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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Depression


WARNING:  This is an extremely sensitive and personal topic to me, but I feel compelled to share it anyway.  Please be judicious with your comments.

I struggle with depression.  Some days are better than others; some weeks are better than others; some months are better than others; some years are better than others.  I think you get the point.  Most of the time my depression doesn't bother me too much.  It certainly almost never affects my daytime life.  (Who can let it with four little ones to take care of?)  For whatever reason quite recently it has become very difficult to bear, particularly in the evening/nighttime hours.  I find myself wasting hours on end on the computer just so I don't have to face the dark and cold loneliness.  (Lest any of you jump to the wrong conclusions: my relationship with my husband is wonderful.  This is just my perspective of my spirit/soul.)


I've had depression to some degree or another my entire memorable life with a pretty severe peak my last couple of years in high school and on through the first few of my adult life, when I said, "To Hell with the world!" and didn't care what I did or who I hurt and I lived the wild life.  It was miserable and did nothing to alleviate the emptiness I felt.  There was even a time at the end of my high school career that I was actually somewhat suicidal.  Meaning I had thoughts often of death, but never enough to make any attempts, lest I fail and be crippled or something worse.  I'm way too much of a coward to ever actually attempt to take my own life.  I would NEVER do that.  At the time I just employed minor self-mutilation to distract me from the emotional pain I felt.  I've matured from that too, believe me.  I have so much more self-control now over my depression as an adult than I did as a teen.

This most recent bout of depression seemed to strike around July of last year (2011).  And has gone through some pretty fantastic ups and downs since setting in, as can be expected with depression. I finished last year and started this year (2012) with quite an upswing and it felt so good!  Alas, it was extremely short-lived, as I'd fallen to the deepest level since this new bout began.  It is a constant struggle.  Most days are fine, sort of.  I've found that the computer lately has really become a vice for me.  It is so much easier to lose myself in the online world than to deal with my own real world some days.  Some days are completely wasted and nothing productive happens.  Considering I home educate our children, this weighs heavily on my conscience when these days happen.  (Which really doesn't help matters at all!)

I am not a bad person.  I have struggles.  Mine may not look like yours.  Yours may not look like mine.  I am weak.  I am fallible.  I am not perfect, much as I'd like to convince everyone otherwise.  So, there you have it.  I am struggling through it right now.  I'm feeling much better than I was a week ago (hence the post), but I know I need to come higher still.  I'm still pretty low.  I have begun to question some things deeply - more so than I've ever done in my life.  And that frightens me a little (a lot!) too.

I have no one specific thing that I can say bugs me, but there are lots of things I could certainly complain about (who couldn't?), but no one "cause" for my depression.  Yes, some bad things happened to me when I was little.  Yes, more bad things happened to me as a teen.  Yes, bad things happened to me as a young adult.  Yes, I made some terrible choices.  But I can't point my finger at any one thing and say it causes my depression.  Depression eludes me.  I don't understand it at all!  I have a fantastic life!  I am so richly blessed in every area.  Sure, bad things have happened, but every single person who comes to this earth has bad things happen to him.

So, without going into all the gory details that's where I've been lately, in case you've wondered.  I'm naturally a bit reclusive, but if I seem extra hermit-y lately, please don't take offense.  I don't do well in the long, dark, cold winter months.  Those are the most challenging for me.

So what am I doing about it?  I cry to Luke when I need to.  Occasionally I'll cry to one of you too, if you catch me at the right time.  :O)  I'm trying to not get too wrapped up in the great world of the Internet.  I'm trying to set some boundaries.  My goals have changed for this particularly low time.  They are much more simple than they were at the beginning of the year: Get out of bed every day before noon.  Go to bed by three a.m.  Do some form of "formal" school with the kids each day.  Talk to my children (when I'm withdrawn, I don't want to be bothered) and husband.  Acknowledge each feeling as it comes.  Don't hide from "bad" feelings; acknowledge them and move on.  Look for a reason to smile, then do it - smile.  Smiling releases endorphins, you know.  Find one thing that I accomplished and celebrate it.  Doesn't sound like much, but like all things: "this too shall pass."

I know that I should have listed prayer and scriptures, especially during my dark days, but sometimes I really truly don't feel like it and I'm very angry with God.  I give myself permission to throw a tantrum and stomp my feet at him with my tongue sticking out and my ears plugged.  I know it's incredibly juvenile, but sometimes it happens.  When I get around to humbling myself again (which usually doesn't take too long) I feel so much better.  I repent of my immaturity.  The humility helps me to hear Him better.  Some of my best moments have been after a literal tantrum, fit-throwing, yelling, crying "prayer" with the Lord.  Maybe someday I'll grow up and I'll learn to trust Him better than I do now and I will be able to turn to Him during my darkest days and find the solace, peace and healing I desire.  I just have to grow up first.

So that's where I've been.  My amazing husband has been right beside me, holding my hand, falling asleep while I vent of all the injustices in life at 3:00 am.  ;o)  He's so incredible.  I'm so lucky to have him!  I love him so much!  I promise Honey, this will get better.  It always does.  Thanks for being patient with me while I work through these rough spots.


11 comments:

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    1. Oh, and I throw fits and stay in bed until noon also. ;)

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  2. Awesome! Glad to know I'm not alone in my two-year-old mentality! :O)

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  3. It sounds like you have adjusted fairly well to dealing with depression, as far as making realistic goals for that mind frame.

    Do not forget the great utility in positive thinking and using positive self-affirmation, meaning that you frequently tell yourself of your good qualities and gifts. It's a good idea to force yourself, as much as you can, to come up with at least one positive thought or positive self-affirmative statement with each negative thought. The idea is to have this eventually become a habit to counter the negative early on in a depressive episode to help minimize its length and severity.

    I think that it is also important to remember that depression is not always the fault of the depressed person. Of course, we all have times when our unhealthy patterns of thought and sometimes habitual negativity can bring on biological changes leading to some level of depression. However, depression often comes through biological factors unrelated to a person's attitude, decisions, etc., and is only combated with much difficulty. However, in either case, practicing your own personal therapy of positive psychology will aid in fighting the depression. Basically, start becoming a master of your thoughts as much as you can; this doesn't mean you won't have the feelings of darkness and despair, but it can help minimize it.

    I'm sorry you are struggling with this. Sorry about the novel. Stay strong. I love you.

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    1. Thanks Lynette! I like to think I do a great job at hiding it. :O) I've been "blessed with a cheerful countenance" and that helps - in public anyway. I do a pretty good job of not just pretending, but being happy and joyful when I'm out and about. It's just those loooong and endless nighttime hours that really get to me when I'm down. I've honestly considered looking into natural sleep aids to help during the darker days to just get to sleep so I can actually get up in the morning. I know that just getting out of bed at a somewhat decent hour can help me feel better about myself and encourage me to be more "productive" with my day. :O)

      I'm also trying to find something - anything - every day to be thankful for and looking for my tiny accomplishments to celebrate! I'm so tickled to have had two "productive" feel-good days in a row! :O) Maybe naming the elephant in the room has helped to alleviate the pressure from it being there a little. I hope I'm on an upward path now and that this will not be temporary, but very long-lasting. :O) I need some motivation to get the house ready before Mom and Dad Bahr get here next week!!! :O)

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  4. I'm right there with you. I throw some of the best temper tantrums.
    My biggest assist to "escape" my depression is to force myself to get to bed at a human hour. (I am normally night owl and depression amplifies it ten fold). I find that when I sleep in I lose the productive part of my day and that I can least listen to the Spirit in those early morning hours when I am still awake.
    Getting up and reading scriptures with Shaun helps too. We read during breakfast. I wouldn't do it for myself, but I will do it for him.
    Prayers and hugs, Shauna

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    1. I totally agree about the whole night owl-ness. :O) We've chatted pretty late on Facebook before! I know that just getting myself out of bed at a decent hour in the morning helps my attitude and productivity tremendously. It seems that if I "sleep in" then I feel guilty for sleeping and I feel that I am "lazy" which make me "be" lazy. An ugly cycle to be sure!

      Even when I've failed my own personal scripture study for the day, Luke ensures that we ALWAYS have our family "devotional" time, whether I feel like it or not. :O) I'm so grateful he does that for our family. I don't know if I'd have the strength like you to do it on my own during those dark days. You are such a good mom and an inspiration to me Shauna! :)

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  5. HOney, I am SOOO sorry! I am on SS Disability for over a decade because my depression/anxiety appears to be permanent despite treatment. There are days that all I do is move from the bed to the couch and then back to the bed. Before I was medicated, I would scratch myself mindlessly until I bled. I am addicted to energy drinks because my medication has sleepiness as a side effect. So I hug you!!!!

    Two things that have helped both Bryan and me tremendously - we had our vitamin D levels checked and they were low. We now both take 5,000 iu a day and I have a light therapy box. There's a HUGE difference! I also eat protein at every meal. Protein is necessary to build brain chemicals. If I start my day with eggs, steak, chicken or a protein shake, the rest of the day goes so much better.

    I am so sorry because I know how much you are probably beating yourself for not being "strong enough" to just turn your thoughts around and be different. If you need someone else to cry to when you are feeling broken, I'm pretty much online all the time, sitting here under my light therapy box and breastfeeding and toddler.

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    1. Alisa I know your journey has been something else! I'm so grateful that you've always been so open and honest about your struggles and triumphs. You have influenced me greatly in helping me to "give voice" to this part of me that I would much rather prefer to keep buried as deep as humanly possible. I'd much rather run from it and keep it a secret, but that's not working anymore and something needs to change. So, like or not world, here's my dirty laundry! :O)

      What a good idea bout the Vitamin D! I'd forgotten that Joy gave me a bottle of VitD drops that I should be using daily. I've never been tested, but I'm quite hermit-y by nature in the colder months as it is - I'm quite certain a daily dose of D would do me wonders! I can be closed up in the house for days on end and only leave for church some weeks (and some weeks I didn't even go to church).

      Protein is something I don't skimp on. However I find it difficult lately to eat at all before 11:00. We've been doing more of a brunch than breakfast lately. I'm trying to fix that back to normal though, but that requires an earlier bedtime which I'm working on, but still struggling with.

      I laughed right out at your last line! We are mirror images, only I don't have the light therapy box; I have a dark cinder block basement apartment that sucks the life and light out of everything! Thank you!!! :)

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  6. Hi,you don't know me. I found this post through Faith's facebook, she liked it or commented on it and it showed on the ticker thing.....I like to find out how other people deal with their depression, so it caught my interest.

    My depression is very similar to yours. I'm okay with not leaving the house.....for weeks. My husband has issues with this, so I'm kind of jealous that your husband talks with you about your depression. My husband is awesome too, in other ways, like not complaining when I haven't showered in a week because my success for the day is simply getting out of bed and taking our kindergartener to school. I have a desire to homeschool, but I know I haven't mastered myself and my depression to do so.

    Sorry, I'm rambling. I really just wanted to hop on her and say, thank you for writing this. I can relate. Especially to your "I'm naturally a bit reclusive, but if I seem extra hermit-y lately, please don't take offense. I don't do well in the long, dark, cold winter months. Those are the most challenging for me." It was totally like I wrote that myself.....

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  7. AbigailDawn, welcome to my blog. :o) I'm pleased to "meet" you. Faith is a pretty awesome woman!

    I have to admit, sometimes I really stink at the homeschool thing. I *try* to just be sure we get the very simplest basics done on my bad days: math, reading, & writing. Some days I settle for just math getting done formally. Daddy reads to them every single night for bedtime and during family devotional the oldest gets to read at least one verse of scripture aloud to the family.

    When I feel better, school is a lot more fun and has much more variety in it! :O) I know that the most important things to happen in school is to learn how to read, write, and calculate. If a child can read, they can learn any subject through good books.

    I try to be gentle on myself when I'm not feeling well. I know we are much more productive when I'm on top of the world and I try to take advantage of that as much as possible! I think we make up a lot of ground when the happy days set in! It's my hope that it all averages out at the end of the year. I'll find out next year when we start state testing. :O)

    I have mixed feelings about closing this message. I want to say I'm glad you can relate, but that's not what I mean! :O) I'm not glad for anyone to suffer through depression, but it is good to know I am not alone. Know what I mean? :O) I wish you well in your journey! I hope you too, can find peace and solace in your life.

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