Tag Archives: okay to not be okay

My Way Back From Depression

by Kathy, kissing the frog

Last week, I was out of my little white happy pill.  The pharmacist had to call my doctor, and I knew they would play phone tag all week.  I’ve been out of my Lexapro before, and I knew what was going to happen…

One morning, I wake up feeling sad for no apparent reason.  A sadness that has nothing to do with any tragedy I’ve experienced.  I’m never sure why I am feeling sad, but I sink into it.  It lays over the top of me for a day or so, until it worms its way deep into my heart and mind, festering, slowly turning into anger and despair over every. little. thing.

Anger at all the things I can’t seem to control.

And then it resides there, refusing to leave, affecting my every thought, every action.

My patience with my sons quickly wears thin.  I snap at the smallest mistake, yell over the tiniest indiscretions.  I take out my anger and feelings of worthlessness on them, innocent victims incapable of fighting back.  I scream and yell and say regrettable things that I know I will never be able to reverse.  

I yell at my four year old to ‘Hurry up!!’ We are late for preschool again.  We are always late.  Why can’t I ever be on time for anything?

The baby is getting into everything, and I yank him away making him cry.

With every angry reaction I think,  ‘I’m a horrible mother.  This is how they will remember me.’ This plunges me further into my pit of self-pity and negativity.  I can’t believe how quickly I have descended this time.

When Hubby asks me about my day, I don’t even want to talk or even let him look at me and see the sadness and anger in my eyes.  I am ashamed of myself.

My head is jumbled.  I can’t think.  I can’t remember anything.  I can’t organize my thoughts.

I haven’t written my weekly post for Her View From Home, and I can’t think what to write.  I write sentences that make no sense and then delete them in a frustrated and angry tirade.  I know I should write a new blog post, too.  But why should I?  No one reads it anyway.  Every e-mail I get from other blogs I subscribe to makes me angry and depressed.  Why does this blog have so many followers?  Why did everyone comment on this post when no one comments on mine?  It defeats me.  I think, ‘I am stupid to think that I can write, that I have talent, that I have anything to say that anyone wants to hear.’  I resign to just give up writing altogether, thinking only of the pieces that have been rejected.

‘I am a miserable failure at everything.’

I don’t return phone calls, I ignore e-mails and texts and messages on Facebook.  I don’t feel like subjecting anyone to my negativity.  At my son’s soccer game, I set up my chair far away from all the other parents.  I can’t be social.  My friend Katie walks by and asks how my day is going.  Near tears, I tell her, ‘Not good,’  and when she gives me a tight hug, I bristle.  I’m angry with myself for letting people see me like this.  Seeing me weak and ungraceful.

At the next soccer game of the day, my friend Heather sets up camp next to me and babbles happily in her enviable way.   I wonder if she can tell; does she know how I am feeling?  She has said that she needs to run every day.  It is her sanity.  What is my sanity?  Why is my sanity a pill?

At baseball games later that day, I get a rush of joy seeing my six year old make a good hit and run to first base.  My heart warms watching my four year old play for the first time, seeing his short legs run the bases and follow directions and laugh happily.

On Sunday, Hubby asks me to help plant annuals in the flower garden.  The hard work satisfies me for an afternoon.  I’m unsure whether it is because I am learning more about something I’ve always wanted to know or that Hubby and I are working side-by-side on a project, but it brings me temporary reprieve.

But later, I want to be alone with my thoughts, away from everyone.  I know this is dangerous.  I’ve been alone with my thoughts too many times in my life.  Alone with the thoughts that tell me I am worthless, I’m a bad mother and a terrible wife.  I can’t cook or write or take care of my house or maintain friendships.  I’ll never be able to run a race or write a book or complete a goal.  These were the same thoughts that plunged me into a scary darkness three times in my life.

Once in high school when I was so paralyzed by feelings of inadequacy that I stayed in my room wallowing in misery, sure that I was so far beneath everyone else that perhaps I shouldn’t even exist.

Next, after I graduated from college and couldn’t find a job.  I hated substitute teaching, so I stopped answering the phone at all.  I stopped getting dressed in the morning and stayed on the couch all day.

And when I desperately wanted a baby after I was married, and everyone but me seemed to be getting pregnant.  I stopped talking to my friends and avoided social situations.  I remember crying to Hubby, begging him to let me stay home from his high school fund raiser because we would be seated at the same table as someone who was pregnant, and I didn’t want to stare at her swollen belly all night.

Hubby would often come home from work, and finding me in tears and on the couch would say to me, “You sat home and thought all day, didn’t you?”

It feels like the cartoon image of the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other. It’s the classic battle between light and dark, which both reside in all of us.  But in someone who suffers from depression, the dark mostly wins.  That little devil tells me awful things about myself, and I believe him.

In my twenties, my doctor suggested I see a therapist.  I carried around the name and number for about a year before I threw it away.  It was just another thing that made me feel inadequate, that proved I was a failure.  I always thought it was something I had to live with.  It wasn’t that bad, was it?

But as I look back, it was.  It did paralyze me, it does keep me from doing the things I want to do – mainly loving my family and friends and pursuing my dreams.

Monday, I picked up the pills, and took two right away.  Slowly my head cleared, but I was still screaming at my sons and deleting every blog update from my e-mail.  I got back on my pattern of taking five milligrams every other day.  Any more makes me feel like a fuzzy-headed zombie; any less isn’t quite enough.

I have found time to use my treadmill a bit each day this week, and when I am tired, I have gone to bed before exhaustion hits.

This morning, I gave gentle reminders about backpacks and glasses and dressing for preschool and laughed when Baby E took the dirty clothes out of the washing machine.  I feel like my sanity is slowly returning and lightness and calm are winning once again over darkness and anger.  I feel like I am returning to the person I want to be, that I know I am in my heart and in my beautiful mind.

I have three, maybe four posts I want to write, and I am reading all my favorite blogs again for inspiration.  The words are forming themselves in my head, and I can’t type quickly enough.

I do hate that this sanity and clarity comes from a pill, but I thank God I can recognize this.  I thank God that I can recognize when my mind is jumbled and crazy and the darkness is winning.  I thank God for giving me a situation that forced the introduction of the medication.  I thank God that I will never be a Susan Smith-type mom who does the unthinkable to her children because she didn’t realize that she needed help or refused to seek it.

I vow to never let my prescription lapse again.  I vow to not care if society thinks I am weak or lazy for taking antidepressants.  I vow to never think that they are the only answer for these dark feelings.  I vow to take them for as long as I need them, for myself and for my family.

Most importantly, I vow to be honest about my use of them for other women who might think as I used to  – that they just have to deal with that devil character on their shoulder telling them awful things about themselves and believing it.  I vow to talk about it because if I had known anyone else felt this same way long ago, things might have been different.  Different as they are now.  Better.

All I have ever wanted was to be happy; but I have to fight for it, and I always will.  The more I fight, the more I learn.  The more I learn, the better I get.  If that means I need some medicinal assistance, then so be it. That little white pill and I will just keep knocking that devil right off my shoulder.

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Kathy is a former elementary school teacher who now stays home with her most important students, her four sons.  She began writing after she lost her oldest son at age six to cancer and as an outlet to dealing with another son’s ADHD and anxiety issues.  At her blog, kissing the frog, she writes about what really happens after all your dreams come true.  You can also find her weekly column at www.HerViewFromHome.com .

This post was originally published HERE and used with permission.

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My Oxygen Mask Project, Part 2

by Ilene, My Family’s Experience With Autism

I wrote a post for this page about how I need to figure out how to take some time for myself to do some of the little things that we all used to take for granted before becoming parents.  It’s been a few weeks since that post and so I thought I’d show my progress, or lack thereof.

You see, it’s February.  February, 2012 is proving to be all about parenting.  We have had sick kids.  We have had doctor’s visits (both sick and well-child visits).  We’re taking Ballerina to see the developmental specialist.  We are visiting schools to determine the ideal kindergarten placement for both Ballerina and Music Man.  Music Man needs to be potty trained so we are tackling that as well over President’s Day weekend (going hard-core – underwear all day [oooh, that's going to be a fun weekend]).  We have an IEP Meeting scheduled for Leap Day (February 29) for Ballerina to review her updated evaluations and determine her placement for the next school year.  After that, I can finally take a deep breath.

You see, that deep breath is already planned.  The meeting will be over before lunchtime on that day and my husband is attending that meeting with me.  This past weekend, he received an email containing a pretty good coupon from Cheeburger Cheeburger, a restaurant that we both really enjoy when we want to have a pretty unhealthy meal (that’s just us – you can get healthy there too).  So, that’s what we’re doing when the meeting is over.  We are either going to celebrate the success of getting the placement we desire and the improvements she has made per the updated evaluations or we are going to console each other with a big chocolate shake and the best onion rings I’ve ever tasted.  We may even get chili fries to go with it – forget about the healthier burger!!!!

Sometimes life gets in the way of taking some time for yourself.  You can’t control when your kids get sick and sometimes we have to schedule things for the times that we would like to take a moment and breathe.  It happens.  The important thing here is that we have to make sure we take the time when the moments present themselves.

And on February 29, that’s JUST what I plan to do!!!!!!

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My name is Ilene and I’m a happily married stay-at-home-mom to 3 wonderful children.  My eldest is a typically developing 6 year old first grader.  I also have a set of girl/boy twins who are recently turned 5, both diagnosed with Classic Autism.  My daughter has also been diagnosed with ADHD.

Life is not what I imagined it would be at this stage, but it’s still my life, and it’s good.  We have good days and we have bad days, just like everyone else.  I started blogging to cope with things not progressing the ways that I wanted them to go.  Sometimes I vent about problems.  Sometimes I share in a glorious moment.  Sometimes I try to educate others.  It really depends on what I feel like saying when I sit down at the computer to “blog”.  But I do promise that everything I write is honest and heartfelt, even though I may contradict myself from time to time as I learn new things.

I hope to share with others what we go through.  And I hope you enjoy reading our stories.

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Four Letter Word

by Jessa, Real Housewives of NOLA

Mom stands in the bathroom while I run the water, letting it get warm.  Take your things off, I say.  Put them in laundry basket.

Okay, she says.  And stands there, watching the water run.

Mom, I say.  I point to her PJ pants.  Take those off please.

Okay, she says.  She pulls at the hem of her shirt, then stops.

Pants, I say, pointing again.  Off.

Okay, she says.  And stands there, looking at me.

****

Okay.  It’s become a four letter word in my house.

As her mind and memory slip away, Mom talks less and less.  She hears a voice but not the words.  She doesn’t understand – but she doesn’t say, What?  or Huh?  She says Okay.  It’s a small thing, but it’s making me crazy.

Okay.  I hear E talking on the phone – someone on the other end is asking about me, how I’m doing.  I can hear him through the bathroom door, where I’ve stopped, dropping the load of laundry I was lugging, to throw up for the millionth time, in my 25th week of morning sickness.  Yes – she’s okay.  We’re doing okay.

When the doctor called with our amnio news, it was the first word out of my mouth, my auto-pilot response.  Okay, I said.  Okay.

None of this is actually okay.  But there is a knee-jerk reaction, I think, to use this word that means so little.  It’s the “right” response to anything, self-contained and reassuring.  It’s okay – you don’t have to help me.  You don’t have to worry.  You don’t have to do anything – we’re okay.  It’s so ingrained that it’s all that Mom has left – no matter what you ask, she’s going to answer, Okay.

And really – we are okay.  By most standards, most of the time, we’re doing fine.  We’re doing okay.  But when we’re not – it would be nice to be able to say so.

Don’t you think?

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Jessa is home in Louisiana, caring for her toddler and her mom, who has early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. She is pregnant with a little one, due this May, who has been diagnosed with MCADD, a genetic metabolic disorder that claimed her first two babies. She writes about life (when life doesn’t get in the way of writing) on Tuesdays for the Real Housewives of NOLA blog, and sews for her Etsy shop, little pearl quilts (which has been a wonderful Oxygen Mask.)

Her post originally appeared HERE and was posted with permission.

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