Sep 26, 2018
This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.
I usually have no issues sharing my story. At least in person, I don’t. Writing it down and then sending it off to maybe be shared with thousands of people I don’t know, people who I presume to be judging my words and my life, is very daunting. But, that is the way of depression; it takes your thoughts and twists them around on you.
So, maybe by sharing my story with all of you, I can help someone else out there, who is reading this, to say “hey, that is me, I have been there too,” and maybe you will share your story too.
My story started when I was 19. I had just started nursing school. I was the only one of my friends who didn’t go away for school. I lived at home, commuted half an hour each day and still worked part time at the drug store. Sure, I was tired, not eating much, a little melancholy, but I chalked that up to the stress of school, my friends being away and work. My parents assumed the same because I was good at hiding how tired I was, and exactly how much weight I had lost.
Disappointment is a huge side effect of depression
Sometime after Christmas, I knew something was not right. I went to my family doctor, and he put me on an anti-depressant. I wish I had listened to my body before then, but this was 20 years ago, depression and mental health were just not talked about then — it was even more hidden than it can still be today. I ended up having a total mental breakdown at work one Saturday, which lead to me overdosing. A quick thinking friend got me to the hospital, and I decided to start inpatient treatment. I was down to 86 pounds. I am 5’6. I will never forget the devastation on my parents face, especially my dad’s (I am a daddy’s girl, and proud of it). Disappointment is a huge side effect of depression, at least for me, disappointment in myself.
I have a poor memory of my time back then.
Being in the hospital was what put me on the right track. I was paired up with my psychiatrist, did some group therapy and started a med trial. Med trials for me have been an issue. MAOIs cause grand-mal seizures in me, for reasons we do not know, so I am only able to use SSRIs. I found the right one, and my life got back on track. I have a poor memory of my time back then. I lived at home, went back to school twice, the second time for my nursing degree. During my last year of nursing school, I was able to wean off of my antidepressants, after seven years. I met my husband, got a job at the hospital, got married and got pregnant quickly.
Now, the second part of my story. I was always prepared for post-partum depression. What I wasn’t prepared for was prenatal depression. I had two mental breakdowns in my first trimester. I had to stop working. Luckily, I was able to go back to my same psychiatrist. Once my second trimester started, I was back on anti-depressants, the only one that is proven okay for the fetus. When my son was born, post-partum was difficult. I had visions of throwing him across the room when he was fussy, shaking him — which I would never do. Then I would bawl my eyes out for even thinking that. People would always say “oh, new mothers always think that,” but they just don’t get it. If it weren’t for my husband, I can honestly say I wouldn’t be here today. I owe him my life.
I have tried so many meds I have lost track.
I ended up leaving the hospital and getting a job in the community, to have better hours for my son when he went to school. I loved it. I worked with palliative children. But, after a few years, I could feel the depression creeping back in. I had another breakdown. I can no longer work, I hold people’s lives in my hand and cannot concentrate. I am on disability. I am 41. I have no joy. I have no energy. I have tried so many meds I have lost track. I have done CBT. I am fatigued all the time. My eight-year-old son sees his mom napping a lot. But, I am still here, I am still fighting, even though some days it is a struggle. Yes, I do put a mask on, and smile to the outside world, but that is just one way I deal. How about you? What is your story?