Depression – More Honest Confessions

I awoke on Wednesday so depressed and oppressed it was hard to function. Just asking my daughter some tough questions through a text message brought forth sobs of despair. When her answers were positive I moved my mind to others that I am concerned about.
I felt like a lion was just about to pounce on me and devour me. I had this foreboding intuition that the worst possible news was about to be dropped on me. These are two feelings I’ve had many times throughout this year. I keep several of my handouts from my counseling through what is now known as Colorado Mind Springs Health. I read through them and apply their wisdom. They help in a variety of ways.
I spoke with my other daughter later in the day and told her I was battling hard with depression. As we were talking both of my daughters suggested the same reason for my depression to be resurfacing. But what I heard in her voice made me realize she was concerned about me committing suicide. So I spoke up, I told her I am depressed. It is all I can do to not sob hysterically, but I am not suicidal. While she was relieved for this information I realized that as I try to help promote how to help people like me who fight mental illness this needs to be addressed.
We all like to have checklists and mental health does not allow for a checklist to work as well as I would like it to. But I am going to attempt to address in here what transpired through this breakdown of stability in my life in hopes of it helping others.
I woke up from a dream that clearly recalled was one of my children is desperate trouble, using drugs, sleeping around, etc and one of my other children encouraging her to hide it from me and not let me be involved. Mind you my children are all grown and living their own successful lives. And I told myself this while the foreboding feelings were overtaking me. There is a possibility this dream was about other young people in my life I care about but who ever the dream was about I could not find any logical reason to worry. I asked the hard questions of my daughter who lives out-of-state. She assured me she is not doing those things.
The impending doom feeling kept getting stronger. I had to get to work and felt I didn’t have time to go through my worksheets. My husband gave me a hug. You know those hugs. The ones that say I love you, I know it is a really bad day and I am here hugs. The hug brought on the sobbing. I gathered together my frayed edges and left for work.
A dear friend told me that she felt the lion ready to pounce was depression. When I thought about the bible verse, beware Satan is lurking like a lion waiting to devour you, I agreed with her. So I began praying that Satan leave, praying for God’s protection of my mind and my family. I know when I fall into depression it is as hard on the family as it is me.
Then sometime after talking to my 2nd daughter I gave myself permission to be sad. I decided instead of trying to hide it or be ashamed of it I will embrace it. It is a real emotion. I did not feel I had a ‘reason’ to be sad. I’ve kept this quiet and secretive because I feel like I am crazy. I’ve been told I am crazy. So I don’t talk about it. Today that is changing- I am talking about it. My counselor assured me that I am NOT crazy. So maybe if you can read this and make some sense of it you can help someone else with what I have experienced.
Today is Saturday and I no longer feel overwhelming sad. The lion is not waiting to pounce. I gave myself permission to be sad and to cry. In the past I have stuffed all emotions that I could not explain. They were still there and at times would all burst out at the same time which made me feel completely out of control of my life. I would have these foreboding intuitions that I would ask people I love if they are okay until they are SICK and TIRED of hearing my voice. I see it in their eyes, I hear it in their texts- I am fine, Mom- you are the only crazy one. So I do my best to stuff that impending doom feeling until I finally just crumble to being suicidal.
I can’t trust my emotions, I can’t trust my intuitions, NO ONE understands, Everyone thinks I am crazy- I must be crazy. They would be better off without me bothering them all the time. They will do better without me. And the thoughts go on and on until planning suicide gives me an outlet for all these stuffed emotions and intuitions. Because I plan it my head, there is NO arguing. There is NO one telling me it’s wrong. There is NO one telling me its crazy. It is whole conversations that I have not recognized as only my participation in. By the time I have been ready to put my plan into action my mind has usually turned it into a fight between you and I. I will finally have MY way. I am done doing it your way and letting you win. YOU just think I am crazy. I will show you I am not crazy! I planned this and did it without your assistance in any way!
Does that sound crazy? Yes, even to me it does! But these are some of the real thoughts/beliefs I’ve overcome in the past.
So here is a checklist that might help you?!?
Your loved one says they feel depressed/sad.
DO NOT ASK WHY! Ask- How can I help?
You are probably going to get an answer like, there’s nothing you can do. I will handle it.
ASK!! Are you thinking about suicide? Push for an answer. Don’t be nullified with abstract non answers to this question. If your loved one is evasive, please err on the side of caution and assume the answer is yes.
Most people I have dealt with that say NO I am not suicidal are ‘safe’ and we can all help them deal with the depression/sadness.
Encourage talking about it with anyone and everyone! At the end of my last delivery run on Wednesday, the sweet kind lady that checks in our boxes at the airport asked how I was. I was honest. I did not say, fine. I said I’ve been battling with depression all day and managed somehow not to start crying right there. She struggled with depression and said when it starts in for her she starts taking more B vitamins! This has been helpful for me in the past and I stopped and bought me some new B1 vitamins. But what is more important here is that her and I talked about it. She didn’t ignore it, or tell me not to feel that way. She said I understand, I struggle with it to and here is what I do. The acceptance helped me.
This week what I discovered is just let myself be sad! I didn’t have a reason for it and that is okay. I am no longer feeling that overwhelming sadness. The foreboding doom feeling has left too. Will it return? More than likely the answer is yes. Yes I will have to annoy my loved ones with those questions- are you okay? Is your life falling apart? I will hopefully always be wrong with feelings of doom and gloom.
Feel free to comment or ask questions! I am not an expert, but I have lots of experience and will answer anything I am able to!

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End the Shame of Mental Illness

I have suffered with mental illness most of my adult life. I currently am doing quite well and it is because of some GREAT counseling help that I received.
I personally refused professional help or even seeking professional help for decades because I believed I was crazy. In my ‘schema’ of being crazy I was afraid that I would be put into a rubber room and never released. So I fought thru the depression, mood swings alone. Or so I thought. In reality my family walked thru every one of those minutes, days, weeks, months with me trying to fix everything so I would be okay. My children, my husband and my Savior.
I wish I could have known that counseling and taking anti-depressants would be so easy and healing.
I wish I could have been given a sneak peak at the reality of mental illness counseling, instead of living with false fears.
So I am including some of the worksheets that my counselor utilized throughout about 18 months of us meeting. I took anti-depressants for the first 6 months and then finished the last 12 months without them. We started meeting once a week and as I became more stable the appointments graduated to once a month. Then one time Jenna said how would you feel if we entered into the termination phase of counseling? I said I don’t know- I thought I was doing pretty good-you want to kill me? She knew I was joking and explained that we would wrap up the loose ends and make sure I had the tools I needed for life without counseling. It goes without saying I can always go back to counseling, but so far I have not needed to. I have had some rough spots- I will not sugar coat or hide that at times I feel that depression is barely surpressed and ready to spring up and take over again. But I sit down with the journal book I made and recall the tools and tricks that Jenna taught me. So far I have not spiraled downward out of control since I ‘graduated’ from mental illness counseling.
My hope is that my struggle helps someone else struggle less. My hope is that anyone thinking of suicide calls for help. People really do want to help! They don’t want to make it worse. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline ‘1-800-273-TALK (8255)’
You can talk to your personal doctor. You can talk to your family-they already know.

You can call, email, Facebook or text me. I am not a counselor. I can give you honest answers about my depression and honest input of how counseling helped me, as well as what I did not like about it. It was not a bed of roses. It was tough to face my fears but it was easier than what I was torturing myself with.
Too many people hide because of their mental illness. They are ashamed and don’t want anyone else to know. Help me end the shame! I was never ashamed of catching the flu. I was not at fault for mental illness. No it is not contagious, but you can pass it to your children. My mother had depression and it was the only way I knew to live.
I also recognize that I passed a lot of the same issues onto my daughters. I have shared these worksheets with each of them. I have discussed this over and over in hopes of them grasping the good and throwing out the bad influences.

Depressionworksheets

Depressionworksheets1

The last page is too dark to read except the business card of my counselor so the following is what the dark part states:
What is Depression?
1. Severe despondency and dejection, typically felt over a period of time and accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy.
2. The act of lowering something or pressing something down.

What is Clinical Depression or Major Depressive Disorder:
A condition of mental disturbance characterized by depression to a greater degree than seems warranted by the external circumstances, typically with lack of energy and difficulty in maintaining concentration or interest in life.

What are the SIGNS?
-Exhibiting a very low mood, or inability to experience pleasure in activities formally enjoyed.
-Overwhelmed with thoughts of worthlessness, inappropriate guilt, helplessness, hopelessness or self-hatred.
-Poor concentration and poor memory.
-Withdraw from social situations and activities.
-Lack of sex drive
-Inability to get out of bed, or suffering from insomnia
-In some cases delusion, or hallucinations.
-Thoughts of death or suicide.
How long does depression last?
-The median duration is 23 weeks. Although if untreated it may go on longer.
Do I have to take anti-depressants?
-NO! Though they can jumpstart your recovery, there are many different ways to treat your depression! Including but not limited to counseling and or therapy!!

If you know someone suffering from depression the only thing you can do is offer tools, time and encouragement. Help by finding local therapists, and only suggest these things in an endearing, compassionate, positive way, depression is not a joke, it is not something to ignore, it is an imbalance that must be addressed and corrected to ensure everyone can enjoy life to the fullest!

Suicide

On July 20th the world lost another sweet soul to suicide. He was an amazing brother, friend, son and young man. The emotional pain he must have felt many people will never understand. Losing this bright young person has brought up so many emotions, not only for me but for his family that loved him dearly. Twenty five years ago the world lost my brother to suicide. It is an occurrence that never goes away, although the pain isn’t as bad now.
I’ve also felt so much emotional pain that I have considered suicide. Some people said I was bi-polar, others maniac depressive and even others call it mental illness. I’ve been thru a variety of counselors and I am blessed that currently I do not fall victim to the terrible thoughts that lead me on a downward spiral.

I’ve had so many thoughts that I want to share with my loved ones and his loved ones. Suicide leaves everyone feeling guilty. People think they haven’t done enough or were kind enough. I am here to tell you my perspective. My dear loved ones- I was the one who wasn’t enough. I never felt good enough to be your mother, wife, sister or friend.
I’ve felt not good enough at most things in my life. That is why I have worked so much. It is the one thing I knew I did well. I fell miserably short as a wife, mother, sister, daughter and friend to everyone in my life. I beat myself up with my shortcomings over and over. I saw glimpses of other lives that seemed ‘perfect’ and knew how broken I was. Comparison is never helpful. We tend to compare our own personal worst blunders to someone’s best successes and that is unrealistic.
At my lowest times I want each of you to know- I didn’t feel ‘good enough’ to be in your life. It was never that you didn’t show me love. It was never that I wanted to hurt you. It was that I felt a complete and total failure and did not want to drag you down with me. I did know how much you loved me. I also knew how much I didn’t deserve that love. I felt as though I was a ball and chain holding you back from flying. I love you with all my heart, soul, body and mind. But all the love in the world doesn’t fix depression. It doesn’t even scratch the surface of it.
It is not your fault that we have lost loved ones to suicide. You are mourning your brother today, I am mourning my brother and yours. Life has dealt us a hand of cards I wish we could discard. I wish that we could stack the deck and have our brothers back in our lives.
That is me being selfish. I honestly believe that our brothers are in heaven, pain free and peaceful. They are now part of our cloud of witnesses that cheer us on through life. I should not ever want them to live here and suffer this world again.
I believe we are all spiritual beings here on earth for a human adventure. I miss my brother more than words can ever describe. He was the sweetest, kindest person when he was not drinking. Sadly alcohol changed him into an ugly, hateful person. He was my defender and believed in me like very few people ever have. Of course he also tormented me endlessly just like most big brothers! More than once I remember being tickled until I was crying. What I wouldn’t give for one of those torture sessions today!
Let’s help fight suicide. Suicide Hot Line 1-800-273-8255 If you know someone who struggles with depression be that annoying friend that nags them into successful counseling. I am grateful that my husband did this for me.
Remember – Be Kinder than necessary EVERY one is fighting some kind of battle. Your kindness could help change a life AND the world!