- Mental Health
Depression- And How It Affects Me
Sometimes it feels as if I am all alone
Depression And Me
Almost nobody knows that I suffer from depression. I keep it hidden - which I know makes it harder on me. I do take medication - but sometimes I feel as if it is not enough.
Things have been tough for me for quite awhile. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship for over twenty years. I went through a traumatic, never ending divorce that was dragged out for years. Just a few years later, I remarried a wonderful man - who had many issues of his own. I went through many issues at work with new principals and coworkers who seemed bent on making me miserable.
An Unhappy Marriage
I didn't think about depression. I just figured my moods were the by-products of my life and I would just have to live with it. So I tried. There were nights - night after night for months, maybe years - that I couldn't sleep. I was awake all through the night and then got up the next morning to go into work - and all the hassles that existed there - working with children who had many issues of their own, then go home to a destructive relationship with a man who tried to make himself feel better by making me feel worse. I would try to keep my children away from all the abuse and so often felt I had to leave the house with them - which cost money that I didn't have to spare. I worried about keeping them fed and housed because their father didn't work and refused to help around the house because it was "women's work."
I lived in fear and I felt that I couldn't leave this relationship because his family had money and I would lose my children if I left him. I was threatened with that every time I even thought about leaving.
A Break From Abuse
When my children were in their late teens, I decided to take the leap. I left him and filed for divorce. He counter sued, of course. I gave in to all of his concessions because I just wanted to be done with the relationship. Every time I gave in, he found something else to fight me for. In the end, I was left without the home I had paid for, most of the furnishings, dishes, etc. and only had the clothes and memorabilia I had managed to sneak out of the house. (Luckily, my children had graduated high school by this time - I didn't have to worry about losing them.) And then he filed a restraining order against me so I could not even come near the home any more. I also had to pay him nearly a quarter of my salary for the next four years because he was a "stay at home" dad.
A New Start
A little over a year after that fiasco I met my current husband. He was an awesome, intelligent, caring man that had two wonderful children. Two years later we were married. During that two years I learned a lot about the man. As wonderful as he was (and is) he had his own demons. He too had been married for over twenty years. The difference was that he loved his former wife and thought he had a near perfect marriage right up to the day she filed for divorce. My now husband had trouble dealing with that and without getting into it, went into a pit of hell. I watched him as he fell into that pit, unable to stop him.
Sinking To An All Time Low
It was during that time that I went to my doctor who did some tests and found out that I was somehow losing blood from my body. A few days later, I found out that I had tumors on my uterus - inside and outside. It was determined that I should have a hysterectomy. When the surgery was over, I was told they had found hundred of small tumors, and one that was, according to my surgeon, "bigger than most babies I've delivered." Fortunately, they were benign.
A few months later, my depression became the worst it had ever been. I sunk to a low that I had never been to. I didn't want to get up to go to work - even though throughout all of this I still loved my job. I wanted to stay hidden under a blanket on the couch. I didn't want to talk to anyone or go anywhere. And I cried about everything - my husband could have said "I love you" and I would have sobbed uncontrollably. I thought everyone was against me and didn't want to be around me. I never thought of suicide, but I often thought of leaving and never coming back...finding somewhere that I could truly be alone and away from the world. I felt everyone would be better off without me
A New Chance At A "Normal" Life
This lasted for a long time - I'm not even sure how long. It took going to the doctor to get my hormone medication straightened out to finally get it out in the open. While at the doctor's office, I broke down into tears over a simple question and I couldn't stop crying. In between sobs, my doctor asked how long this had been going on. I told him that I didn't know, but it had been awhile.
After talking to him for about an hour and him asking me lots of questions, he diagnosed me with depression and started me on medication. That was the beginning of me digging myself out of the hole. Things weren't immediately better, but I was on the road to getting better. I also found out that I had hypothyroidism - my thyroid was underactive - which also can cause symptoms of depression. I was put on medication for this, as well.
I have been taking medications for depression and hypothyroidism now for over two years. I take a sleeping pill to help me sleep.I have sought counseling. I am still not completely "better" but I can handle things much better than before. I sleep most nights, and wake up refreshed and ready to start a new day. I can put all the little stresses into perspective and deal with them one at a time. Of course, there are times - like today - that it all comes back. I want to hide away from everyone and cry uncontrollably. Just pull the blanket over my head and stay there. But my husband, my children, and now grandchildren, remind me each day that I have so much to be here for.
And I really don't want to hide, after all...