Monday, October 24, 2011

Depression

I've written a lot about mental health issues in this space, mostly related to PTSD.  But I've rarely mentioned depression, in a way I think because it's a tough issue to talk about.  After the fire, I wasn't really depressed.  I was overwhelmed.  I cried.  But I still was able to look at the world and see goodness.

A few days after the Bell's Palsy, when the doctor called with an abnormal test result, that's the first day I took antidepressants ever.  Honestly it wasn't even depression.  It was life, and I was so overwhelmed by the amount of really, really shitty things happening that I wanted a pill to take those events away.  They couldn't.  And as it turned out, I have a really bad reaction to the medication they prescribed.

Depression and anxiety seem to be associated with Lyme, and I definitely had my fair share (in addition to the anxiety caused by the fire, which was its own beast!).  There were many days I couldn't get off the floor (where I was trying to play with my son) and was worried about my ability to get through this illness, through the pain of the events that have bludgeoned my spirit (not to be hyperbolic).  As we treated Lyme, the depression seemed to subside, and I was able to see the sun again.  I still might not have been able to see the world in the same optimistic light as before the fire and the Lyme, but at least I could enjoy what was immediately present in my life.  I also stopped expecting bad things to happen.

Until now.

I don't know if it's pregnancy related or the fact that some of my neurologic issues are returning mid-way through this pregnancy, but I feel like the darkness has found me again.  It's hard to conceptualize depression; it's more than just a black cloud that follows you around.  Depression is a weight that settles into your heart and makes every thought, every action feel like the very last bicep curl after a long workout.  Depression drains you of energy and sucks joy out of even the most supposedly joyful moments.  And worse, depression makes you a narcissist, assuming that all actions and reactions are a result of something you've done.  All rationality disappears, and you are left with hurt, pain that only you can resolve and yet you are in a place where you are unable to care for even the most basic of needs, much less find your way through a dark and lonely tunnel.

I have 20 weeks left of this pregnancy.  While I wish I was one of those women who loved every minute of being pregnant, I do not.  I am sick.  And I am sick of being sick.  Most of the symptom flares I am unable to treat because the medications are not safe for my child.  I have twenty weeks until I can take the medicine I need, twenty weeks for my disease to once again get out of control, twenty weeks to start the arduous climb back toward health.  I want to look forward to holding my child for the first time, for those first moments of recognition.  Instead, I look forward to swallowing a blue pill, one that I hope will stabilize my health.

Sadly, I don't even know if this frustration is the cause or the result of depression.  Regardless, I am struggling to feel like there is happiness again in my future.  I am tired of the battle.  I am tired of feeling like the person life shits on when there is too much joy.  I'm tired of being the person who everyone has come to expect will be negative or lack enthusiasm.  Certainly there are worse life circumstances.  I know this.  But I still feel like I've lost some sort of life lottery.  And I'm just tired.

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