Friday, July 9, 2010

Depression Sucks

I've battled depression for a number of years. Depression isn't something you wake up with one day or decide on. It's years in the making. Some would argue it's your outlook on life, at some point you stop looking for the positive. Maybe for some it's a single cataclysmic event or a series of them. I can't answer any of that. I've read lots of blogs...people dealing with serious, horrible issues, and their strength amazes me. I don't know if their writings are reflective of who they are or if they're just putting on the happy face. I know I'd like to think it's who they are, but I imagine their realities make their positivism something they must fight for daily.

Being in any kind of relationship with a depressive person must be difficult. To try to cheer up the uncheerable all the time would seem like banging your head against a wall. Sometimes I catch myself with my friends, realizing from an outside point of view what it must sound like. It's a sort of weird out-of-body experience, this awareness, but necessary. Healthy, I would say. Otherwise you could just bring down a whole bunch of people. The very people who care about you the most.

Being married to someone with depression...oh my the labrynth it becomes. In public we put on our happy's nobody's business anyway. My children don't need to see it either. They'd never understand, nor should they, the issues that brought me to where I am today, and their needs outweigh anything else. They need a parent who is mentally on and alert. But pushing back the demons all the time don't deal with the underlying issues either. And so we go to the self-help books, websites, the therapist or whatever else. As understanding as a spouse can be, it is taxing over time. That's not even including any issues or expectations they themselves bring to the table.

Now I'll insert my little tidbit of personal experience with anti-depressant drugs here. People believe they're an amazing cure all, but it doesn't exactly work that way. Can they be helpful? Yes. But understand they are non-formulary drugs. This means it will be an out-of-pocket expense every month. Nor are they cheap. I was on Cymbalta for quite awhile. But then it did prescription ran out and I didn't have enough money to fill it. These aren't drugs you can stop on a dime. The warning labels are real, folks. I am very thankful I had the adult mind to realize the thoughts coming into my brain were caused by the abrupt stoppage of medication. But the thoughts were real...and powerful. My husband was very upset when he found out I stopped taking the medication, but I never told him why, other than my 'side-effect' symptoms. For what? So he could feel like dog shit? So we could go through this again maybe next month, or a few months down the road? The reality is it all sounds good. But unless you have the resources to make the financial commitment, don't even start.

All my husband knows is that he wants me to be happy. So he does things, in hopes that it will magically work. He absorbs it like a personal failure when it doesn't. Now this isn't to say I don't appreciate him, because I do. Greatly! He's a loving, hard-working man with integrity, compassion and character. I don't doubt his love for me, and I love him. But it's not his job to make me happy. This is my problem, and I need the time and space to deal with the issues that brought me here today. But that's the kicker, isn't it? Time and space. Like all people, we have responsibilities and commitments. Children that require time and attention, or perhaps a job. The issues get pushed to the back burner because they have to be. One day, we think. But the reality is that day never comes. Life happens.

Today I was given the impossible ultimatum: get happy or my marriage is in jeopardy. I recognize his feelings, but really I don't even know how to begin to address this. How? If I could do it on my own, I would have by now. It seems like an impossible mountain to climb. I could put on the happy face, never say a word...a marriage in slow death. Hell, I don't even know if I could pull off that good of an acting job. I always thought that somewhere in life would be that place where I could be me, but it just doesn't seem that way.


Kristin said...

Oh honey...I don't even know what to say. I love you.

Kakunaa said...

I recently made the decision to go back onto SSRI's, and after a month, started to see results. And then I had to take them cold turkey to start my IVF cycle. And so, yes, the side effects of withdrawal are horrid. I should still be on them, but it's prenancy or sanity....With any luck I will get both one of these days. It's not easy, and I'm lucky because my insurance covers my meds. It has been a battle for me for YEARS. A lot of years. There is nothing that makes it better, and contrary to what many people have told me, you simply cannot "snap out of it". If someone tells you that, they don't actually understand. I get it. I desperately hope you are able to find a way to preserve your marriage. My husband has been scared for me more than once in recent months, and with good reason, but I am lucky...he will never go. We get each other through. I am sending positive thoughts your way. BIG HUGS from a fellow sufferer.

Jo said...

As someone who is married to someone who has endured several major depressive episodes, I feel for you and your hubby. I battle depression on a smaller scale than does my husband, so I know firsthand how devastating it can be. I also know how frustrating it is to try to navigate those murky waters without medication. I'm sending lots of bloggy love and hope that things even out in time. Hang in there, sweetie.

MAK-now said...

I'm so sorry you're going through this. It can't be easy to be faced with an ultimatum like this. I don't have any advice to offer but I will say that your eloquence really made your situation real for me. My T's & P's are with you.


Jen J said...

Popping over here from Kristin's blog....

I've struggled with depression on & off through most of my adult life. I feel incredibly fortunate that I have been able to keep it somewhat at bay & that it hasn't been as bad as it could be.

I don't know what to say to help, other than to please know that you're not alone. I'm sure that your husband feels utterly and completely helpless in his ability to help you as well.

I wish it was easier. I wish that there was a magic cure-all. I wish that more people understood that you can't just "snap out of it."

Sending good thoughts & prayers your way!

DaisyGal said...

here through Kristin and I just wanted to tell you that I'll be thinking of you, that on a much smaller scale I know how horrible it is to be depressed, to be sad beyond being capable of making yourself happy...
My hope is that you don't have to act, you don't have to lose more than you already have and that you know how worthy of happiness you truly are.

Another Dreamer said...

Here from Krisin's blog- I get where you're coming from. I've been off and on anti-depressants since I was in my pre-teens. I've been bounced from counselor to counselor, on and off meds because of financial reasons (and faced with bad withdraws and suicidal tendencies on the way off them). And it is definitely hard on family and friends when you're dealing with this.

I constantly worry that one day my husband will look at my depressive episodes, at my tantrums, and just leave me. I hate putting him through this, putting him through what I've been through- and when it gets bad, I get what help I can. I try to channel things better, I see about seeing a counselor again (but no more meds... not unless I get absolutely desperate. It's too hard going on them and off them, emotionally and socially.) But you do what you have to- there is no easy answer and lots of tough decisions. There's a lot of tension between you it sounds like, and perhaps misunderstanding and communication (ultimatums can't force someone who is mentally not well into suddenly being well... all that does is make it worse... I know.) Maybe opening the channels or communication, maybe couples counseling in addition to individual.

It's hard for families to watch you suffer with depression, and often they don't know how to show that properly or just don't get it. And it's hard to have that on top of the already present depression.

I wish I had words of wisdom or a magic wand to make this go away- but I don't. I can offer you many (*hugs*) though, and please take care of yourself right now. Lots of love your way.

JamericanSpice said...

Hi. I'm visiting from Kristin.

There are no easy answers and every day is different with each struggle. I'm glad that you can step back and look into yourself and try to make the best of whatever situation you dealing with.

I'm really sorry that you now have to deal with this added pressure of an ultimatum. I cannot even imagine how much harder it is.

I've suffered from bouts of depression here and there and almost was on zoloft, but didn't think it would help me and like you, we'd have to keep with the expense which especially now, I'd have to suffer through not having any.

You need support and I hope you'll be able to find this, especially now.


sara said...

Over from Kristin's blog..I don't have a lot of great advice...but I'm thinking of you. I do have a few friends who have been on medication for depression and then had to stop them for whatever reason and they said the side effects were horrible. I am so sorry - people shouldn't have to put up with that crap. I am thinking of you..

donna said...

I don't know enough about you to fully understand your situation, and I popped in here sort of by accident, but I've been where you are. My best advice is get back to your shrink and back on the drugs as soon as you can. A good shrink should have plenty of samples around to keep you going if you really can't afford the prescription.

There are a few relatively inexpensive natural alternatives to drugs that may help.

De-stress your life as much as possible -- call in all your angels, friends, everyone you know to take on as much of your burdens as they can.

Work on your diet -- drop the carbs, get as many Omega 3 fatty acids into your system as you can stand to eat (almonds, avocados, salmon, salmon and more salmon, fish oils, etc.) Eat as well as you can afford to eat.

Go buy these supplements:

Choline and Inositol
Fish oil (preferably salmon oil)
Folic acid
An extremely good multivitamin

Make sure you and your husband get a date night (at least time alone together) once a week.

Find someone to talk to, if you can't afford the shrink. Good friend, blog strangers, whoever. There are some very good forums out there that can help tremendously.

And above all, level with your husband. Don't spare his feelings. Honesty is the heart and soul of any relationship.

Yes, depression sucks. Yes, you can overcome it, but it takes a lot of work. It will not be simple, it will not all be pleasant, but it is doable.

I care. Write me if you need to. There ARE answers.

Frugality Mom said...

I know exactlly where you are coming from. I to deal with this on a daily basis and know what happens when finances don't add up and the medication isn't affordable. The one who doesn't have the depression sometimes has to have the patience of a saint. Your right no one is that good of an actor and your more miserable when you are being forced to be happy. I wish I was there to give you a hug and listen over a cup of tea. You can bend my ear anytime if you want to.

PFM said...

I can relate to so many things in this post. depression is a very difficult disease. It is misunderstood, hard to describe to others, and hard for those who suffer from it to balance the disease with life and getting better.

Emma said...

Another of Kristin's friends here. I know all about the 'happy face'. I am an expert after struggling with depression for two decades. I have no real advice to offer, but wanted to let you know that I care so much about what you are going through. Take care of yourself as best you can.

battynurse said...

So I'm impossibly behind on reading Kristin's blog which means that I'm just now coming across this.
I'm so sorry. I've dealt with depression most of my life and for so many years I didn't have the resources or anything else to take care of it. I remember feeling like I was alternating drowning and falling apart in millions of little pieces and I was so desperate for someone to help but yet couldn't ask for help or tell anyone how I was feeling. It was one of the most brutal times of my life.
I'm sorry you are dealing with the depression itself and also with the stress of how that is affecting your family and also feeling like you are unable to be yourself and feel your feelings. Sending you many many hugs and hoping that something will help somewhere.