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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Cat's Out of the Bag

What the heck is that anyway - 'The cat's out of the bag'... who the heck came up with that?  We all know what it means (to tell someone something private or secretive), and I looked it up just to make sure (I am SO predictable like that), but why we call it that remains a mystery (to me anyway). 

Do you get the feeling that I am trying to talk about something personal but not sure how to go about it?  Woah, you are perceptive.  Nice work.

Sooooo.... here it goes.  Deep breath (literally, I just took one).  Still trying to spit it out here...

Okay.  So, are you sure you want to hear this?  Because if not, there is this hilarious video on you tube that you could watch instead...

Still here?  Okay... I guess if you are still reading this, you've earned a quick look at the cat (the one sticking out of the bag, remember?)

I suffer from depression.  There.  I said it.  Since most of my audience out there consists of my family and friends, this isn't news to you (and you are probably slightly angry at me for putting you through all of the above antics for that little gem that you can file under information-you-already-knew!).  For those of you who don't know me (or don't know me well enough to know this about me) you are probably wondering why the heck is this person sharing this with me... on the INTERNET of all places!?? 

The truth is because like this blog (and everything in it), 'my' depression (I am not sure why we call it that, but we do) is a part of me, and until yesterday (literally) I had not fully accepted this. 

Here is my story in five hunderd words or less:

Looking back, I have been suffering from episodes of mild-moderate depression for the past 17 years, although I didn’t know it at the time. Everything came to a head when I became pregnant with Chephren – that’s right, my depression started during my pregnancy and continued raging on right into the post-partum period. By the time our son was 8 months old I was a complete wreck… I could barely look after myself let alone a baby. More than that, I was scared. I felt trapped and all I could see were two choices: run away or get help. Sooo… I got help, and yes, that help (mostly) came in the form of medication. I can’t tell you how resentful I was about putting that stuff into my body. But, you know what they say about desperate times…

Anyway, this story has a happy ending. After a few months on the medication I was able to function again and no longer felt the need to run away and abandon my family, however I cannot say that I ‘returned to normal’. While the medication helped me manage the ‘doom and gloom’ it also kept me from feeling ‘warm and fuzzy’… about anything. As a gal who formerly loved to laugh, dance, and generally play the days away, this situation would simply not do.

So, off the medication I went (back in February of this year). This choice is one that I do not regret but it doesn’t come without its risks either. You see as someone who has suffered with this illness for more than half of my life, I am told that I will likely be dealing with it forever. Fun hey? What this means is that I now need to ‘manage’ the depression and avoid triggers that could lead me into another depressive episode.

Every now and then I dabble in the world of DENIAL, and had been doing so since the end of my last depressive episode in June. It looks something like this: ‘Oh I am so glad that my depression is gone, what a terrible and silly way to live my life…blah, blah, blah’. And then BAM you have a bad day with some dark thoughts and you can literally see the downward spiral into despair.

Yesterday was such a day. Now, I know what you’re thinking, it’s just a bad day, we all have them and you are right we do. And today? Today was much, much better, which means that the potential ‘crash’ was averted. But it also makes me realize how vulnerable I am to that state of being, and how desperately I don’t want to go there again. Which brings me (finally) to the reason that I am sharing all of this: to create awareness… awareness for myself, and maybe for others who might be going through something similar.  I am hoping that through awareness I can create positive change...

And then there's this guy:

Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.

- Mohandas K. Gandhi

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming…

Have a lovely day!

1 comment:

  1. Awww, thank you so much for sharing that. As you probably have figured out by now, I'm a big believer in the power of owning your feelings... no matter how ugly or uncomfortable they may be. I used to wonder if I was depressed, or neurotic, or verging on OCD, but over the years I've decided that trying to figure out if I was "normal" or not just wasn't a useful exercise. I grew up watching the Brady Bunch and some part of me still thinks that picture perfect is "normal." A few years ago I read Maureen McCormick's autobiography (the actress who played Marcia Brady) and that certainly put a new face on "normal!"

    Anyhow - a dear friend of mine has struggled with depression for many years. I think she's past the worst of it now, but it's still something she deals with on a daily basis. Since I seem to view the world through song, here is a song she wrote about her experience of coming to terms with her depression and beginning to address it: