May is mental health awareness month. We pray for many in our circles who struggle with mental health issues that they would know the perfect peace of God.
We pray this story of one will help bring awareness to those who are struggling, as depression and causes come in many forms.
“This is not easy to write. And it’s long so I hope you will stick with me. People don’t want to hear about it, they don’t know what to do about it. But you or someone you love need to know it is real and what it’s like to live with it. “It” is major depressive disorder.
What I’m going to tell you about today is severe, debilitating depression.
I have experienced chronic depression since my late teens. As most of you are aware, there are good and bad days/weeks/months. This is the 2nd time in my life I have hit the floor for an extended period of time.
Have you heard of a high functioning alcoholic? They can get to work and do their job but afterwards they are blotto drunk most nights and weekends.
I don’t know if there’s such a term as a high functioning depressive but that’s what I’m calling it. If you were to go by or call the desk, you probably wouldn’t think there’s anything wrong with me. I’ve become really good at hiding it. Having the structure of the work day is an immense help in that.
Once I pass that time clock in the evening, the darkness sets in. I don’t have anywhere to go but home. COVID has only made it worse. There’s no shopping, no going out to eat, no museums or arts to check out. Making decisions over simple things like ‘where can I stop to pick up supper’ or ‘do I get gas tonight or tomorrow night’ are impossible to make. It becomes overwhelming so I go home and do nothing until the only choice left is to take care of it
There’s a commercial on tv for Rexulti. They show a woman with her friends, obviously not having a good time like they are. For me, that’s what it feels like on a good day. Although I laugh and joke around, I feel nothing. Most of the time I’d rather be home by myself because it’s mentally painful to watch others enjoying life.
Thankfully I don’t have any ideations of hurting myself. I just don’t want to be here anymore. When I see a young person so ill or hear of a fatal car accident, I ask God why he doesn’t take me instead of someone who was loved and needed.
It took not wanting to see my grandchildren to get me to realize that it was really bad again. I am getting the help that I need and it is slowly getting better. To the point that I think I need to share my experiences. I believe part of the cause is heredity.
But, there are 2 parts to this story. Today I got validation that the 5 concussions I’ve had over my lifetime indeed play a role in my diagnosis.
Suffice it to say, I’ve never been graceful. A horse, a bike, a toboggan, a motorcycle, and a divot in the sidewalk were all contributing factors to the falls causing concussions. Each time I ‘recovered’ and nothing was ever thought about it again.
A few years ago I started seeing articles about athletes and the long term effects of a concussion. That’s when I started asking my providers if there could be something to it. Only to be told I appear to be fine so no worries. It felt like being in a Charlie Brown scene.
So frustrating that a jock can have 1 concussion and the world comes to an end. Yet nothing to see here when it’s a clumsy girl who suffered 5.
This spring I got a referral to a psychologist who actually heard me. FINALLY someone listened to me and told me there was something that could be done to help. Except there was no availability within CCH and the only other option was to go out of network. Cha-ching!
I was able to maintain for quite some time after that. But a few months ago, like a clock, things started going downhill again. Every year starting in September my mood drops. Thirty eight years ago this past Saturday, my 23 year old sister was killed by a drunk driver. She had a 6 week old baby. I can’t believe I haven’t gotten over that after all these years.
At any rate, a couple weeks ago I had an appointment w/my PCP. I told her what was going on and she said she’d reach out to the psychologist again. Such a blessing that now there was an opening to be seen by Occupational Therapy.
I had my first appointment last week, today my second for testing. At the end of the hour, the therapist had me in happy tears when she told me that the concussions definitely were a contributing factor to so many things I couldn’t explain. Thank you God for sending an angel with wonderfully great news.
This isn’t a cure. Probably not even a miracle. But there are things that can be done to get me to a better place.
Don’t ever give up. It’s taken many years and a good dose of stubbornness to get me this far. If the good Lord’s willing and the creek don’t rise, I am just starting the journey to many years of better days.
Your poster child for Major Depressive Disorder,