This isn’t a post about fiber. It’s not a post about some cool thing I’ve been making. This is a post about me not making things.
From sometime in May to early August, I’ve been dealing with depression.
I wasn’t sure I wanted to write this post. The combination of strangers reading this blog and close friends and family who I may not have told about this is scary, and makes me feel vulnerable. But I think depression is too often skipped over, too often ignored or treated as a fit of the vapors and people should just work on feeling better and get over it. I wanted to talk about what I have experienced and am experiencing, and not to gloss over this. Please don’t leave comments about how sorry you are that I’ve been having a hard time. I’m not looking for sympathy. But the next time someone seems sad and tired and in pain, reach out and see if you can help. It’s a cliche, but I was lost and drowning, and I could not save myself.
In some ways, depression is nothing new for me. I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, which means I am literally addicted to sunlight. Every winter, when I get less sunlight, I get depressed. Every spring and summer, when I get more sunlight, I am happy and cheerful. When I was a teenager, and this hasn’t yet been diagnosed, it was pretty bad and scary. Really scary. In college, however, I got a lightbox. Lightboxes mimic sunlight, and so I use mine once a day from about October to April or so, and I’m fine. Only this spring, I got more depressed instead of less, and it was much, much worse than usual.
There were things going on in my life that were certainly enough to be depressed about, but I’ve dealt with hard things before. I couldn’t deal this time. Then, the hard things in my life got better or went away or resolved — and I still couldn’t deal.
I was crying on Himself, often and without warning or cause. I stopped sewing. I stopped knitting. I stopped reading new books, and only read familiar and comforting ones. I stopped folding my laundry. I stopped balancing my checkbook, or my credit card. I stopped making plans to see friends. I started waking up at night, and having a hard time going back to sleep. Obviously, I wasn’t keeping up with this blog. After the alarm went off each morning, I had a really hard time getting out of bed, and Himself started waking up with me (his alarm is set about an hour after mine) to make sure that I got dressed in time to catch the bus to work. And I cried. A lot. One morning I cried for three hours and couldn’t stop. Himself called my parents and my therapist and found a friend to take care of me for the day while he was at work, and all this before his alarm went off in the morning.
I told my therapist in early June, who referred me to her clinic’s psychiatrist. He couldn’t see me until late July. I told my PCP, who referred me to her clinic’s psychiatric department. Apparently, all of the interns graduated, and they couldn’t take new patients until late July when they got the new batch of interns. Finally, late June, I called the naturopath I’ve been seeing since I was four years old. She’s not covered by my insurance and in a different state, but when all else fails, I call her. She sent me one medication in a higher dose than I could get over the counter, told me to go buy two supplements at the local Whole Foods and take them daily, and call her back in a month.
After two weeks or so, it was like my brain clicked back on.
I folded my laundry, and put it away. I stopped crying every day. I started knitting a sweater. I balanced my credit card — the receipts go from mid June to late July, a useful measure of the worst of it. I started sleeping better, mostly. I started sewing again (see the next post for what I started working on!). I had been living a nightmare inside my head, and the wonder of waking up was amazing.
Himself is slightly grumpy that I have started being bouncy and cheerful before 7am, but since he would far rather I am bouncy than depressed and crying before 7am, he mostly kisses me and rolls back over to try to sleep a little more. Or else smirks and enjoys the show. Which also get him kissed.
Life is not all back to normal. I am still taking supplements. I am paying extra attention to my moods, and reminding myself that while I am feeling better in general, I am still going have times when I am sad about things, and that’s just part of life. Himself watches my moods a little more carefully than he used to. My roommates are a little more wary of upsetting me.
But my brain is working again, and there’s is nothing I can say to convey how wonderful that is.
If you are depressed, seek help. Find a medical person who can get you help. Depression isn’t a personal failing, it’s isn’t something that can be fixed by thinking happy thoughts. It is real, and scary, and deserves time and attention and care. It doesn’t have to be treated with Prozac or lithium or Celexa, although those are certainly valid options and I considered them pretty carefully. It doesn’t need to be suicidal depression to be worth paying attention to. But it’s treatable. There’s no reason to not get help.