The Stages of Depression

What goes up must come down. So what happens after the down part? Because I crashed, down, way down – burned out, fell into a depression, whatever you want to call it. Forced work leave and forced to take meds. I have to admit, the work leave was a blessing because crying on the bathroom floor at the office everyday is not very professional. Nor is it very efficient and productive. Not to mention what it does for ego, confidence, reputation and mascara. And white knuckling it for almost 2 hours in traffic each way to work, crying and expending all your energy not to smash your car even though every ounce in your body wants to just to end the frustration…Not good. Not good at all.

Stage one. Diagnosis: Major depression and anxiety

For the first few weeks, I was relieved. In denial, but I couldn’t care less. They could call it what they want as long as I could stay in bed and shut out the world. My only responsibility was to get better. And I am very proud of myself because I did just that. I took my medication

depressioneye

even though I was petrified (I have never really taken anything except Advil and birth control pills; anti-depressants are a whole other ballgame.) I forced myself to eat even when I wasn’t hungry. I did nothing and I didn’t care.  I stayed in my bubble. All my energy was spent on taking care of myself and my kids. And I waited to feel human again. To be able to function like my old self – a stranger to me at this time.

After about 5 weeks, as I was told, the meds kicked in and the black cloud lifted. I felt a bit more energetic and hopeful, the crying and anxiet

y stopped (it helps when you remove yourself from the outside world and all stressful situations) and the numbness kicked in which is better but not great – I hate it actually. I wanted to start doing things, take back control of my life, organizing closets, trying new recipes, starting a blog, going for walks, learning yoga… but it seemed that just thinking about it was enough to drive me back to bed. Where I would go because that was all I really wanted to do, and I would lie there and think about all the things I should be doing, want to be doing, wish I was doing, yet could not physically or mentally do. Everyday I tried to do at least one or two things – yoga became my saviour because it got me out of bed and then gave me enough energy to at least be productive for a few hours before calling it quits for the day.

So now I am human for about 3-4 hours, and then the guilt kicks in, because I am useless after that. The brain and body shut down. I still cannot function like an adult. Which just drags me down again. So I go back to bed because I truly feel like that is what I need to do to get better – not push too hard – but I feel guilty. And I wake up each morning and the first hour or two are spent trying to motivate myself to do something, but all I want to do is stay in bed and turn my brain off. It’s a non-stop rollercoaster ride, moments of up, moments of down, up and down, up and down, which is exhausting and confusing and frustrating and not at all where I want to be – or thought I would be after 2 1/2 months. My occupational therapist says it is very normal – I am in recovery.

Stage 2. Recovery, Pressure and Guilt

imagesI haven’t slept much these last few days, anxiety filled sleeps, worried about recovery, going back to work, never finding myselfagain, crashing again, staying this way if I stay on the meds: foggy, unconcentrated, klutzy, tired, unmotivated, lackadaisical, unemotional, numb, lazy. Not too many positives in there. Although I am proud of myself for at least being a great mom and loving girlfriend, better daughter and friend. 

I guess that is where my energy is going. Will I ever have enough to be more than this? I feel pressured with all the doctors and therapists pushing me. But I know they are only trying to help. Well honestly, I think the insurance company is pressuring everyone because they don’t want to keep paying me. But that’s life in a bureaucratic society. At least I am getting help.

Today is a good day so far. It is 2 pm and I have not needed a nap. That being said, I only got out of bed at 11 and didn’t do much  except eat, put on the same clothes as yesterday, pack a bag, and drive up to the eastern townships for my son’s hockey tournament… and write this – which feels amazing. And as I write this, I am ready for a nap and will do that next. I have an hour before I have to feed my son and get him to his game. Dig deep mommy.

Perhaps (hopefully) today is good because my new meds are kicking in – the doctor added a pill to give me energy. Perhaps that is also why I have had crappy sleeps since I started – I take them as early as possible in the morning so they wear off. How do you measure if the added energy is worth sleepless nights? I try not to worry and take it one day, one hour at a time. What else can I do? I have lost all control. My depression has taken over, and now I need to focus on battling it and overcoming it. This is where I am now as I sit and write this.

Stage 3: Remission

The ultimate goal. I will let you know when I get there. Notice I didn’t say if. I have people helping me, and I will listen to them and do my best.

And now, I need to rest so I can be a good, healthy mommy.

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