Thursday, April 26, 2018

[My] Symptoms of Depression

For me, from what I can remember, it started with moments, then hours, then days, of feeling overwhelmed with life and all its responsibilities. It all just seemed like too much. At first these feelings would come and go, but then they started to stick around.

I found myself looking at my friends’ difficulties around me and my heart breaking for them and then I started wondering how anyone had the energy and motivation to continue fighting through their lives.

I started becoming tired, needing more sleep but never feeling rested.

Then I found myself wanting to explode. I felt so overwhelmed, but I felt like no one saw me. They didn’t see who I really was, what I was struggling with, and I then I simultaneously felt overly demanding and guilt-ridden for wanting that recognition.

I felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel. No chance of feeling carefree ever again. My life was doomed to be a long, tired fight. A fight against disease, mental health, hard parenting, health problems, people dying, hard diagnoses, exhaustion, mean people, people who didn’t get it and didn’t care.

I just wanted to sleep so I didn’t have to deal.
I didn’t want to clean the house. Too overwhelming.
I didn’t want to cook. Too much energy required.
I didn’t want to read fiction or anything light-hearted. Entertainment seemed frivolous when the world was so wrong. But then sometimes I wanted to escape my pain so I would decide the book or a funny movie was worth it. (Jumanji actually did me a lot of good last week.)

I looked around at other people with problems, and they seemed fine. Did they not see how messed up this world is? How were they ok?

The little things that used to make me smile didn’t feel worth smiling about anymore. I tried to smile anyway though.

I felt like lashing out at my kids and my husband. Not all the time, but much more than normal. I tried to hold it in, pray through it. What was wrong with me?

Eventually it felt like there was a hole in my chest.

And maybe people who’ve never felt depression don’t realize this, but depression can hurt. Literally hurt. You can feel like you’re in pain 24/7. For me, it hurts in my chest. I feel like there is a hole in the middle of me. And simultaneously, I feel like there’s this heavy, dirty blanket I’m carrying around over my soul, everywhere I go, and it makes even the best, happiest of scenarios feel bleak and heavy and muddy.

I met with my integrative doctor yesterday. She looked at my health history and found a couple possible supplement changes that could have unexpectedly triggered my body to go into depression, so we switched those things around. One of them I had actually switched on my own a couple days prior. She also gave me some new supplements to support my brain and help it calm down and heal. We are meeting again in 7 to 10 days to see if I’m seeing any improvement. She agreed that if we can’t get me healed, antidepressants are a reasonable solution. I’m so thankful to have found a crunchy professional who helps me with my health issues in a natural way whenever possible, but who also acknowledges that sometimes conventional methods and medications are warranted.

Already last night I felt better than I’d felt in at least a week and a half. And today a song came on in the car and I felt my heart leap with happiness and joy for a split second. And then I thought, “Whoah, what the heck was that???” and I realized that that feeling had been completely absent from my life for quite a while. I used to feel it many times a day. My eyes teared up, but they were good tears, because I suddenly felt tangible hope that I would be ok again.

I share all this info because yes, it’s therapeutic to do so, but also because I really, really, really don’t want others to have to suffer through depression and not realize it’s happening. If you see yourself in any of this and it’s been more than a week or so, please please talk to someone. Depression affects everything. It makes it hard to maintain quality of life, hard to maintain relationships, and honestly, hard to maintain your relationship with God. I don’t know why God allows depression and other mental issues, and gosh it’s frustrating because everything seems impossible when your head and heart are aching and nonfunctional, no matter what you say or read or do.

Also, some people may disagree with me, but in my experience, very little of depression is a thought or heart issue. It is a physical illness. Your brain is misfiring. Your body is not working. Sometimes it's a response to a traumatic experience. Sometimes it's a bodily response to other life stresses and changes. Sometimes it's just your body stops working the way it should for one reason or another. Trust me, when I’m depressed, I know what thought processes I SHOULD be having. I’ve studied lots of cognitive therapy recently for helping Krew with his struggles. I know much of the Bible, I know much of God’s truths, I know what it is to pray and feel close to God and surrender and know He’s holding me in His hands. But when I’m in a depression, which I’ve now experienced several times? Those things are all still in my head, but I can’t process them. I know them, but they’re inaccessible. They make no sense. And because of this, I know I have to heal my body first. Once my body starts to heal, then I can start thinking those right things again and get myself the rest of the way better. But until I get some bodily healing (which for me has been through medication or supplements), trying to climb out of depression is pretty futile.

Alright, I think that’s all for now. Hopefully these depressed posts will stop soon. Thank you to all of you who have reached out recently to send love and support or let me know you’re praying. It means the world to me. You all rock.

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