Tuesday, May 10, 2011

In which I climb back onto my soapbox

If you were to ask your neighbor, right now, if s/he has ever dealt with depression, I would bet the answer would be yes. And I would also guess that there are A LOT of mommy bloggers out there who also struggle with depression. Blogging can help in dealing with it, so we kinda all gather online for a Cyber-space support group. And that is OK.

There are different types of depression of course. And without getting all technical, mostly because I don’t know all the big words, I can sum it up like this:

There’s the kind that is temporary and the kind that sticks around, unwanted, for seemingly forever. Clinical, They call it. And “They” are pretty important so I am sure they know about it.

Clinical depression doesn’t go away. It isn’t something a person can “snap-out” of, exercise away, or treat with herbal supplements. It is serious. Some cases are worse than others. Some people require trained Psychiatrists, multiple strong medicines and extreme ECT treatments just to manage. Others can pop a little pill prescribed by their family doctor and no one would ever know the struggles they face. And of course there are a plethora of  “in-betweens.”

The common thread is that ALL varieties of clinical depression need treatment.

All of them. Period.

I am not talking about  boosting exercise, strengthening faith, Sam-E, St. Johns Wort or fish oil treatments. Those all WILL help, sometimes significantly. But no, I am talking about REAL – get a prescription – treatment.

And, lets just get one more thing straight. Depression is genetic. The things I struggle with will be passed on to my children in some form. The sooner I accept it, the sooner I can help them.

Also, and probably most importantly, depression (or any other mental illness for that matter) IS NOT a sin!!

Depression is a horrible beast that respects no person. It can bear it’s ugly head to men or women. Skinny or round. It can blister the soul of a saint or of a sinner. It can chain the child or the parent. It’s ugly. It’s awful. And it’s real.

I have discussed this topic before and it is no secret, to those who know me, I have battled this disease for many years. A few years ago, a friend of mine, upon finding out that I struggle with depression, said, “I never would have guessed, you seem so happy.”

The thing is, depression actually isn’t all crying and long faces. In fact, for me, it is very little of that.  Everyone responds to it differently and the symptoms vary from person to person. The best way to generalize it is a feeling that something “just isn’t right.”

It can manifest in some of the following ways: fatigue, a distracted mind, forgetfulness, frustration, anger, all-consuming activities, excessive behaviors such as shopping or over-eating, hopelessness. And so many more.

And, with depression, a person could be feeling ALL OF THE ABOVE and still put a mask on for other people. I know for me there were times when people would ask how I was and, on the outside I would say with a smile, “Great.” But on the inside I would think, “you really have no idea how much I want to curl up in a corner right now.” I would guess that 95% of the people who I interacted with really had no idea of my personal turmoil until I told them.

That is how my depression worked.

Now, just because I have it doesn’t mean, in any way, shape or form, that I am going to succumb to it. I go through periods, like the last couple years, where I struggle more with it. But there is no way I am going to give in to this beast. And if that means I have to take a little pill in the mornings so my family can have a descent mother, then so be it. It is a small price to pay. Thank goodness the Good Lord has seen fit to inspire men and women in the field of medicine to make this battle a little easier.

And, to answer the question, "why do you keep talking about this?" I would answer, "Because somebody needs to."

So there it is. Another speech from my soapbox.


Beth said...

and you probably just helped another person come to grips with the disease... Kathy...keep battling!

Erin said...

Keep being brave Kathy! You are such an amazing person and it means so much to those around you that you talk and share.

The Stanley Family said...

You are awesome Kathy!!! I have all the same problems with depression as you and then some. I guest blog on my friends blog http://fakingperfection.blogspot.com/ that is a support group for people with depression/ocd/anxiety disorders. If you ever want to guets blog let me know. <3 You!

Square Root of Family said...

This is a great post! Very well put!

Ginger said...

I found you on MMB... I completely understand EVERYTHING you just said. You said it perfectly. Depression IS genetic. I have it on my mother's and my father's side. I am so much like you with mine. I find myself talking (blogging) about it all the time because that is what I know. That is my experience. It helps me to write about it. I always say it's just like other diseases like diabetes or arthritis. It's something you have and you manage it and then you go on and live your life. It's not who I am, it's just something that I have and I manage it. Period. Thank you for verbalizing it so perfectly. :)