During my life I had struggled with depression but nothing could prepare me for what I was about to go through. I do not think I was aware how much the effects of the trauma that occurred during my younger years had on me. I thought that I had dealt with all the issues. I did not realize that abuse has far reaching impacts that can be so deep, they do not surface until later in life. Perhaps it was my minds way of protecting itself against pain I was not ready to deal with.
A pivotal moment for me was when my boss had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and had only a few months to live. This woman was my friend, confidant, and my boss. She was so much more to me than just my supervisor. The diagnoses was even more devastating as it was the first summer that she decided to take a vacation. Before the vacation she had a medical and found out the diagnosis. I made a phone call to see how she was doing and asked if the information was true and she said “yes”. She did not tell me that it was terminal but I knew deep down that it was bad. The tone in her voice was low and could hear the cry that wanted to come out but she was being strong. I asked if she was scared and she said “Yes”. That is when I knew she was not coming back to work, I was crying inside “please don’t take her, she has been my strength during this difficult time”. We carried on a short conversation after and said our good bye. Little did I know that it was going to be the last time that I would hear her voice.
The symptoms of depression were all around me. I was constantly tired, just wanting to sleep. This just was not me, I was the go getter, always striving for more. I was fighting with my husband and we never fought before. I did not want to eat, just wanted to drink coffee and smoke cigarettes. Then one day I had pain in my bones. I honestly thought that I had bone cancer that had progressed so far that it was affecting my bones. I finally made the decision to see a doctor, they ran a bunch of tests, when the tests came back everything was normal. All the doctor could say was “most of the time when this happens it is related to mood, how is your mood”. That was the breaking point for me. I was healthy physically but broken mentally. I started crying “why does this always happen to me?”. He just sat there and listened to me and asked if I was on medication for depression I stated “yes”. He gave me more time off work and told me to see my family doctor for adjustment in my medication.
My first meeting with my family doctor I had taken my husband with me so he could understand what I was going through. This did not work as he was not the one going through the experience and had not experienced depression like this before. The doctor tried to educate him on what was happening inside my brain but the understanding was not there. He just wanted to know where did his wife go, and when will she be back.
I ended up being off work for several months due to the illness, then I had to be diagnosed by a psychiatrist. This was a ordeal for me as it was a psychiatrist that prescribed the medication that eventually killed our mother. I was wondering if this was going to happen tome. During the interview we discussed what the issues were and what was happening at home. Then the diagnosis was made. I have major depressive disorder, anxiety, and care giver burn out. This is not what I wanted to hear I wanted to hear that I would be ok and there was nothing wrong with me. This time I knew I needed to do something about the condition I was in. I was not just going to snap out of it this time.
During the time that they were trying to get my symptoms under control, I contemplated suicide. I just did not want to hurt anymore. I was suffering. I cried all the time, did not want to do anything, even things I enjoyed. I did not want to have sex, I would sleep all day and all night. I remember this one day I had to go the town for groceries, a simple task. When I walked out of the store I just did not want to go home, I sat in my truck and cried as I did not understand why I did not want to go home. I just wanted to run away from it, but where would I go? I finally decided that it was time to leave the parking lot and start the drive home. During the drive home I was like, would anyone really miss me? what could I do to make the pain stop? Oh ya, I could just drive in front of one of the big trucks and then it would be all done. I did not want to die, I just wanted to find a way to end the pain.
The worst moment during my depression came after having a bath. I had a curling iron on the counter and I just sat in the bathroom wondering what it would feel like to die by electrocution. I said to myself I could just hop back into the tub and drop the curling iron in the tub. That was the plan, I was going to electrocute myself. Then this overwhelming sense of peace came over me and that is when I really got scared. I knew at that moment that I needed to talk to someone to help me get out of this mind set and I called my sister. I was on the phone crying telling her what I had planned and why. I just wanted to end it but I did not. My sister on the phone was trying to console me, and was having a hard time. I just did not know where this feeling of peace came from and why did it scare me so badly. She continued to talk to me about it and finally I was fine.
The next day I was at the doctors and telling them to help me, as this is what I was thinking and I had a plan. All the doctor could say was “Oh my God”. That is not what a person suffering from depression wants to hear, they just want the pain to go away. She came back to the room and adjusted my medication once more and stated that if I should feel like this again to call. I took my prescription and went home. It took time for the medication to start to work for me, it just seemed like forever. I kept questioning if I was ever going to be better. I realized I was going to have to give my self time, time I wasn’t sure I had.
During this time the disability company decided to make me attend a exercise program. At first I did not see the reason for doing the exercises, it just seemed like a waste of time. During the work outs I was waiting for this euphoric feeling that some people talked so much about. All I felt was pain, and tiredness. I had to fight through the work outs to get them accomplished at first, then I got stronger and stronger. I was getting physically stronger but mentally I was still fragile. I finally got to the point where I did not mind going, realizing that I was not going to feel the same as other people.
Allowing my self to feel my pain and nurture myself through it was excruciatingly difficult. It took me 18 months to get out of this depressed state. I had to go through several programs to get to the point where I could work once again. I attended a psychotherapy, exercise program, plus I would journal everyday. When people say just snap out of it, this upsets me, as they do not realize the pain that I was going through. It was a constant internal struggle, just me and my pain.