I feel like I have a million things to write about, but nothing at all. I guess that’s a perfect analogy of my life right now. I’m deep into a soul sucking, energy zapping, mental marathon of a depression.
Depression is an extremely personal disease. Though I’m usually comfortable writing about most of my afflictions and issues, depression is one I've kept closely guarded the past 10 years or so. That is until the most recent bout, when I finally asked for help and the results that came about.
I've been medically treated for depression for about 10 years. I started seeing a therapist, as it was strongly suggested when I was diagnosed with MS. Though I've had my ups and downs, for the most part I've been able to lead a well-rounded emotional life. The last few months though, it’s like all the issues I've been trying to maintain came boiling to the surface and erupted.
I didn't wake up in this hole of a depression. It was a culmination of sad events that ignited it. I had to put my dog to sleep; my boyfriend – suffering from his own depression – broke up with me and moved out. It was then, slowly, oh so slowly depression entwined himself into my everyday life, making even the simplest tasks exhausting.
After a couple months, I was no longer sleeping through the night. The stress and lack of sleep caused my eczema to flare even more than normal. At my worst I was covered on over 75% of my body. I couldn't stop itching. My skin was so red it looked like I had sunburn. I was constantly cold from radiating so much heat; I was embarrassed about how it looked. I had been living from steroid treatment to steroid treatment for my skin and I guess my mind and body finally had enough.
My lowest of low days was a Saturday. I got up at 10am, drank a cup of tea, and had an uncontrollable crying spell that put me back into bed until 5pm. I got up and ate some toast, remembered why I had been crying before and went back to bed until 9 the next morning. I wandered around the rest of the weekend like a zombie. My thoughts were either racing too much to think straight, or I couldn’t form a coherent thought. I dreaded getting up to go to work. I was exhausted from lack of sleep, ashamed of my skin and stressed out that I was not pulling my share of the load in the office.
I resented everyone I talked to who was in a good mood, I withdrew from social engagements, I stopped posting on social media. I felt like I was covered in tar, moving slowly, constantly wiping it out of my face, trying to see what was coming. I couldn't keep up anymore.
I went into work on a Monday and told my bosses what was going on. I have only been at this job for 6 months; I was terrified of the reaction I would get. I shouldn't have been surprised at the fact that they were wonderful. They offered to give me time off so I could sort out everything without the added stress of work. They gave me the flexibility to work from home and come into the office when I felt like it. It was the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me – telling me to put my health first.
So I went home that day, cried more and tried to put together a plan of what to do. I saw my therapist who told me that this was the worst depression she has seen me in and suggested an intensive day therapy program. I went to my general practitioner who told me she was no longer comfortable managing my depression and anxiety meds and told me I needed to see a psychiatrist. I went to my dermatologist about my skin that referred me to a specialist at the U. They gave me new meds to try (again) and referred me to an allergist. My skin started to clear up and I started the search for a psychiatrist. I called several places who either aren't accepting new patients, don’t take my insurance, or have a month long wait list. I’m banging my head against a wall! I finally decide to put my health first, to do something to manage this state I’m in and I cannot get help!
I’m trying to be patient, but I feel awful. I’m antisocial; I don’t want to be in public. I have an impossible time trying to find the positive in things. It’s like a big dark cloud is covering this deep pit where I’m stuck sitting. It’s terribly lonely because no one knows what to say to someone who is depressed and anxious. It’s not like a cold – you don’t just “get better”. You don’t wake up one day saying “man! I’m so glad this depression is over!”
It’s a waiting game, it’s a dangerous one. I get why people end their lives due to depression. The feeling of hopelessness is a horrible one. Feeling like no one understands what you’re going through; feeling like no one cares, feeling like a fool for not being able to “snap” out of it… I suffer from severe asthma, severe eczema, allergies, multiple sclerosis, anxiety and depression and I can tell you that out of all of these things, depression is the worst. It’s not visible to the naked eye, it’s hard to explain, and there are no “chicken soup” remedies to help you feel better.
It’s just keeping putting one foot in front of the other. It’s getting out of bed each day even if it is 2pm. It’s giving yourself a break if that’s the only thing you accomplished that day. It’s holding onto the hope that a doctor appointment is coming soon. It’s remembering that this is a chemical imbalance in my brain – not something I caused and that with the right medications I’ll feel able to feel happy again.
At the end that’s all I really want. I don’t want to be a millionaire or have hundreds of friends. I don’t want to be a size 4 or conquer the world, I just want to wake up and feel joy again. I want to go to bed excited to start the next day. I want to feel utter contentment for the life I have built for myself. Maybe, just maybe – tomorrow will be the start of that day.
IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS SUFFERING FROM DEPRESSION AND NEEDS HELP, PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO REACH OUT: 1-800-273-8255