October 27, 2014

Feeling Hopeless Rather Than Fearless Vol 1

I've been thinking about sharing my experience with depression for quite sometime, but I've only just worked up the courage to write about it.  I have actually been dealing with depression indirectly and directly my whole life.  My mom has depression and so does my sister, and I've been the lucky one stuck right in the middle of their issues with depression and each other for several years.
I'm also no stranger to dealing with my own setbacks in life that have brought on bouts of depression.  Personally, I've never considered myself as having depression; I know that sadness, setbacks, disappointments, struggles, etc are not the same thing as depression.  Depression engulfs your day-to-day life, it interferes with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and even have fun.  The feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness are intense and unrelenting with little, if any, relief.  For over a year now, I've been dealing with depression so much that I can now admit it and talk about it!
In the past I had been so busy navigating through my mom's and sister's depression, that I never had the chance to stop and actually take care of myself, and everything hit me all at once as soon as I moved to Texas, away from their issues.  It was like a huge wave of my own issues came crashing down on top of me and I didn't realize what was happening.
If anyone has ever been involved with a depressed person, you know they can be selfish people; it's the nature of the disease. By selfish and and nature of the disease I mean:  When you're depressed, you feel hopeless and sad, and in turn all you're actually thinking about is yourself.  "How can I get out of this train of thought?"  "Why am I feeling this way?"  "I never used to feel this way."  "I just want to feel good again."  "I don't remember what it feels like to be happy."  These kinds of questions if asked too often, day-in and day-out, can get you stuck in a selfish train of thought of thinking about you!  (I don't mean the kind of selfishness that is rude, I mean the inability to get out of ones own negative self talk, constantly thinking about their own issues.  I got in a lot of trouble for writing about the selfish aspect of depression last year, which kind of proved my point.  When you're depressed are you even capable of caring for others? Sometimes I have a hard time caring for myself let alone anyone else. Isn't that the basic definition of selfish?)
When I moved to Texas, I would get phone calls from my family, but they usually were unhappy with me because I hadn't called them enough, or I wasn't understanding their situations better.  I even flew my sister to Texas, wanting to help her and give her a break from her normal day-to-day sadness. . .  when all the time I felt like I was drowning.   
My depression hasn't been the normal typical kind of depression you see on Prozac commercials.  My depression has been aggressive, leaving me with feelings of anger and rage.  I don't sleep much, and I've had a few panic attacks mixed in here and there.  I've had to talk myself into being interested in anything really, and I've had to tell myself to keep caring about important things such as my religion, our business, our children, our animals, my health, life in general, etc.
I'm blessed to have a patient and kind husband who has helped me through this wild ride we've been on the last year and a half or so.  I feel guilty that I've put him through all of this, but we've also grown closer dealing with this together.  Now that I can admit and know that I am experiencing depression, I can get help, and I can even help myself.  I catch myself when I slip into those dangerous selfish trains of thought, I'm consciously aware of my emotions, and I even give myself down days to rest.  It can be tiring to have to talk yourself into doing things that were once just routine.

 Everyday is a battle, but one I'm willing to fight so I can get back to feeling fearless rather than hopeless.  

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