Typically, I go thru a depression every three years. Just like angry uterus, depression visits me like clockwork. They are all the result of some life altering change that I have a difficulty reconciling within my safety zone. The first depression I can remember began when I was in grade 7. It was not diagnosed, however looking back and knowing what I know now, it was clearly depression.
My next depression came when I was in grade 12 (okay, so that's five years...) Final exams, first boyfriend, first break-up, I was 17. I lost 40 lbs in one month while they poked and prodded and looked for an answer. When they couldn't find a thing wrong with me, they labelled it IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and called it a day.
Third depression was when I was 20. I had dropped out of University, because my type A bowels couldn't stand getting a B's and C's instead of an A. I had no purpose, no focus, no drive. I had a boyfriend who wanted to make me into his wife. Not such a bad thing, except that his vision of his wife was not me, so he began to *mold* me into the woman he wished I was. My parents were getting a divorce, however some stories are not yours to tell, and this one is not mine. Suffice it to say, life as I had known it changed forever.
Depression number four began when I was laid off for the first time from my first job in the airline industry. I was in love with this job. It defined me, gave me purpose, it was adrenaline inducing and it was my career. I had the airline industry coursing through my veins. It was the only place I could ever imagine working and the airline folded. Declared bankruptcy two months after 9/11, took our keys, took our employee ID's, took my sense of purpose. I was 23 (three years...)
This was my first diagnosed depression. After weeks of hiding in my house, sitting on the couch chain smoking and watching t.v., panic attacks if I had to leave the house, and a dwindling bank account, I went to my doctor and bawled like a baby for half an hour. I went to a therapist, and we began "cognitive awareness" therapy. As in, changing the way I thought, changing the way I saw things so that I could be a functioning member of society. This, coupled with Effexor, got me back on my feet and I was ready to face the world.
Okay...are we all depressed yet? Geez...my fifth depression was when Q was born, in 2004. I was 26. Depending on who you talk to, it was Post Partum Depression, it was Post Partum psychosis, it was Generalized Anxiety Disorder, it was lack of sleep and lack of nourishment. Being a mother was completely foreign to me. I was alone and scared and asshole Mr. Ex was to busy "living his own life" to care about my mental health. This was my first experience with a Pscychiatrist. I was put on Effexor, but it wreaked havoc with my heart and made it race to 150 beats per minute...resting. I was diagnosed with the Generalized Anxiety and we went with Paxil, Ativan and Respiridol.
Life was good. I was back in the airline industry, I had a beautiful boy, I had left Mr. Ex and I had a gentleman caller. It was all good. I carefully and slowly weaned myself off Paxil and I could feel again. The good, the bad, the ugly. It was good and I could deal. Until, like a MAC truck, depression and anxiety (number 6, if you've lost count) hit once again. I was 29. I thought I was pregnant. I found myself in the same old spot...not married, a guy who wasn't as serious about me as I was about him, and couldn't fathom making the same mistake twice. How could I be so stupid? How could I have allowed myself to be so careless with my heart and my body, again? As it turned out, I wasn't pregnant. But the damage had been done, the fear had settled nicely into my soul and with no end in sight, I once again started with Paxil and Ativan.
I've been on Paxil ever since.
I tell myself it's because I want my son to have a good life, where he doesn't have to worry about his *crazy* momma. I don't want my depression to give him baggage. I want his childhood to be filled with happy memories and as little *crazy* as possible.
Sometimes, though, I think I medicate because I'm afraid to feel. Afraid to feel anything other than melancholy. Sure, happiness is great. But happiness is fleeting, in my experience. It gets replaced, sooner or later with fear and anxiety and sadness.
Paxil is an anti-anxiety drug. It's not an anti-depressant. So, I'm not sure where I go from here. Do I go to the doctor, tell him I'm depressed and get prescribed another drug that takes away the sadness? And in that case, just feel nothing at all? Is that how I'm to go through life? Do I plough through it, determined and wiser than before? Do I go to therapy to see why I'm afraid to feel, what I'm afraid I'll feel, and how to deal with my feelings, good and/or bad? At this point, I don't know...I just know that I can't just be.
I'm feeling the anger and the sadness slowly creep into my being, and I find myself embracing it rather than finding a way to rid it from my bones. Maybe who I am is just a sad person, and I should accept it and become it.
And I'm really kinda pissed, because I was feeling whole and healthy and was in a good place to find a man, to find love. Now this. I wonder if that's where the fear comes from, where the sadness stems. Maybe as much as I say I'm good on my own, maybe I do need the love of a good man to complete me. Maybe we're meant to go through this world two by two.
Oh, and this is number 7, for the record. I could bore you with all the details, the sob story, the *Why Me, God, WHY?* but aren't we all just sick of that?