In retrospect, I think I have always been depressed. As a child in elementary school, I always felt like I was alone and had few close friends. By high school, I was a strict Type A personality and scared most people away. But, right in the middle of those sensitive seasons was when I can see that I had a problem with depression.
Beginning in the sixth grade, I experimented with bulimia and even threatened to commit suicide a few times. When I realized that I was too cowardly to take my own life, I started trying to hurt myself and succeeded in breaking my arm a couple of times by beating it against a door frame.
The turmoil was great and I do not think anyone around me completely understood what was wrong. Inside, my thoughts were a jumbled mess. Of course, as I have grown older, I can see things that I did not previously notice about myself and I have learned more about depression and how it can be treated.
Being a Depressed Mom
I’ve always had mood swings and I have shared with you about my struggle with anger management in my early parenting years. However, I honestly believe part of my anger was as a result of chronic depression.
After the birth of our second child, I thought I was developing post partum depression – I probably was – and was placed on antidepressant medication. Now, seven years later, the Zoloft still resides on my nightstand.
I have tried to stop taking Zoloft. More than once. Most recently, it was in January.
Despite being at my highest dose of Zoloft ever, I decided to wean myself off of Zoloft by cutting the pills in half. No doctor. No advice. Just taking 50 mg per day for one week and then I was done. The weaning process should take months, but I was determined. Bad move.
Cold turkey off anti-depressants
The first week without Zoloft was a breeze. In moments when I felt stressed, I would leave the room and relax or rub down with essential oils. I was so proud of myself and even reported to my mother that despite being incredibly weepy, I was fine and excited to be free of needing a bottle to make me happy.
As the calendar turned to the second week, life got tougher. I was frustrated and overwhelmed. I could not seem to think straight and was crying over stupid stuff. I wanted to sleep all the time. And then, the evening when I snapped at Bill, my husband, about something so stupid. And he snapped back. And we fought for the first time in a long time.
I ended up in the bedroom while he went to the living room and debated with himself about why I was acting so strangely. Meanwhile, seated on our bed, I began to think about how easy their life would be without me. Bill could easily remarry because he is an awesome husband and father. I could just kill myself and that would be the end of the struggle.
Suicidal thoughts creep in
I believe that every suicide starts with one tiny thought, and from there, it grows. Unless quickly eradicated from the mind, one thought turns to two… and then a conversation… and then a plan. I’ve been down that path before, over 25 years ago, and a warning bell went off in my head.
Bill came to our bedroom to apologize and I blurted out, “I’m having suicidal thoughts.” We debated over whether or not I should call the doctor right away but out of fear they would refer me to the emergency room… and then a mental institution… we decided that I would call in the morning.
Bright and early, my doctor wired a prescription to our pharmacy and on our way out to dinner, we picked it up. There in the soft ambiance of our favorite restaurant, I gleefully swallowed the first antidepressant pill I had put in my body in over two weeks. I warned my sweet husband that it might take several days to get back into my system, but by the next afternoon, I felt better already.
I feel awkward admitting to other Christians that I have a problem with depression because, after all, the joy of the Lord is our strength. But my joy comes with a little white label: Zoloft (Sertraline) 100mg. One of my friends explained it to me this way… If a diabetic decided to stop taking her medication, what would happen? Then, how can I deprive myself of what my body needs and expect a different result?
Accepting what God gives you
Why do I suffer from chronic depression that needs to be treated with medication? I have no idea. Was it something my mother ate while pregnant with me or something her mother ate when pregnant with her? Is it something in the air I breathe? Is it a chemical in my fabric softener. Truly. I don’t think we will ever know.
All I can say for certain is that I am depressed. And I am accepting that.
I need medication. I am no longer fighting that.
God has allowed me to suffer with chronic depression for today, when after three years of spilling my life out into the blogosphere, I have suddenly shared with you that I battle depression.
What if this burden I have carried for so long is because someone out there needed to know that they are not alone?
Could it be that they needed to know that depression happens to good people, to great moms, and sometimes, we just need some help?
Why? What if? Could it be?
More encouragement for mothers
- Mommy, Will You Marry Me?
- Encouragement for the Mother Dealing with Autism
- A Homeschooling Mother Confesses Laziness
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