I recently wrote a thank you note to my doctor. It’s the first time I’ve ever done that or rather the first time I ever felt the overwhelming “want” to. It’s not to say I haven’t had great doctors in my life but this one saved my life.
This doctor is my psychiatrist. I chose this doctor when I was in the middle of a horrible depression. Horrible. He listened to me, asked a ton of questions and was never surprised by my answers even though *I* was surprised by my answers. And to have those answers be true… No. I wasn’t supposed to be in there in that spot.
I adamantly refused medication with the exception of an anti anxiety med. A mild dose that worked wonders for the anxiety but did nothing for the depression. I carried on like that for a couple of months. After a while I couldn’t stand the way I was feeling anymore. We then discussed antidepressants. And I started my roller coaster of med trials and dealing with side effects, some more troublesome than others. This went on for 2 years. Some meds did work for a while then stop or peter off. Some I had to give a full trial time of about 6 weeks only to report back that there was no effect good or bad. It was a crap shoot I felt.
It wasn’t until March 2015 did he finally hit the right combo and added an antidepressant I hadn’t trialed before. My mood was great I hadn’t felt like myself in so long I welcomed myself back. I can’t tell you the awe I felt to actually be in a good mood again. To not be a anxiety riddled depressed shell of a person.
My husband noticed that I was “happy” and I was/am. I joke and laugh with my kids. I can laugh at myself and I no longer fill my head with horrible untrue statements.
I say that I chose this doctor but in truth he was chosen for me. Dr. L was originally treating my son and I adored him for Thomas. When the crap hit the fan for me and I really needed a doctor, I chose Dr. L. He was put in my life, in my path for a reason. Not soon after he was treating Thomas did Thomas go to residential school.
So today I wrote Dr. L. a thank you note. I thanked him for believing I would beat the depression when I didn’t believe it myself. I let him know I’m in such a better place right now and it is because of him.
I’m wondering when you classify yourself as “cured” from depression? Are you ever really cured or do you learn to manage this very real chemical imbalance in ones brain? I feel good most days. I catch myself in a good mood here and there and I no longer feel the irritability, angst, and anxiety associated with depression. I’m looking forward to the future and toy with the idea of stopping my therapist appointments. I see her every 2 weeks now and when I do see her the 45 minutes are filled with various ways I handle situations in my life. And we also talk about all the good in my life.
The more I think about it, I don’t think I’m ready to stop seeing her. There isn’t a pressing “need” as was in the past, it’s more of a want to see her. To discuss my life; not dissect it. I think that’s the biggest difference in our talks. To not have my life under a microscope as was when the depression was taking over my life. To say that the depression was bigger than me that it was taking over my life is accurate. Today I am bigger than the illness. And I’m proud of myself. Proud that I did not give up because giving up cannot be an option.
Im looking forward to events that in the past probably would have been fraught with worry and I wouldn’t have had any joy in them. I recently caught up with a friend who was visiting NY, she lives in California. When I was fighting the depression I wouldn’t have been able to sit and talk with her in the easy manner that we got along. Conversation flowed naturally and I had such joy in our time together. When events like that occur I know. I’m “okay”.
Joy. It can be so elusive. And when you’re depressed even the word can seem like it’s mocking you and seem so close yet so far away.
Seriously. And I can say this because I also have a small dog~a toy poodle aptly named Spike. Our big dog is named Riley, she’s a rescue dog and we love her so much. Of course we love our Spike, he’s been here almost 12 years. When Daniella was a year old, Alyssa 3yrs and Thomas 5yrs I decided we needed a dog; a small dog though. I thought I wanted a Yorkie but the ones we say were either sickly looking or hyper beyond belief. Then…I met Spike. Oh my goodness he was just the cutest little thing all fluffy and apricot colored fur. Draw dropping cute no kidding. And he wasn’t crazy hyper just normal puppy playful. Spike also trained super easy which I couldn’t believe, almost everything about him was easy. And he never ever nipped at the kids even with them being so young and active. Spike really is a great dog.
So 11 years later Tommy and I start talking about getting a big dog. Just “talking”. You know because Spike, and 3 cats aren’t enough pets… We talked for a couple of months trying to decide which kind of big dog. No puppies we had decided. I had a German Shepherd growing up (the best dog in the world evah but that’s another story), but we were nervous about getting a well behaved one. Pitbull? Yes definitely in the running but again we were wary about being able to handle him/her. Especially since we’d be taking in an adult dog.
One afternoon I go to Petsmart with Daniella and Samantha to get food for Spike. There was a rescue group in the back of the store with dogs and cats for adoption. We saw an adorable Yorkie mix but I knew we already wanted a big dog. Then we see her. Riley. This big golden retriever/golden lab mix missing half of one ear. Only you didn’t know her ear was missing until you got up close and pet her. Riley let us pet her, she laid down on the floor of the store so we could keep on petting her. Meanwhile the rescue foster “mom” was there to answer all our questions. Jackie was great and just the sweetest.
I text Tommy that we’re at Petsmart and petting a rescue dog. He texts back, “ok”. I text: ” I’m filling out an application for her, she’s just the sweetest” and send a picture. Tommy is like, “…ok…” Meanwhile I’m a little nervous. What am I doing?
Jackie brings Riley to the house for a home visit and Spike and Riley get along so well, it’s unreal. The cats are wary but what can you expect. We’re ready to tell Jackie to just leave Riley here we don’t want her to go but Jackie isn’t able to because Riley still needs to be micro-chipped. We agree to meet at Petsmart in a couple of days and we’ll take her home from there.
So almost a year later Riley is a part of our family as if she’s been here forever. She is the sweetest dog I’ve ever met. Yes I’m biased but I don’t care ;). When the depression would rear it’s ugly head, Riley was here when everyone else was at work or school. And I would think how she is rescuing me like everyone always says. When Thomas met her and hugged her, Riley just sat there with this adorable look on her face. Spike isn’t the same, he loves us but Riley is unreal in her caring for us. Tommy and I both say we’ve never seen such an affectionate well mannered dog.
I’m so glad I stopped in Petsmart that day.
I’m up before everyone. I do this fairly often and it’s really nice. I’m up before the craziness of everyone getting ready for school. That includes me getting decent hair and face going on. I take Samantha to school but I’m not one to go in my pajamas. Except for the barking of my dogs (for whatever reason early mornings are cat chasing time. Go figure.) it’s really quiet. Like hear a pin drop quiet. So cool. This used to be the quiet I would get at night when everyone was small. They were all pretty much were in bed by 9pm the latest. These days …nope. Everyone seems to be up forever and want to talk. Meanwhile by 9:30 ish I’m all talked out and I’m ready for the quiet.
I pick up Thomas tomorrow for a weekend visit. He’s so looking forward to coming home. Every phone call these past 2 weeks has included confirmation of the date I’m coming to get him, Feb. 1st and that yes, I promise I’m coming. Oh and that I spoke to the social worker about said date. He’s funny but I don’t blame him I’m sure I’d be the same way in his shoes. I’m impressed with how Thomas speaks to me sometimes. He actually said, “Mom, you *promise* you’re coming?” Who knew that he knows the concept of a “promise”? Not me until he said it.
I’m off to the city today (another reason I’m up earlier). Earlier this week I was reflecting on how things have changed since I started seeing Nancy. When I first went to her I was terribly clinically depressed. I hadn’t started meds yet, actually I was terrified of meds and said I would NOT take them. That adamant position changed rapidly when I realized that no amount of therapy was going to help that this was more serious than I thought, plus I became more afraid of the depression than the medications. When I first started seeing Nancy, I cried through every session and after we were done I’d walk down Broadway on the upper west side for blocks and blocks, many times fighting back tears. One time and I know this was The Lord’s work, my wonderful friend Jackie called me as I was walking. I couldn’t believe her timing. I walked and talked and cried down Broadway on the cell phone with her for about who knows how many blocks. Probably 10. Until I saw a subway station for my train and decided I was tired of walking. Amazing how I thought I was all along when I wasn’t. I had the Lord with me and then He prompted Jackie to call. I love those perfect timings.
Ok, it’s getting later and I must start the chaos we call mornings. I’m extremely thankful the only one I have to “help” a little is Samantha. She really needs prompting and that’s ok. I’m off!
I’m talking about common treatments for depression. Medications and therapy, that’s I’m familiar with anyway. When I first started seeing Nancy for my depression I was dead set against medication. No way, no how, I’ve thought about it…NO. I was terrified as I’ve written in previous posts. If I started medication I thought I was weak or *really* so sick I that couldn’t wrap it around my brain; I was that messed up and that I needed that much help.
I’ve written about how I did decided to see Dr. L and I did agree to try a mild anti-anxiety med first and then realized that it wasn’t enough. I agreed to anti depressant medication and thus began the trial and error “rollercoaster” that isn’t fun but sometimes necessary to get the correct me or correct combo of meds.
Not until recently did I really appreciate the severity of what happened to me almost 2 years ago when I “went to bed”. I had a severe clinical depressive episode. Nothing like that had ever happened to me before, even when I had the miscarriages. After months of Thomas’ behavior not to mention years of pushing things aside or just trudging through it all, I couldn’t do it anymore. I used to get annoyed at people who say, “I don’t know how you do it” referring to my son and my girls when Thomas was not doing well. You “JUST DO IT” as the Nike commercial says. You seriously just do. You put your head down and go forward.
When Thomas became aggressive to me after years of him being so stable that he wouldn’t even think of hitting me, I broke down. I remember thinking I couldn’t go through this again. I guess once around is my limit. That trauma was so intense I still struggle to describe it and talk about it.
But getting back to taking medication. This past year when talking I found I still lowered my voice if I decided to tell someone, “I take antidepressants” Why do we still do this? Lately I consciously keep my voice even, I mean I don’t need to yell it or shout out loud but I don’t want to lower my voice as if I’m ashamed or I’m afraid other people will hear. I’ll tell anyone I’m in therapy. In fact I think everyone should have the opportunity to go into therapy. What happened to me changed the chemistry in my brain. That is not my fault and nor is it the fault of anyone else suffering from depression. Like the miscarriages I felt betrayed by my body. Why couldn’t I just carry on and trudge on through like I did in the past? Why did I now have to deal with “this”?? I felt broken. And then feel embarrassed that I was taking medications? Today I’m not embarrassed that I take meds, it’s necessary at this point in my life much like insulin is necessary to a diabetic or blood pressure medication to a person with hypertension. I know everyone always says that so much it seems like lip service but it’s so true why not say it again.
Lets not whisper it anymore I promise I won’t stare if you won’t.
I’m so glad I made it to Manhattan to see Nancy before the snow started. I don’t know which I’m more happy about, seeing Nancy or hitting on of my favorite thrifts. I scored a gorgeous Lulumon hoodie, OMG that brand is expensive, who knew? Not me I can tell you. Anyway I paid 2.00 and I’m proud of it. I also picked up a couple of sweaters I needed and another hoodie/sweatshirt that has cool embroidery and sequins. Right up my alley. Got to love the bling :).
So it’s now snowing and it does look pretty. Everything looks so quiet and peaceful and clean. I’m not a fan of snow by any means (not that I have any desire to move down south), but it is nice to look at when it’s first coming down. My girls are already planning their “snow day” tomorrow. They rarely close public schools here but you never know, besides I’ll most likely keep them home anyway.
I noticed this week how much I really have come to enjoy the thrift stores. I got my husband to come with me one day this past week. He’s not a thrift shopper and that’s ok. He came along because he loves me. I told him it’s a “hunt” he said he knows but it’s not his thing. Meanwhile I felt like I had to hit every rack or Heaven forbid I miss something! Ack! Today in Manhattan I noticed I’m quicker in going through the racks and how I can feel quality fabrics and I notice the workmanship of how a garment is finished. That’s how I found the Lulumon hoodie, the fabric, the workmanship, it’s gorgeous.
I also love the one thought mode I have when I’m in the thrifts. All I think about it the hunt and search. Not much else, unless I come across something I know someone is looking for. Then it’s as if I hit the jackpot! I can’t take a picture and text fast enough. And if that person isn’t eagerly awaiting my surprise text (like they really would be…right…) and get back to me right away I’m torn; do I buy this item and take a gamble or leave it and have thrift regret? Most times everyone gets back to me so all is right with the world.
I do have personal thrift regret, certain handbags I hemmed and hawed about and then left them! Oh man…I still think about them believe it or not. I think that’s the only thing I waver on is handbags. Mostly because many times they are priced higher than clothes and do I want to blow my thrift budget on a handbag I may not be in love with and use? Sometimes I totally score like the Kate Spade bag I have from the thrift, it’s new I don’t think anyone used this bag.
I hope this snow doesn’t stick around and keep me housebound and away from the thrifts!
The holidays are officially “over” by my clock and calendar anyway. I’m glad, whew! Now upward and onward to getting back to life in general. It was pretty cool having the kids home for break, I enjoyed sleeping in :). The girls are getting older that they no longer need me to be “rightthere” all the time. Thank God. Seriously. Samantha at age 7 is fairly low maintenance and if Alyssa is home I can run an errand or two alone by leaving Alyssa to watch Samantha. I want my life back where kids are in school, choir practice is resumed and all is right with the world. Oh and I go to Manhattan to see Nancy and after we chat I get to thrift in the big city. Yes I am excited about that. I haven’t seen Nancy in about 2 weeks or so and I miss her. I’m not sure if that is “correct” but I do like her as a person as well as a therapist, although I’m not sure you could NOT like a therapist as a person and still want to have sessions with them.
So yes I’m off to Manhattan and hoping and praying the snow storm predicted won’t begin until I’m back home. I’m not a fan of driving in the snow, I don’t know many people who are. I miss going to the city. I’ve come to the realization that I am having a love affair with NYC, Manhattan in particular. Living on an outer borough it’s easy to get to Manhattan and I notice my Alyssa will take any opportunity she has to go as well. I’m glad because I want her to feel comfortable navigating subways and bus lines. I love to people watch so this is perfect for me. I know I enjoy the city so much because I’m not dragging myself there and commuting to a job everyday. However I will say (now) that I’d jump at the chance to work in Manhattan when Samantha is older and much more independent. If it’s The Lord’s way though. It won’t happen unless He wants it to and I’m not privy to His plan.
When I do visit the city I enjoy taking public transportation. For a people watcher, it’s definitely the way to go! I’ve driven many times and it’s usually a headache and an expensive one at that taking into consideration bridge/tunnel tolls not to mention parking. Ugh! Yeah, that’s all I have to say about that.
Yes I’m welcoming back our regularly scheduled program and routine. We had a lovely Christmas, Thomas came home and the visit went for the most part, well. We spent New Year’s Eve with some of the nicest, sweetest people on the planet. Some new friends and some friends we’ve known for years and years. Regardless of how long everyone knew each other, all seemed to find common ground and chat and laugh. I loved hearing people laugh.
I hope everyone has a smooth transition back to their regular schedule/program.
This is my last post of 2013. I can’t say 2013 was the best year of my life but it certainly wasn’t the worst. 2012 was way rough compared to 2013. This past year I’ve struggled with depression and made it through med adjustments, therapy sessions that were at times intense and at other times full of relief. There isn’t a time that I think of both my doctor and my therapist that I don’t thank God above for placing them both in my life. Without that combo I honestly don’t know where I’d be right now.
I was reading over past blog entries specifically dealing with depression and I’m so thankful I’m not in that dark place anymore. I’m thankful to feel more like “me”. Good moods are not taken for granted anymore but are recognized and enjoyed to the fullest. I’m incredibly grateful for my friends and family (both online and in person). Words fail to describe how I feel about my choir family. I love our fellowship and the friends I’ve made through the choir. They are all very strong people who pray for me without me even asking.
I also don’t know where I’d be without my husband. He’s received quite the education in dealing with a wife fighting depression. And he’s been wonderful, I’m not just saying that he really has been.
I didn’t set out to make this a “thankful” post but it looks like it’s heading in that direction and that’s ok. These and many more blessing have followed me this past year through the laughter and the tears. “Silly” questions I’ve asked and wonderful friends who have an answer. I am looking forward to 2014 beginning; I think 2013 has had enough and is tired but I hope she goes off quietly and without a huge bang to anyone.
I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions at all. But there is one I would really, really like to keep and that is to spread the Gospel and be more bold in my faith. We are called to make disciples and I’m am ridiculously intimidated by that command. I know the Holy Spirit will be with me when the opportunity arises and will give me the “right” things to say. I need to trust and submit. Maybe those 2 actions should also be part of my “Resolution”. Yes I think they shall be.
We are ringing in the new year with a small party, a gathering of friends and family and friends that are more like family than anything else. I love it. I love that people want to come to our house and celebrate with us, I love that we have such people to get together with and be comfortable, laugh, have fellowship, talk and laugh some more and usher in a New Year.
Good bye 2013.
Happy New Year!
“Moving Forward”. 2 words and not a difficult statement to follow given you have the means to do so. At this time in my life it is time for me to move forward. I’m quite serious about my business (www.nayaudo.com), I want to see this succeed. I feel this is what I’m supposed to be doing; shopping. Feel free to laugh it’s ok. Yes I dream of getting paid to shop for other people or find them some treasure they haven’t been able to locate on their own. That treasure can be almost anything, but I specialize in clothing, shoes and the thrift.
Moving forward. Why isn’t it as easy as it sounds? I believe I’m not going anywhere until The Lord decides it’s the best time according to his plan. If my business took off last year I would have buckled, I was not ready and was still healing. But just because I think I’m in a better place doesn’t mean God agrees. Giving it all over to Him is one of the most difficult things I’ve done. To The Lord I handed over Thomas’ residential school and now I hand over my future of trying to be a success outside the home. I know He is “in charge” and He really does know better than we do. I trust The Lord, he is faithful.
I’m looking forward to moving forward. To not visit the depressed and traumatic times anymore. They’re still there, just not ruling me like they did. I’m also looking forward to growing as a person and sharing that growth with my family. Frustration and having more patience are two things I really need to work on. I want things to happen NOW like most of us do. If I’m to trust The Lord, I must develop more patience and accept his timing and not get frustrated.
I’ve done quite a bit of reflecting of when I was going through the depression and when you’re in that state you don’t realize how far down you are. I was thinking about this, this morning. I don’t ever want to be that far down again. When I was remembering that place I was reminded of the physical sensation of being that far down. It was as if I were in a ditch looking up at everyone and I couldn’t get myself out. I don’t ever want to be there again.
So here’s to moving forward!
I spoke to my son tonight. He called from school. It was sweet listening to him, mostly because he wants to talk to me. And that means a lot considering all I’ve been through with him. My girls tell me about their day and friends, funny things that happen and I love it. I love that they talk to me but when it’s Thomas…he’s so deliberate in what he wants to say you feel like you don’t want to miss anything. And that he wants to talk to you and tell you about his day or upcoming events, well it’s special.
I had Thomas’ IEP meeting today (Individualized Education Plan) which is goals and therapies his school must work on and provide. This meeting was with the district. It was the most uneventful meeting ever! I already spoke with Thomas’ school last week via teleconference about building on previous goals and new goals for Thomas so the IEP meeting was a but redundant. I was happy it was redundant though. I’ve had way too many IEP meetings with me yelling and crying through the meeting because I didn’t feel heard. In those days I was fighting for my son and at this moment in time I don’t have to fight. I watched a woman younger than me walk in anger down the hall with mention of her attorney. I’ve been there, done that, have the t shirt. Part of me wanted to tell her everything will be ok, but I don’t know that at all. I don’t know her situation but I know exactly how she feels and it’s not a good feeling.
When I sat down with the district representative and a district psychologist I recognized the rep from many IEP meetings of years past. I know I’d been unpleasant to this woman during those meetings. Those meetings were full of tension and uncertainty and mistrust. At one point she asked if I remembered her and I smiled and said yes. She asked if my hair used to be blonde, I laughed and said yes. We chatted quite a bit about my son’s school, how happy we are with his placement and how happy we were with the previous school. I’ve never had such a district IEP meeting, ever! When we were done I thanked them and said it was so nice to have a meeting where I was “relaxed”. I look forward to future meetings of this manner. Praise God!