Friday, July 4, 2014

A Dark and Looming Cloud

The expression, "This is so depressing,"is commonly used but for someone like me who has depression, that is a careless use of the word. True depression goes much deeper than feeling sad one day. I am about to get raw and give a big glimpse into my mind because I am hoping that somebody somewhere may feel the same way and then be pushed into getting proper help.

For me, I don't just wake up depressed one day. It builds up like a storm on the horizon, and there is always a dark cloud just waiting to rain on my parade. I may start out feeling a little bit tired and decide not to get out of bed. I may blow up at something small that a mentally healthy person would take in stride. I start out feeling blah and every single day it gets just a little worse until one day, I stop getting out of bed, I stop showering, I overeat to try and stuff the emotions down, I snap at the people I care the most and isolate myself from everyone, I blame myself for everything that goes wrong in my life, I cry myself to sleep, I sleep all day and all night, I become that permissive parent with J because I just don't want to deal with him anymore. I start to look in the mirror and see a shell of a person with empty eyes. Behind those eyes, is the hurt that I try to hide as hard as I can. It gets worse and worse until one day I start to feel like a burden to everyone in my life. J starts to throw massive tantrums because my mood is affecting him, and he's crying out for a little positive attention. I ask my husband to get up with J every single morning because I just can't. I sit around crying all the time, even in front of my child. When things get stressful (e.g. money becomes tight or I get bad news), I spiral downward even more. J doesn't understand why his mommy won't play with him anymore and feels neglected.

Eventually, it all gets to be too much and I start to think that everyone in my life would be better off if I could just disappear. I pray to God that he will take me in my sleep and start to fantasize about the ways that I can disappear so that I can burdening everyone in my life. I tell myself that J would be so much better off without me because I am a horrible mother. I can no longer concentrate and don't focus well when I drive. I write suicide notes in my head and I get dangerous to myself. I purposely park on dangerous roads and cross the street, hoping that a car will hit me; if it looks like an accident, my husband can move on and nobody will be angry with me. J can move on and someday be the best person that he can be since I am holding him back.

When it comes down to it, I loved everyone in my life except for myself; and you know what they can't truly love anyone until you love yourself. I actually loathed myself to the core; I was weak, over-emotional, a bitch, a terrible person, a bad mother, a horrible daughter, a horrible daughter-in-law, a horrible wife, a failure of a person, and so on. Anything bad that you can think of, I felt that I was. I may have pasted a smile on my face but inside, I was slowly shriveling away.

I would be in a room full of people and the dark cloud was always looming. I would wonder why I was there, and how the people put up with me. When meaningless comments were made about small things, in my mind those miniscule comments became bullets aimed at me. For example, someone could say something like, "My son has always been on the skinny side" while watching my J play. The story I heard was, "Oh my God. That kid is fat. That kid's mom is fat. Jaime is a horrible mother and she is ruining her child." Was that what the person may have meant? Absolutely not. But for a person with depression, your mind tells you a different story.

One day, I realized that I was hurting J and I could not continue to do that. I recognized that these feelings were not normal after a text message to my sister that was a cry for help, she implored me to call my doctor I informed her that I was too tired of living and that nobody needs me anymore. I told my husband the same exact thing and he called our church's Senior Pastor. The pastor asked me to meet with her so I did, and I sat in her office and cried. I confessed that I was a mistake and that I should not be alive.

 That same day after meeting with the Pastor, I called the mental health number listed on my insurance card and asked for numbers for therapists. I also made an appointment with my MD and she started me on an anti-depressant called Pristiq. The therapist recommended therapy once a week and has been working on coping methods with me so that when life gets too stressful, my mind doesn't tell me the wrong story that sets me back again. My MD manages my medication and she and my therapist have a signed release from me that they may communicate regarding my treatment. Within a couple of weeks, the cloud slowly started to lift and I could see some light, and in about six weeks, I was able to get out of bed again. I get up with J in the morning now and I pick him up from school. I no longer daydream about dying, and I actually play with J. I kiss my husband and tell him I love him, and I reach out to the people who I isolated myself when the depression set in.

My therapist says that my depression is currently in remission but will never truly be gone. I have told my story so that it may help somebody somewhere. Please, if you ever feel the way that I have felt, tell somebody and if you know somebody who acts the way that I did, call for help. It can be a matter of life and death.

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