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The Loony Bin

July 29, 2012

The ugly face of depression

This summer has been tough.  Usually, it is my best time for blogging.  This year, not so much.  I still haven’t planned our annual camping trip and now I realize that I’m running out of time.  We are dashing into August and have so much planned as a family that I don’t think it’s going to happen.  The pop-up has been sitting out  in the drive-way now for 2 solid months.  It’s been … ugly for me.

I’ve been doing everything that I know to do to keep myself up and feeling good.  It’s only been moderately successful.  How has this happened?  I’ve asked myself this exact question all summer.  Despite gardening, finishing the fort, sitting in the sun, working on my serenity garden, and even venturing out on the paddle boat, many of my afternoons have been spent cuddled up in my warm bed.  Even so, it has meant little extra rest or sleep.  I’ve felt too distressed to sleep or relax.

Irony alert:  My kids have spent a lot of time away at camp.  I was accepted into graduate school and start in the Fall…I’m even registered.  Instead of enjoying my time and getting ready for the school semester to start, I’ve gained 20 pounds.  Ugh.

What does this kind of depression feel like?  Like red hot waves surging through my brain.  Like my brain is stuck in a vice being squeezed tighter every day.  I can’t think … can’t focus … can’t motivate myself to get through the day.  Each morning starts out lately with me getting my balance and figuring out where thing are at:  Do I feel ok?  I think I do …. Phew … I can get up and have coffee.  Do I still feel good?  … and so it goes.  I think I do this internal soul-searching because the depression has been so incredibly frightening to me.  I’ve sat in that dark space in my soul wondering if I can go on or if I want to.  I don’t shower or brush my teeth when I feel so badly … and I live off of a diet of McDonalds and Magnum ice cream … which means I have gained 20 pounds. sigh.

Fortunately, it comes in waves, which means there is reprieve …. but I guess the most annoying feature to others when I’m struggling is that I don’t answer my cell phone.  I can go more than a week without picking up.  I don’t get that many phone calls, so it’s not a big deal.  I have two or three close friends who call me, my mom and my dad … that’s pretty much it.  I’m not a big phone talker anyway and when I do talk on the phone I like to enjoy it and not spend it feeling badly. My close friends know to give me time and I’ll be back to my bouncy self.

I didn’t even know that my mom realized that I was struggling with depression until she and I went to Amanda’s final festival concert and she told me that she was on to me. She asked me to answer my phone, tell her I need to hear a funy joke and that she would at least know I’m ok.  I was shocked that she even knew this was an issue.  The reason that I don’t want to answer my phone is that I don’t want to have to explain why I’m feeling down though and I know.

So … last week I didn’t pick up my phone as much as usual. Actually me not picking up the phone is one of my friends’ biggest pet peeves.  I don’t answer if I’m with the kids, talking to someone else, gardening, etc.  I also don’t text if I’m sitting with another person.  I just find it rude.

I talked to one of my closest friends and we had a fun conversation that made me feel really good … and I talked to my mom about our new dog … but that was it.  My dad called a few times, but it wasn’t ever a good time for me to answer.  He called when I was sitting in the dentists chair having my tooth that cracked in half (boohoo) fixed, and he called when I was in the middle of a doctor’s appointment.  I know he called when I was working outside in the garden too, but I didn’t discover that until I was back in the house.

Friday night Thomas and I had a date night.  We were sitting in a restaurant when I got this message:

I’m going to stop calling.  It’s too frustrating.  When YOU want to talk just call.  FYI

Uh huh.  So I get the frustration of not being able to reach someone, but it really rubbed me the wrong way.  There is never consideration on his end that I have 5 children and don’t have many opportunities to talk during the day, that I don’t carry my phone on my hip with me every second, or that there might be a reason for me to not answer.  I definitely wouldn’t talk with him about the fact that I was struggling with depression.

I responsed:

Did you even consider that this was a bad week for me?  I have my struggles too … not just you.  I invited you to our family vacation in August last weekand said I would let you know when we book it.  I’ve had a terrible week.  Compassion would have worked better.  FYI.

I don’t even know why I responded this way.  It’s just that I get tired of it always being about him … which it was:

I’m not a mind reader.  Whenever you can fit me just call.  No Problem.  My surgery went well.  No more texting for awhile.

No, he’s not a mind-reader, but when I don’t hear from someone for awhile, I usually consider that they are busy or have other things going on in their lives.  I tend to start from a place of “hey, I haven’t heard from you in awhile.  Is everything ok?”  But I digress.  No more texting for awhile? Let’s not have contact with each other because I’m mad that you didn’t know I had surgery, or that you didn’t pick up your phone this week and assume it’s because you’re just ignoring me instead of having your own busy life?

I overreacted.  Yes, I did.  Why?  Because I’m tired of it.  I’m 42 years old and I feel like he still expects me to be the obedient child.  Where is the adult give and take?  I frequently ask him about his surgeries, my stepmom and her children and how he is doing.  I rarely if ever get the same consideration.

1.  I didn’t know you had surgery. 2 I have been very sick with the flu (because telling him I’ve been so depressed that I can barely think many days wouldn’t be acceptable) and 3. Perhaps your proctologist could work on pulling your head out of your ass.

Yes, I went there.  So did he:

Fuck you.

I felt like going there too, but I didn’t:

Oh grow up

And that was it.  I’ve continued to do what I usually do … send pics of the kdis when there is something new … and I’ll continue to do so… but my guess is that the man who has ended a relationship with his sister and one of his two brothers, who continues to blame my mom for everything, who has ceremoniously ended his relationship with both me and my brother once already this year … has possibly cut ties for real this time.

Time will tell.

Today is a good day though.  I feel good and I hope it sticks around for awhile.

  1. I’m sorry things are going poorly for you. I too have been struggling with depression, and I’ve lost a lot of friends because of it. I also alienate myself – perhaps unintentionally – during major episodes, and my lifestyle becomes most unhealthy. Good luck, k? I’ll be thinking of you.
    BarefootMedStudent recently posted..Book Tour and Giveaway: Praise of Motherhood My Profile

    Comment by BarefootMedStudent — August 8, 2012 @ 5:12 pm
  2. Thanks for your reply and the support. Depression is a really tough thing to deal with … I’ve lost friends too. I feel like I’m finally at a place where I might be able to begin building myself up. I am wishing the best for you too.


    Comment by ~me~ — August 10, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

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