Sunday, September 1, 2013

the threat of depression rears it's ugly head

Okay, so those of you who know me - and I'm guessing many of you do who read this blog do - know that I struggle with depression. A couple years ago I had a serious bout of depression that lasted over a year that was in direct response to a physical ailment that I was struggling with. There was underlying grief from the death of my son while I was still pregnant, that had been festering for years - the physical condition was just the straw that broke the camel's back.

 The funny thing about depression is that if you've suffered with it long enough  - I have off and on for over 30 years - it becomes the answer to any out of the ordinary feelings or symptoms that come along.

Case in point - I've been exceptionally tired the last couple of days and all I want to do is stay in bed. Sounds reasonable right - I mean I've been staying up far too late reading the last few nights so it stands to reason that I would be tired. I think the appropriate response is to want to sleep more, but my conditioned brain automatically thinks -DEPRESSION! Am I depressed? No I don't think so - I think I'm just tired because I've been staying up too late, but any time I get really sleepy during the day I get paranoid that the depression is back.

Depression is a big dark scary place, but I've spend so much of my life depressed that it is almost comfortable or at least familiar. (btw as I write this the cat is snoring across the room and it's making me smile - so much for being depressed) It's been such a constant in my life that when I'm not depressed I look for it thinking something must be wrong, but it isn't. I'm happy and I'm allowed to be happy - depression does not have rule my life. I now, after many years of therapy, have the tools to fight it. If I want to and that's the crux of the matter, do I want to. Yes, I do - right now - will that change? I don't know, I hope not.

The last 3 years have been hell for our family, mostly because of my depression. Now the temptation for me would be to feel guilt about that, but I didn't get depressed purposely, so there is no guilt - anymore. There used to be - I admit that freely, but depression is an illness - one I didn't choose all those years ago and statistics show that the more often one has depressive episodes, the more likely one is to have more episodes. I have tools now to fight with  and I choose to fight for my right to happiness - and sadness too. I have the right to feel feelings in a healthy way and that is my goal in life. Another is be honest about my struggles so maybe others can learn from my experience.

I know my family appreciates all I've done over the last 3 years to get better and come back to them. I appreciate all they've done to support me and help me through that part of my life journey. We are a unit and the last three years has shown me how important we all are to each other.

Once again all I can say is that I am truly blessed.

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