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A Journey Through Depression

I've been thinking a lot about blogging about depression again for some reason. I have found that if something's weighing heavily on my mind there's a reason and I need to share with others. This post is about my journey through depression and how I finally decided to seek help for my problem.

My struggle with depression started back when my friends left me behind after high school. I have a few family members that suffer from depression too, so I guess I'm sort of prone to feeling depressed and sorry for myself. I also tend to be a bit of a perfectionist and if I don't live up to my own high standards I can be a bit hard on myself. That's a big thing I've been working on lately. I tend to blame myself for things that I really have no control over too. I know it's crazy, but it's a hard thing to control.

After moving much as a child I found it difficult to form true and lasting friendships, so I did a pretty good job of sheltering myself from the pain of friends I had to leave behind. That strategy worked very well for me until I hit high school. I found some friends I felt I could really open up to, I could be myself and they didn't expect me to be anything but myself. I tried to do my best and to be a better person when they were around, but not out of crazed obssession but because I enjoyed it.

When they moved away to spread their wings and head off to college, I didn't feel that I had anyone to talk about my problems with. Our busy lives made us drift out of touch and pretty much loose contact. Stresses built up and I went back to my unhealthy ways of dealing with feelings, mainly eating those yummy comfort foods.

My expectations were high and I didn't do as well as I thought I should do the first year of college, I wasn't even getting a B average and my goal was to have an A average like I did in high school. Not to mention the stress of working 30 hours a week and trying to pay for most of college myself. The vending machines were everywhere and in those days I didn't seem to believe in packing my own lunch to eat at school. It was a crazy year and I gained weight like crazy. I spiraled farther and farther, I was out of control and I didn't even seem to realize it.

After I made some new friends at work and got back into the groove things improved somewhat. I even met this great guy (Cheesehead) who was super sweet eventually who was very interested in me. My underlaying problems remained though and I never fully recovered to myself again. I refused to really open up to anyone again because I just couldn't afford the expense of being discarded again.

Eventually I began to trust again a little bit and I became really good friends with Cheesehead. We began dating, got engaged and eventually got married in March of 1996. I didn't feel free to open up to anyone else though, there was just something about him that made me want to cling to him and him alone. As a newly wed I never felt like leaving the house to go anywhere with anyone besides my husband. I suppose it was the combination of being a newly wed and having a mild case of depression.

My sister decided she didn't like him because she thought I gained weight because I was with him. She thought he was controlling me and telling me that I couldn't go anywhere. She told my friends she thought he was abusive towards me.

I didn't want to go anywhere with anyone, it was the depression and fear of rejection welling up inside me. I never told her the truth since we were never close. She just wanted to blame someone for my problems. It couldn't have been health related or anything. I suppose thoughts like that don't occur to most people though when you're supposedly a young healthy person.

A few months after we got married I became pregnant. I was a little nervous and not completely sure I really was pregnant, I'd never been there before and I wasn't sure I'd be a very good mom. Shortly thereafter I had a miscarriage. Of course I blamed myself. I know now that it wasn't my fault, but this crazy voice inside my head just told me that I secretly didn't want the child so it decided to leave me before I could reject it. Was it my fault because I had just gotten a new kitten and shouldn't have been cleaning the litterbox? I must have given myself toxoplasmosis. I was stretched thin with work, marriage, a new house, and the loss of my baby and the blues seemed to close in around me a little tighter.

I talked to very few people about my miscarriage. They just didn't understand what I was going through. When I talked about it with others they tried to comfort me with comments like "it wasn't meant to be", "it wasn't alive so how could you miss it", "there must have been something wrong with it", the list goes on too.

Why shouldn't a woman be sad when the little life inside her goes away never to be heard from again? Why can't a woman cry when she sees all of these moms walking around with healthy children? I didn't feel it was okay for me to talk about such things, so I just buried them deep down with all of my other baggage. Cheesehead and I made a memorial garden at our new house for the poor life that was snuffed out before we got a chance to really get to know it. It helped me to feel better about life to get out there and get my hands in the dirt.

When I had my son a year later, I felt inadequate for him. He was so very small and I had so many problems with the preeclamsia during pregnancy. I was afraid I would break him like he was some little china doll or something. People were constantly offering me unwanted advise. I know that happens to everyone, but I took it personally of course and thought I was an unfit mother. He was so small, I was afraid to take him outside so I didn't get to garden as I wanted to. Having other people watch my son when I was home would make me a bad mom and I couldn't leave him inside all by himself when he was so small and fragile!

I kept myself mired in such thoughts for years. I tried half heartedly to get full time teaching jobs every now and then and wondered to myself why on earth I had wasted so much money on an education that I would never use.

It got even worse when I had my daughter. I had placenta previa with her (which was also obviously my fault) and ended up spending two weeks on hospitalized bedrest before I had her. I had no visitors really other than mom and dad and cheesehead. I never really thought about it at the time, I just assumed no one cared. Looking back I'm not so sure that anyone even knew I was in the hospital and it was an hour away from where my friends and I lived. That didn't matter to my mind though. I just beat myself up because nobody liked me or cared enough to even call me or send me a card or anything.

Still it never really occured to me that anything was wrong with my attitude or thoughts. As far as I was concerned all of these things were completely normal. I'm not sure how I stayed on the brink of depression for so long.

When my children were older I got back into gardening and started to feel a little bit better. Before we moved I talked with my doctor about thinking I may be depressed but we never did anything about it. I didn't want the label of being depressed.

My dad needed to have heart surgery so he stayed with us for a couple of weeks when he was recovering. Mom lived there too and but they had been divorced for several years before that. It was uncomfortable for everyone. I got even more frustrated because I could never get him to take his pills, I needed to have mom tell him to take his pills before he would take them. I beat myself up some more because he refused to listen to me because he thought I didn't know what I was talking about, it was all my fault.I told myself I was stupid and incapable of doing anything right. Looking back I'd say he just didn't really want to take instructions from someone so much younger than him.

When he died I just knew that everyone blamed me. He didn't live with me anymore and I should have had him move back in with us when my uncle went back to jail. I didn't go over to his house to see what was wrong when he didn't answer the phone. I should have gone over and seen if there was something wrong, why in the world didn't I? Truthfully he was always involved in something and he rarely ever answered the phone when I called but that thought also never crossed my mind when I was in the midst of beating myself up again. My depression kept me sinking deeper and deeper into a dark funk I couldn't break free from.

I blamed myself for moving my family far from home and not being able to sell our old house, for being stupid enough to buy a house upon the advise of the bankers and realtors when I should have been smart enough to know better, I should have thought to fix all of the little problems with my old house before I out it on the market, I shouldn't have been stupid enough to have spent all of that money on my old house's new windows, appliances, flooring, siding, roof, soffits, and paint. It's crazy the thoughts that kept flying through my head. It rarely occured to me that anything was wrong with such thoughts OR that having these thoughts would keep me stuck in a depression cycle forever.

I kept seeing these depression commercials on tv. Thoughts started playing around the fringes of my mind about needing help, but I kept trudging on through life. I was just being paranoid and a hypochondriac I chided myself. These thoughts kept weaving themselves into my mind though. I even started to dream about it. I dreamed about how I used to be with kids and I thought about how crabby I was with my kids.

These thoughts eventually even entrenched themselves into my waking mind. I thought about how I couldn't sleep at night, I couldn't lose weight, how I cried over things that shouldn't be cried about, how I never had the energy to motivate myself off the couch to do even the simplest of tasks, I had no energy ever, and I couldn't remember anything. I talked to my doctor about it again in the summer of 2007, but I told her that I wanted to try to snap out of it myself first.

I prayed about it a little bit and started making some friends on the internet. My friends and cousins started sharing the fact that they suffered from depression too. With their friendship and encouragement as my guide I finally gathered up the courage to ask the doctor for some medical intervention. Nothing I was doing for myself was enough to help me get over it and I decided enough was enough, I didn't want to feel like this anymore.

It's been almost a year now that I've been taking my meds. I can't believe the improvements I've seen in myself and my outlook on life in such a short period of time. I still have a long way to go with controlling the thoughts of worthlessness and inability to do things, but my frame of mind is becoming better with discussion, journaling, prayer, gardening, and self examination. One day I may not need the chemicals to help keep me in the right frame of mind, but for now I'll keep plodding on with therapy in hopes of a complete and total recovery one day.

Thank you for stopping by. Please leave me a message and a backlink. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Cindy
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