Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A lack of posts

I have probably three posts, now, sitting in my drafts, waiting desperately for me to come back to them. With any luck, this post won't end up there, too - either way, I owe an apology to those who've begun reading or following and are wondering why I haven't posted recently. So I'd like to take a moment to discuss something serious, something that I feel DOES require medical intervention, treatment, and follow-up care. I promise I'll be brief, as I don't want to stand on my soapbox for too long.

I have clinical depression. I've struggled with my emotions, and with extreme downs, for as long as I can remember. Things that would not seriously upset or bother one person set me off immediately and for quite a while. I didn't have many close friends during high school, and at the time my boyfriend (now Hubby) lived 1600 miles away from me. It was tough on us emotionally and mentally; if you add in the "stresses" of school, the musicals and plays and band rehearsals and trips and everything else that my musically-centered life revolved around, well, you can maybe see how things were kind of tough. Add in that my mom struggled with a lot of similar problems (though with inarguably less-positive outcomes), and I saw and experienced her problems every day, and the fact that we just didn't TALK about these things, well... It was a recipe for disaster, in every way. I didn't talk, I didn't express myself. I learned to bottle up problems and feelings and project my issues inward.

Everything that happened (or didn't happen, but should have) became a path of regret, a mental self-immolation to try to resolve my problems. I was emo in every sense of the word, except for my clothing.

Tack on a total lack of self-confidence that I still struggle with (I have stretch marks on the inside of my elbows, and during theater class one day a much-beloved teacher looked at them and asked me in front of everyone if I was cutting - imagine what THAT did to me), and yeah, I had a plethora of problems, many of which still exist.

I struggled with postpartum depression after G was born, but managed to hold it in and deal with it via sleepless nights, crying a lot, and convincing myself that someday I'd feel better. It honestly didn't occur to me that my untreated but diagnosed problems with depression - issues I didn't really want to confront - had thrown my PPD out of control and made it nearly impossible to deal with. I survived, somehow, maybe through a miracle, but after A arrived I finally "manned up" and acknowledged my emotional state. It wasn't easy, nor was it fun, to admit to my OB during a postpartum checkup that I was a total disaster mentally, had contemplated suicide (but was "too chicken" to follow through), and had thought half-seriously about leaving my little family. I knew, inwardly, that none of those things would help, or make anything easier, but when you're depressed, you don't exactly consider what your brain is trying to tell you. Most of the time, your brain's opinion doesn't matter much, because there is a much larger, much more sinister voice that occupies your thoughts. It's hard not to listen to, and ignoring it doesn't make it go away - in fact, most of the time, ignoring it only makes it louder.

I was prescribed Lexapro to try to help me stabilize some of my thoughts and moods to a point where I could reason through it. I won't argue, taking a medication to feel human again isn't necessarily fun. I call them happy pills only mostly lovingly, because you take them hoping that maybe they'll make you less miserable, or make life "suck less", even though you know that's illogical and isn't how it works - but man, you hope. And yes, when it doesn't work out that way, you get disappointed. Who wouldn't want to take a little pill once a day and have everything get better? If that was the option, and let's be honest here, wouldn't you take it if it seriously worked?

But it doesn't work that way. The caveat here is that while medication might make it easier to deal with my problems and feelings, and easier to talk my way logically through my issues, it only does those things when I take it. I have not been taking my medication at all regularly, and I think that taking it only occasionally is almost worse than never taking it at all, because you have the sudden ups and downs of having it suddenly reintroduced into your system, then working it all back out again, over and over again. You feel bipolar, almost, and that makes you a little more insane in some ways because you have great days where you can tackle your problems and make sense of the world, and the next week you just wish you'd die in a corner where nobody could bother you or remind you that life is awful and you have no real way to fix any of your problems.

Yes, I have problems. A lot of aspects of my life are painful and difficult to deal with, and a good portion of it is out of my hands to the point where all I can do is kick and scream and maybe even pray that things will get better at some point. But there are just as many, if not more, aspects that are completely within my control, I just choose not to acknowledge that because I give myself the false impression that brief improvement is better than feeling good in the long term.

So, there you have it. I am depressed, and I need to manage it properly, and I'm not. I don't want to give the impression that somehow this is a catch-all excuse for me, but I do feel I owe my readers and followers an explanation for my erratic posting, and the promise that I am putting effort into managing my depression appropriately.

Much love to everyone, and if you feel that you or a loved one is struggling with chronic depression, please don't be afraid to step up. Sometimes when you're depressed, all you need to hear is that someone cares to acknowledge that maybe something is wrong.

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