I needed to come back.
I thought several times how easy it would be to put the kids in the car and just drive and drive, to anywhere but where I was.
I thought several times of leaving alone, to be anywhere but where I was, dealing with what I was.
2015 passed into 2016 and for a couple of months there was a little light but that grasp was so strong and I was pulled back in.
I hate depression!
The downward spiral became worse. I had never felt more alone. Even with the arrival of my mother and sister back to the United States, I felt I had no one. Of my own accord again, pushing all away.
I didn't know how to accept help. And it was easier for the depression to take hold and believe no one wanted to help.
The summer of 2016 brought deeper sadness, deeper darkness. A trial by fire truly. A situation occurred that a few now of, it doesn't matter now what, because it's in the past, it's forgiven, we've moved on.
However, when it occurred I can honestly say I was at my darkest night. I remember that evening and night more clearly than I ever wished I did.
I had never felt so alone and deserted than I did the day the situation came to a blow.
That night in a quiet house, I lay in my bed trying hard to will myself to sleep. Sleep would not come. I had just started my new job teaching, and the next day was the first day for students.
I remember thinking how am I ever going to make it through the day. The sadness from the situation had taken over me. I couldn't even think about teaching much less how I'd ever facet the morning.
For the first time in my life, I did not want to face the morning.
My thoughts drifted to how easy it would be to end the pain I was feeling. I lay there thinking of the medicines I had in my home. I imagined which ones I would go get and saw myself dumping the pills in a pile and then lining them up to take.
I thought how I'd not have to feel anything anymore.
Never I had been in this position. Never had I thought of ending my life. Never had I believed it was an answer.
But that night, I felt it. I felt the despair. I felt the sadness. I felt the utter abandonment created in my mind. I felt the loneliness.
I did not want to live to see the morning. I didn't want to face the pain and the choices I'd have to make in the morning and the following days.
And then...I looked over in the bed. There lay my sons. David and Aaron were fast asleep, no knowledge of what had taken place. No knowledge of what their mother was thinking.
I wept. I wept all night. I didn't sleep at all. I couldn't leave them. They were the one reason I had to go on.
The sun came up, the sadness and heaviness of adult choices still loomed, but I was able to get myself out of bed for my sons.
That was a turning point. I sat on the edge of the bed a moment and realized that the night before was a wake up call. I was not healthy. The depression still remained.
The coming days and weeks brought healing in some ways [to my marriage and life], but it brought a tough realization that I will never be "free" of depression.
That it is something I will always have to keep in check.
I made an appointment with my doctor and began therapy as well. I realize about 4 months have passed and so many times it seems like a lifetime ago.
Each day, each week is still a step forward. However not without fear that the cold claws of depression will try to drag me down again.
Safegaurds. I can't imagine going through the journey of depression alone. I can't begin to imagine how people who truly are alone, do it. And sadly, often they don't make it out.
I say safeguards because now I understand some things to look for. I have my husband, my family, my friends look out for me. If they recognize anything, it can be brought to my attention. If I don't or can't respond properly, I've advised that they get me somewhere for help.
If you feel hopeless often, alone, like you don't want to go on, please please please now that you are NOT alone. You CAN reach out.
If nothing else I am always here!
Call your doctor.
Call a friend.
Call a hotline.
Don't ignore feelings of depression, hopelessness, or suicide.
While I'm a firm believer in prayer. please know that prayer alone will not help. It's great when people say they will pray for you.
But please, please get professional help.
DO not get to a point that I did. I shutter to think what might have happened had my sons not been sleeping with me that night.
It is OK to talk about it. It is OK to scream about it. Do not be embarrassed. Do not think that others will think less of you.
You are NOT alone. Ever! People do care. I care.