For today’s 2nd Annual #DayOfLight, I’m sharing with you the anger, frustration, and tears that have come with my most recent bout of Depression. This story is my own to tell and is not compensated in any way. I am not a doctor or therapist and this is not meant to contain any professional advice. This is just me, telling my story, in order to feel better about my situation, and to hopefully help someone else who may be struggling and needs to know that they are not alone.
If you’re a friend of mine on Facebook, or you follow my Facebook page for this blog, you may have heard that I just recently took a three week leave of absence from my day job in order to work on a few things in my life. I work in a high emotion job and children’s lives are at stake, or have been lost, on a daily basis. If that isn’t enough to push someone with Major Depression over the edge from time to time, I don’t know what is. But, my job alone was not the reason I had to take leave. I was feeling my depression taking over in many aspects of my life and I needed to just stop and breathe for little while.
The beginning of the “straw that broke the camel’s back” was when I realized that my marriage was in harm’s way. I had become a workaholic and Howard was dealing with it by playing his video games on his phone at night. Benjamin was addicted to watching The Simpson’s on TV and was acting out on a daily basis. I was having physical pains in my neck and back and extreme exhaustion while I was at work. I started going to the chiropractor and one day I saw an old friend with whom I had a crush on many years ago. We talked a little before our appointments and I wanted more. I wanted to see him again. I wanted to talk to him again. I wanted to be with him instead of my husband. After a few days of struggling with these weird emotions, I broke down and cried for almost an entire day. Howard knew something was wrong, but I wasn’t willing to tell him until he finally drug it out of me. I told him that I was unhappy and that as soon as I had the money (it was coming in late January) that Benjamin and I were moving out.
Long story short, we talked until 3-4am that night. There was a few times when our voices raised, but we weren’t “fighting”. I told him everything that had been going through my head with the other guy and the craziness of our life. I told him that I need him to support me more and I need to feel less out of control in our daily decisions. We decided to start counseling and within a week we had found a therapist.
That’s not all, though, because I think our marriage issues were only a symptom of what depression has done to me. I have a hard time feeling happy and content and I don’t express my feelings and emotions well. We had become disconnected and we’re working on that.
The Medication Change
In the meantime, I also went to my doctor and told him that the depression was creeping back in and we decided that I had probably been on Effexor XR for long enough (10+ years) and that it was just not effective any longer. I was TERRIFIED of getting off Effexor because (1) the horror stories of pain when titrating off the medicine, (2) the pain I have experienced when I didn’t have a dose, and (3) it was my crutch, my savior from the last time I was extremely depressed, and my friend for the past 10+ years. I was scared of the unknown with medication and the changes I would have to go through, but I agreed to try it and my doctor was empathetic to my concerns. He helped me slowly titrate off the Effexor and I have been completely free from it for 2-3 weeks now. I’m not going to say it wasn’t painful, but it was not nearly as tragic as I had envisioned.
I am now taking a new medication, Fetzima 60mg, and we also increased my Abilify dose to 10mg. Things are not perfect, yet, but that’s where the rest of the story comes in.
The Anger and Frustration
Apparently, as quiet and timid as I can be, I am also a very angry and frustrated person. I don’t tend to take it out on those in my world, except poor Benjamin and Howard. In the mornings, when we’re running late because I have slept too long or they are taking their time, I am a tyrant. I scream and yell and (Lord, help me!) spank my child for not getting dressed fast enough or whining too much. I spout off to Howard about how he doesn’t help enough or he’s sitting around too much or because he chose to start his day with a cigarette rather than get Benjamin’s clothes ready.
I grit my teeth and I throw stuff (not at anyone) or I just walk away and go outside, slamming doors along the way. I get ANGRY, y’all, and then I get frustrated at my anger, and then I feel out of control because of my emotions going all over the place.
The Negative Effects in my Daily Life
Recently, I just almost ended a friendship because of my high emotions and anger. I’m not proud of it and I have apologized over and over, but I was ugly to a very, very close friend of mine. She has supported me along the way in my blogging and has been nothing but kind and generous and loving to me even before we met in person. She loves me more than I can imagine and I love her just the same. But I was ugly, y’all, really ugly…and in a group of friends on Facebook, so it was “in front of” other people. I let my emotions run too high and got out of control. I let that same rage that I feel with Howard and Benjamin (where things are “safe” and I know they will still love me no matter what) bleed into my daily life. I feel guilt and shame and I don’t know if I will ever be able to face this friend again without feeling terrible or “less than” because of this.
Maybe this sounds like an over-reaction to a little tiff between friends, but to me, it is devastating. I don’t have a ton of close friends – and I’m the type who needs a handful of close friends and not a ton of acquaintances – so when I hurt one, I am forever hurt inside because of it.
What I’m Learning in Therapy
Howard and I have been going to our marriage counseling for about 3-4 weeks now and things are getting much better. I still get frustrated with him (he IS a man after all) and I don’t have my emotions completely in check, but our communication is improving and he is starting to understand my depression a little better.
Yesterday, we walked into the therapist’s office with basically nothing to talk about. Yet I ended up almost a puddle on the floor as we were leaving. You see, apparently, my out of control anger and frustration comes from childhood experiences and not dealing with the loss of my mother seven years ago. I’ve mentioned before that I am the child of alcoholics and I have not fully dealt with the feelings and emotions that come along with that. Therapy is making a shift now to more individual time for me, with a small focus still on keeping Howard informed on where I am in my healing and maintaining our marriage. Am I scared of what’s coming? Yes! Am I ready to tackle it head on? Sure, why not! Our therapist says that the issues I’m dealing with usually manifest between ages 35 and 40 so I’m right on track, haha!
What Depression Looks Like to Me
Anger at the smallest things that people around me do (i.e. Howard not picking out Benjamin’s clothes in the morning)
Frustration at things not going the way I had envisioned them
Random pains (in my back, neck, feet, even my wrist was hurting yesterday)
Messy house – You all have read about my messy house many times, but I have never really talked about it as a symptom of my depression. My bedroom is a mess with crap on the bed, dirty sheets and comforter, and boxes piled in corners, dirty clothes on the floor, and dust everywhere. Benjamin’s bedroom is a storage room with toys and old clothes and whatever I cleaned out of the living room when someone was coming over to visit. He can’t even play in there and we have to make a path for him when we do put him in there to sleep. My dining room is a pile of junk and Christmas. The tree is still up because (1) I haven’t wanted to put it away, and (2) the box it goes in is buried by other crap. The table is covered in trash and school papers and a few toys. I did clean the living room on the last day of my three week leave, by moving the couch and vacuuming and mopping the entire floor, but there’s still clutter there and in Benjamin’s play room and in the kitchen. Ugh!
Where Do I Go From Here?
I just keep plugging away. I take the meds. I attend counseling. I try. I stay present in my family and not retreat to work again. I communicate with Howard about what I need from him. I cry when I need to and I don’t make excuses for my emotions. I eventually begin cleaning my house, once again, and reclaim my life…eventually.