Tuesday, October 18, 2011

De De De...Depression

"Where are you?"  I've been hearing that for a while now from my peeps on the internet and now that I'm on my way back, I'll tell you where I've been.  I've been depressed.  (HA HA! OMG, that's such a funny topic for a humor blog!) Well, it's true. In the interest of being an over-sharer with a blog, I'll tell you all about it. I debated writing about this at all because it's about the most personal thing about me, my biggest vulnerability and all, and frankly, that's nobody's beeswax.  But maybe someone out there needs a depression buddy and if so: HEY! WE CAN BE DEPRESSED TOGETHER! ;o) !!!  LOL!  Just kidding.  I'm starting to feel better so don't bring me down with your sob stories.  Just kidding!  Just kidding.  (seriously, kidding... boy, kidding looks like a funny word after you write it a bunch:  kidding kidding kidding, kidding kidding....)

I've had bouts of depression since college, but I could deal with it and had devised methods of pulling myself out of it, but it got out of control after my second baby was born.  I got major post-partum depression but didn't tell my doctor because in my crazy, depressed brain I thought if she had any idea how I was really feeling she would call social services and they'd take my kids away.  I didn't want to go on anti-depressants because I thought that was a cop-out and if I was any kind of woman I could beat it on my own.  Then one day I misplaced the checkbook and reacted (and felt) like I had lost a child.  During this same time period I also tried to cook popcorn on the stove "old-school" and it burned and ruined the pan and I felt like a total loser-failure worthless piece of shit.  Yeah, that's right, because I screwed up popcorn.

Then one day I brought my little baby out for a walk in the woods with me on a nice day because I thought that might help lift my spirits.  While I was out there I kept having self-loathing thoughts and feeling guilty that my beautiful new baby was going to have to grow up with an insane mother and I had a split second thought that she would be better off if I left her in the woods.  Someone would find her and she'd be fine.  She'd be better than fine.  A part of me recognized the insanity and screamed to me to GET SOME HELP, CRAZY!  I talked to my doctor and told her that I had been feeling sad and tired and worthless etc etc. and she gave me a depression screening.  According to the test I was clinically depressed and she said it was totally treatable and she didn't once suggest that maybe I should not have custody of children.  She put me on Prozac.  About three weeks later the darkness lifted.  To say I felt better is a total understatement.  It was like night and day.

I've had people ask me what it feels like to be depressed.  It's hard to explain to someone who has never experienced it.  It's not a mood, it's an ever-present smothering darkness. Here are some of my personal symptoms:

being terrified (constant terrifying "what if" thoughts with feelings of terror totally out of sync with the situation)
feeling incredible guilt for no reason
feeling worthless
feeling like I am a drag on friends and family
feeling like a prima donna because I'm preoccupied with how I'm feeling from minute to minute and trying to find some way to make myself feel better.  Doesn't leave much room for thinking of anyone else.
feeling selfish
feeling stupid
having physical pain: heaviness in my chest, dull leg/back/headache
self-loathing - constantly sick to death of myself and my stupid brain.
feeling irritating and irritated by almost everything
hopeless - this is it, I'm never going to feel better.
helpless - there is no cure, I might as well accept this as my life.
feeling rage
loss of control
feeling mentally weak
Am tired all the time but can't sleep for more than an hour or two at a time at night.  Could sleep all day.
bored with everything
Tears squirting out of my eyes unprovoked at inopportune moments.

The stupid thing about depression is that when you are in the middle of it you don't recognize you are in the middle of it.  You think you can get better if you would just decide to get better.  Since I have been dealing with this for so long, I have become more self-aware and can tell when the depression is rearing its ugly head again.  It usually starts with fear.  I think things like, "what if Kira gets run over by the school bus" or "what if Sam gets hit by a car"  (lots of automobile themed fears).  When I register these thoughts I immediately try to think if maybe I've not been taking my Prozac regularly and most times, sure enough, I've not been the best about taking the meds.  Then, after I get back on and stay on, I feel better again.

I don't want to be on medication.  Who does?  When I first moved to Duluth I was off the Prozac.  I think, if I remember correctly, that after I went on them the first time and got better I thought, "OMG, I'm better.  I don't need medication anymore," and I went off them, and I suppose the stress of moving triggered a new wave of depression, and I then had to find a new doctor. My new (not current, thankfully) doctor insisted that if I wanted to continue with my anti-depressants, I had to have a consultation with a therapist.  I was about as open to that as a clinically depressed young mom can be and I went only because I had no choice.  I didn't see the point because NOTHING WAS WRONG.  I didn't need to talk anything out.  There was no real stress in my life.  My depression was completely biological/chemical/physiological, it was literally in my head.  The guy I went to was a total tool.  He tried so hard to be hippie/liberal/new age.  He had a little fountain on a table and he scotch taped some little plastic turtles to the rim.  He was wearing wool socks with Birkenstocks.  To work.  This was the person I was supposed to turn my mental health over to.  Ugh.  I got through the consultation, and because of the depression screening he gave me and the unstoppable weeping that seemed to make him incredibly uncomfortable for someone who should be trained to deal with people having mental breakdowns, he concurred with the G.P. that I was in fact, depressed. Um, no duh.

Since then, through painful trial and error of going on and off medication, trying less and more medication, I have learned that I will probably forever have post-partum depression.  Pregnancy pushed my already depression-prone brain over the edge.  That's depressing in itself, but what can you do?  Accept it, medicate the shit out of it, and move on, that's what.

If you are experiencing depression you are not alone.  There are LOTS of people that have depression (which kind of makes me feel not-so-spesh) If you have depression, take the advice I gave to myself way back when Kira was a baby, "Get some help,Crazy!"  Tell someone. Do something about it because you don't have to live like that.  Hang in there!

(and when I say "Hang in there" I mean it like this:

Awwwww.... cute!

Not like this:


Btw, I am in no way qualified to give any professional advice or be a spokesperson for depression.)


  1. Oh my dear friend, you are not alone here. Take care of you!

  2. Hugs to you, Sarah. I too have to take medication for depression. Hanging in there with you!

  3. What bothers me the most about depression is that some people don't understand it because they can't "see" it. If it isn't something tangible, they are clueless. I struggled with depression for a long time after my first child was born and it got worse because instead of being able to treat it I ended up pregnant again when the first was 3 months old. What made it worse yet was having ignorant in-laws who knew nothing about depression and had no desire to learn more. I am glad now I've been without any medications for 2 years and have even had another baby and didn't not have a relapse. (Your introverted blog reader)

  4. yeah, whenever i go off my SSRIs i sink back into darkness. i call it "the cloak of darkness". it sucks. i figure i'll just take the damn pills. better than killing myself. also, remember - you're a writer this only adds to the insanity. :)

  5. Ya, depression sucks. When Sid was a baby and we were at Amy's cabin alone I was terrified of going in the water with her I kept imagining that something was going to happen to me and she would be left floating around the lake in her little ladybug floaty...I would burst out into tears at the thought of it. When we went in the water my feet never left the ladder. Same goes with Mills...constant scenarios.

    BTW you are a drag and irritating:) See you tomorrow...I still have to pack (damn back to back Modern Family downloads)

  6. I'm so sorry to hear you've been dealing with this for so long, but I'm glad you shared. If this venue lends itself to nothing else, you can find kindred spirits.

    A well meaning family member once told me I should "just have a drink". I tried that for awhile too. Lexapro saved my sanity.

  7. I don't know what I'd do without my "happy pills".
    They take the edge off!

    Without them I'd be a balled up, sleeping, not eating mess.......I was so skinny......ummmmm

  8. OMG, why does my blog attract so many nutballs...

    Just kidding! I LOVE that my blog attracts so many nutballs! Thank you so much to all of your for commenting and sharing your thoughts. I really appreciate it so much.

    Why are we all so depressed? Do you think it is something in the environment? Depression seems to be an epidemic and for a long time I thought it could be chalked up to shitty attitutes, but since when can anyone transcend their own biology with positive thinking? Nobody. Someone involved in science and not crippled by depression needs to research the causes.

  9. i love my friends and family, but i've had times where their "well-meaning" advice did nothing more than make me more depressed. "go to the gym more!" "more fruits and vegetables!" "have you tried going gluten-free?" the worst part is the beating you give yourself, thinking that you can somehow get rid of the black cloud just by trying really, really hard.

    ssri's might not be ideal, but i love them and they make me feel more like myself. and i love anyone else who thinks that taking the occasional pill is better than never wanting to get out of bed. ssri's forever! depressives unite! we're here, we're down, and we'll probably stick around. :-)


I would love your comments.