For how open and frank I am, there is something I almost never discuss. My family members know, a very select of handful of friends, and several members of the greater Washington, DC medical community.
I suffer from depression.
But wait, you say, you are so funny and snarky and such! However could you be depressed?!
Yeah well, tears of a clown and such.
Right now I am in the midst of a major depressive episode. They hit me every six months or so and it is like being mowed over during the running of the bulls. They have gotten so bad that I am pretty sure my diagnosis is moving towards that of being clinically depressed. That means you are depressed all the time, not just when you hit what I call a wall. Something about this particular episode is different. I feel more despondent. I’ve barely left the house. I’m not interested in eating (which is usually my favorite contact sport). I just want to sleep, and that’s pretty much what I’ve been doing.
As you can imagine the effect on my life is staggering. The idea of work is paralyzingly exhausting to me. It is all I can do to get up with my kids and get them out the door in the morning. Showering and changing clothes regularly are pipe dreams.
No two people experience depression the same way. For me, I become completely hopeless. It’s like tomorrow doesn’t exist. I can’t adequately describe the exhaustion- it is bone crushing and comes out of nowhere. Take the most exhausted you have ever been, multiply it by 20, add in a gut-wrenching sadness that you can’t pin on anything in particular and you might have an idea of where I am now.
I have been on medication for five years now, ever since I had to pull my car over on my way to work because I couldn’t see through the hysterical tears I was crying. The medication controls things pretty well, with the exception of these crevasses every few months. I’ve been approaching and treating my depression as though it is these occasional episodes, but I’m realizing that it is more than that. I live with it daily, beating it back into the darkness from which it came, but every so often it wins.
I told my husband today that I’d rather have cancer. People understand cancer. You can cut it out, you can radiate it or kill it with chemicals. Even if you succumb to cancer people understand. I don’t feel understood. How can I when I don’t get it myself? I have also said that I feel like there is something in my brain. I wouldn’t be surprised if you cracked it open and there was a little alien in there, like in Men in Black (“Orion’s belt!”).
I don’t want to be this person. Depression keeps me from being the best version of myself. It robs me of patience. My brain works slower and words don’t come as easily. I don’t enjoy things that I normally would. And I get so tired so easily. It sucks when you have two kids under 4 who just want to run and play and climb all over you.
I’m working with a psychiatrist to try and figure this out. I am hopeful that some medication changes and perhaps talk therapy will give me the tools to cope better. I’ve also decided to be more open about my struggle because I know so many people who are fighting the same battle, and perhaps this will give comfort to them. Plus, I’m done being ashamed and embarrassed of this- I think it feeds the little alien and ultimately makes things worse.
Thanks for reading, for listening. I appreciate it more than you can know.
9 thoughts on “A Confession”
As far your medical condition goes, keep going my friend, hold on. It gets better and i know u will get thru this because i know you-you are strong and, maybe more importantly, you are opening up about it instead of isolating. I love u and whatever u need, whenever u need, i am here. I will hop in my car and drive down at the drop of a hat, p,ay with the kids and do your dishes. As far as your writing, keep it coming. Writing heals. I love you my friend…xoxo
I do not know you….but I send you love anyway. I think this is such an eloquent way to describe what depression can be like. I love the vision of the alien…very fitting. i sooooo get the fatigue issue. It does get better, even if it does not feel that way right at this very moment.
Siobhan, I know how you feel. I suffer from HORRIBLE anxiety, along with bouts of depression, and it is hard for people to understand- let alone acknowledge as a disease. Keep the faith…every hole has an exit!
You completely rock for posting this. It’s such a personal experience, depression. But it doesn’t have to stay within you. Sharing it is a great way to alleviate some of the pressure. You don’t have to do it alone, even though it feels like it sometimes.
Big hugs and kisses to you.
I had post-partum after Lulu. I tried to write about about it, but mostly I hid it. On bad days you just can’t remember what it feels like to be happy. It’s like being under a big, dark, wet blanket that blocks out light, oxygen…hope. And then the next day? You feel better, and can’t relate to Sad Weird Girl. But then the next day? Sad Weird GIrl is back. I know…. I’m a prize.
Siobhan, I’m so proud of you being so open about this. It’s such a huge step. You are such a rock star. One of my best friends is going through this. The first bout she dealt with was when she was very isolated in Seattle and she got through it eventually with therapy and probably medication. The second bout has really been tough on her – I’ve witnessed it first hand. She struggled for 2 years to get pregnant, had a terrible pregnancy, delivered really prematurely, had a rough go with the baby, suffered with post-partum which has now turned into full on depression. But the thing is – I am so proud of her. She is being SO much more open than I’ve EVER since her been about it. It totally helps. I think this is an amazing, awesome step you’ve taken to alleviate the pressure on yourself. Its too much to absorb. So just know I am impressed with you for sharing and really hope this helps take 5 lbs off the 50 lb load it sometimes feel to carry on your shoulders. 🙂 Hugs.
Thank you everyone for your kind and supportive comments. The encouragement I’ve received from this already has lifted my spirits. Thank you, thank you so much 🙂
My friend… I have been so caught up in my own depressin that I haven’t been paying enough attention to my friends. As usual, you have expressed your thoughts with clarity and elegance. I’m so proud of you for “coming out”. Depression feels so shameful and I am here to tell you that it’s not. You are such a beautiful, strong, super smart and witty woman. Hang in there. I love ya!
I understand. I wish I didn’t.