So about my attitude over the past few months…
One late September morning in 2008 I was golfing with my girlfriends Ess and Moe. It was a perfect fall day, breezy and warm, and we had taken the day off to golf, shop, lunch, and get pedicures. I had just gotten engaged a couple of weeks before in Vegas. I should have been relaxed, and full of joy, and happy. But I was none of the above. I remember trying to find my ball in the fairway and realizing that in my interactions with the little girls I felt like I was watching from the outside. While I searched for wedding dresses, something I’d been dreaming about for years, I was detached. When I had conversations with my girlfriends I felt like they were looking at me with pity and irritation. After a year of enduring constant stress and conflict I had lost the ability to “snap out of it.” From that fairway I called my therapist, the one my then fiance and I had been seeing for nearly nine months, and I hesitantly left her a voicemail admitting that I thought I might be suffering from depression.
Depression runs in my family. I have several girlfriends who have suffered from depression and/or anxiety in some shape or form. But I’d never. I’d made it 32 years. 32 years filled with drama, and challenge, and heartache. 32 years of break-ups, restraining orders, dating a fake NFL player (a story for another post!), 100 pounds gained, 100 pounds lost, career highs, and career lows. 32 years that were completely free of depression and anxiety. But as I made my way through the nine holes we were playing that morning I knew it had come my way. It was hard to admit to myself, let alone to others, and certainly difficult to discuss with my soon-to-be-husband who, at the time, wasn’t so sure about depression.
Several days later I met with my MD, took a short quiz about my state of mind, and left with a diagnosis of mild depression and a prescription for antidepressants. I felt both relieved and defeated. Though I knew it would take a few weeks to kick-in I was so hopeful to feel better. More like myself. Yet…part of me felt so ashamed to not be able to just figure it out. I kept planning to wake up one day with new resolve and a better attitude but that day never came. And I felt weak for “giving up” and taking meds.
I took them for two years and two months. They made it possible for me to go through even more heartache, stress, and conflict than I’d ever experienced before. I had the capacity to get through it, to reason, to overlook things that didn’t matter. The meds allowed me, underneath all of the sh-t with which we were dealing, to be me.
In the late fall of 2010 things were turning around. I felt great. I had never intended to stay on meds for the long haul. I had simply hoped to use them, in a time when I truly needed them, and then to go back to my life without them. In January of 2010 I took my last dose and never looked back.
I started 2012 with such hope, joy, and excitement. We were ready to take this year by storm and have a blast. After all, we’d saved our marriage, we loved our home, we loved our jobs, and we were finally standing on solid ground in all aspects of our lives. I started this blog and found a love and a passion that I never knew was rooted so firmly in my being. We were ready for anything!
But…it turns out we weren’t. As the winter turned to spring, and the spring turned to summer, I found myself less and less able to “snap out of it.” Through work stress, continued stress with external factors, financial woes (i.e. taxes), a very fast weight loss, big life decisions being made, family members falling ill, and more…I’ve found myself feeling less like myself and more overwhelmed and incapable.
It wasn’t until my husband pointed out that I was always tired, about a month ago, that it even crossed my mind. I scoffed and said “wait, do you think I’m depressed?” It had never occurred to me. I mean, yes it had been a rough few months for me, but that’s life. Right? But then I really started to think about it…every few days…until this past week.
I was thinking about a lunch date I’d had with a girlfriend the week before. And it felt like she’d been talking to me with pity and irritation. Almost looking at her watch hoping to get away from me. Now…let’s be clear…I’m SURE that’s not how it actually was. But that’s how it felt. Uh-oh. I reflected on how I’ve been reacting, and behaving, and perceiving my interactions with others. It wasn’t pretty. I haven’t been processing things in the ways I normally do. My capacity to let things go that just don’t matter? Gone. My always present optimism and hope? Surprisingly absent. My wit and humor? Well…let’s just say they’ve been diminished at best. But most importantly, my joy, and happiness? They’ve been incredibly faded. Tragically so.
Okay brain. Stupid brain. Fool me once? Shame on you. Fool me twice? Well…that’s simply not going to happen.
I got in to see my doc quickly. The minute it became clear that I may be once again suffering from depression I was not about to wait. I took the quiz and she agreed that meds might be a good choice. She told me that people who suffer from depression once have a 50% chance of suffering again. Those who suffer twice have a 90% chance of suffering again. People? I am not a fan of these odds!
I find myself again in a spot in which I feel relieved and defeated. I’m relieved to know that in a few weeks I may start to feel like myself again. I’m relieved to know that my feelings of not being good enough over the past few months may not be accurate so much as they are my mind playing tricks on me. But I feel deflated because…COME ON…again??? Seriously?
That said I’m hopeful. Hopeful that the next few weeks will bring back my ability to live as happily as I know I deserve to. So many good things are happening around me and I think it’s about time I start to enjoy all of it.
TODAY: What if I accept that my poor attitude, feelings of being less than, and rough patches over the past several months are not something that I can simply “snap out of?” What if I accept that depression, mild as it may be, is something with which I suffer? And that it’s nothing to be ashamed of or feel defeated about.