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Depression. There. I Said It.November 2, 2012

If you've been hanging 'round here at Chez Yarnagogo for any length of time at all, you'll know I'm predictable in the way that every six months or so, I end up writing something that some might think is too personal (and yep, this complaint does land every now and again in my inbox. Hey, if  you don't like what I write about it, I will stop coming to your house and holding the words in front of your eyes. All you have to do is ask. I thought you liked it when I did that). 

This, my friends, is gonna be personal. 

When I had my hysterectomy in May, I intended to go on estrogen-replacement therapy. I was 39, and after doing research, I'd decided it was the sensible choice for me. Unfortunately, it turned out that I have an extremely rare and potentially fatal form of estrogen-dependent angioedema, and can't take estrogen in any form (no supplements, no soy, no phyto-, no bio-identical, nothin'). 

So I hit menopause like a juice glass hits a tile floor. 

The doc said I could expect all the symptoms, but I haven't had one single hot flash or a moment of crazy emotional rage. I actually started sleeping better.

But my only other symptom was a doozy: Depression. 

I was sad, yo. And at first, I didn't recognize it for what it was. I just called it brain fog. I couldn't connect with anyone, couldn't seem to hold an intelligent conversation. I went to a writing convention and cried my way through it, thinking I was just being overly sensitive. Everything was out of focus and so difficult. During that time simply going to the post office was too hard for me to figure out. I felt bone-tired and got more exhausted every day. At home, I started sleeping in, something I never do. One day I was in bed looking at the noon-time sun reflected onto the ceiling, unwilling to move. I thought to myself, Why am I lying in bed? This is what depressed people do. I'm not depressed. Thud. Wait for it . . . Oh. 

I talked to my doctor, and even though I failed her Depression Quiz (there's a fun afternoon!), I rejected her recommendation for medication. I also rejected therapy. Now, I LOVE therapy and sign up for it whenever I think I can use an intelligent outside perspective on a confusing or difficult situation, but this was not situational depression. Love life was good. Family was good. Friends were good. Both jobs were good. I was happy with my life. I just wasn't happy, and the move from always happy to unbearably sad took exactly the four weeks it took for the estrogen to leave my body. So I knew it wasn't therapy I needed.

Now, I know I'm lucky. I don't know from depression.I've had situational depression, the kind of depression that comes from life's hardships like losing a loved one. Grief happens. Depression in those cases is natural and (usually) eases with time. But me? I'm one of those happy-chemicals people. And I've always, ALWAYS said that if my happy-chemicals changed for any reason, I'd march myself up to the pharmacy line and get me some of the good stuff. I understood in layman's terms the idea of serotonin reuptake, and I'd studied the way serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine function in the brain. I held no judgment, none at all, for people who chose to assist their brains' chemistry and functionality. 

When my joy and positivity plunged along with my hormone levels, I was astonished to find I totally rejected this option for myself. 

Without knowing it, I'd bought into the stigma that medication brings along with it. I'm not sure if it comes from having a mother who didn't take a single Vicodin after her hysterectomy because she could tough her way through it, but I was surprised by how desperately I wanted to try to fix my depression myself first. 

(I realize that some of you are, or have been, clinically depressed for a great part of your life. My friends, I can't imagine your struggle. I fought it for a few months, and so often I thought, This is TERRIBLE. They aren't kidding! I commend you for everything you've ever tried or done to make yourself feel better. It's so hard, and I only got a taste. Please know that I understand I'm very lucky to have been born with the positive chemicals, so lucky that I haven't had to struggle more with this in my life.) 

I told my doc I wanted to fix myself. I read books, lots of 'em. I learned our brains have to have exercise in order to keep the right levels of serotonin/norepinephrine/dopamine. Ha! Exercise! That's what you feel like doing when you're so sad you can't get out of bed. But I started running again, because I am nothing if not stubborn. I took it like medicine, trying to exercise every day, even though I hated it. 

I'd already changed my diet, eliminating dairy, sugar, wheat and all other grains, as well as the nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants). I didn't think I could get any healthier in that respect, but I did cut back on my optional sugar-of-choice, wine (which is, obviously, a depressant).  

I waited to feel happier. Instead, I just ate well, ran around the block and on the treadmill and kept crying. I hid this from you pretty well, didn't I? I might have dropped a mention or two of it on twitter and here at the blog, but I'm pretty damn adept at functioning as a happy-looking individual even when I'm not. No one at work had any idea. Many friends didn't know.

I hid it because I'm known for being happy. Someone has nicknamed me "Sunshine" at every job I've ever had. It was a huge part of who I was, and I was proud of it. (I wonder now if I'd have been so proud had I known that happiness was so dependent on my hormones?) And I hid my depression because I knew--it had been drilled into me from all parts of society--that being depressed is wrong, and trying to fix it with medicine is EVEN WORSE. It would mean that I was crazy and/or incompetent and/or untrustworthy. I am none of those things. So my knee-jerk reaction was NO THANK YOU NO DRUGS FOR ME BACK OFF NOW. 

But a month into trying to fix myself with diet, supplements, acupuncture, yoga, talking to friends, and exercise, I broke. I called my doctor and, literally through sobs, asked for the pills. I went on Celexa that day. Two days into the treatment, I stopped crying. Two weeks into the treatment, I felt better. Six weeks in, I felt normal again. 

It's been a few months now, and this---> I feel normal. 

Normal again! I'm not living in a haze. I can communicate with people. I sing again (the fact that I hadn't been singing had been so weird. I didn't sing in the car or while working in the kitchen. I hadn't even chalked it up to depression, I just had the odd thought perhaps I was getting too old to sing all the time. So it was very, very nice when the singing came back). Now I feel wild bursts of joy at random moments, just like I used to. I also get stressed out and overtired and snappish and grumpy, all mixed in again with my regular, even-keeled mood. 

Normal.

The thing I'd most worried about when going on the medicine--that my creativity would suffer somehow, would change--hasn't happened. The only thing that's changed is that I sit at my writing eagerly again, instead of dragging myself to the page. My words come out sharper because I'm sharper. And I'm still completely me. I just feel like I put on the right emotional glasses and things are in focus. 

Sure, I'm nervous hitting Publish on this post. My boss reads my blog, for Pete's sake. (Hi, Denise!) Especially in my day-job field, the world of police and fire, being on depression meds was really stigmatized for a long time. You could lose your job for it. That coloring made an indelible impression on me. I'm also nervous because of that volunteer job I really want--what if they read this post and think I'm nuts? Yep, super nervous. But I've never regretted sharing myself here, ever. So I'm gonna hit that Publish button and squeeze my eyes shut tight and maybe take a little nap and have a smoothie later. 

This is what I think: let's talk to people about depression, directly and honestly. Tell those you love you need help with figuring this shit out. Encourage those you love to accept the help they need. IT'S NOT WRONG to be depressed, and there are things that can truly help you feel better. (And the thing I hear most when I do bring it up? "Oh, I don't want to go on that, it might affect my sex life." Dude, your LIFE is affecting your sex life when you're depressed. Don't buy that line. Sex is a lot more playful and fun when you're happy.) 

I deserved to feel better. I deserved to find the things that would help. For me, it's diet, exercise, and medicine. You deserve to figure out what makes you feel better.

Big love.

Comments

Once, when sharing my experiences with depression, an acquaintance looked at me and said (and I swear this is true) "what in the world do you have to be depressed about?!" As though she knew everything about me and thought I was just being a petulant child. Suffice it to say, she never moved from acquaintance to friend.

Thanks for sharing, seriously, because comments like I faced are totally inappropriate, but the only way to change peoples' minds is to talk about things.

You are one of my heros for many reasons, including putting this out here. Thank you!

I had a hysterectomy 20 years ago and had a bad bout of depression afterwards; it's a case of "been there, done that",so I can understand just what you have been going through.
So glad you are feeling better - lots of love and hugs to you!

Big kisses. Thats all!

Thanks Rachael. I too have had situation depression which passed with time and, occasionally, a bit of therapy that gave me a chance to vent. First time that happened, I told the doc, "I think I'm going crazy, I feel so depressed." Then I proceeded to tell him what had been going on for the past few years (multiple deaths - this was at the height of the AIDS epidemic.) His response was to say, "You'd be crazy if you WEREN'T depressed!"

Then, several years ago, a depression crept up that, at first, I thought was related to a situation. So I did all the usual stuff and just felt worse and worse and worse as the months rolled by. My body started falling apart as my depression got worse. My asthma was at its all-time worst and I was gaining massive amounts of weight. I blamed myself for not being a "good" person and exercising enough, eating perfectly (I already ate very cleanly and healthily.) I think I blamed myself because that way, if it was something I was doing wrong, maybe I could figure it out and fix it myself (control freak anyone?) I hit the point of wishing I would die. I wasn't actually suicidal in that I wasn't planning on killing myself, I just found myself hoping that whatever was going on in my body would kill me and stop the downward cycle.

In my case, I tried anti-depressants and, while they did help some, over the ensuing months, it just got worse and worse. To add to it, I was commuting back and forth from the Himalayas, where I run a clinic for refugees, to the U.S. where I was raising money for said clinic. I loved my life, except I didn't; I couldn't handle it anymore. I could barely get up and out of bed and the anti-depressants didn't help with that. I was in a fog ALL the time. I couldn't walk 10 feet without wheezing. This is the brief version; the reality was a lot more complicated.

Then... In spring of 2010, I ended up in the hospital in Chandigarrh, India where they said I was 24 hours from dying of congestive heart failure. My thyroid had tanked - my immune system had destroyed it. This left my body without iron, unable to extract oxygen from the air I was breathing, thus the heart failure!

Two and a half years later I finally have my thyroid levels back at normal through the appropriate meds. My heart repaired itself with medication, time and (especially) exercise once it had regular oxygen delivery again. Most important of all though - the fog has lifted, the depression is waaaay less and I love my life again. I still take an anti-depressant every day. Maybe always will due to the changes in brain chemistry that have occurred. I am the "Joy" who earned her name among her friends! I'm back in my beloved mountains, doing the things I love. I have some permanent damage and still have trouble walking and breathing, but I can get around well enough and I don't wake up crying every morning! If I don't take my meds or if my immune system gets particularly aggressive again, I know the symptoms, the depression, the fog, the hair loss, all of it, but mostly the depression. And I can do something about it. It wasn't my fault. It wasn't something wrong with my attitude or my eating or my exercise. It was a chronic illness. A MANAGEABLE chronic illness.

Body changes can lead to emotional changes. You were right, Rachael, that you didn't need talk therapy, but you did need some biochemical adjustment after your hysterectomy. I'm really grateful that you got it and even more grateful that you shared it with the rest of us. Thank you for your courage!

And, being the wordy b***h that I am, I realized I wanted also to thank Susan, above, for her perspective. During the 2 years I was struggling to get my illness under control, even with anti-depressants, I found therapy really helpful for venting my frustration with the circumstances and for helping me learn techniques for coping better with both disability and family/friends expectations. Okay and my own expectations needed some adjustment too ;-) I was fortunate to have the most amazing therapist ever. She's high on the list of Goddesses I have known!

I have had depression on and off since my early 20's and have always managed but admitted just over a month ago that I was on the edge and was not coping. I have had therapy before and have a pretty good understanding of where I'm at and decide that medication was the sensible option.

I now feel like I can meet a friend for coffee and plan a holiday, things that would have been too much effort less than a month ago. I was worried about the stigma but on eventiually telling my friends, 2 told me they have taken meds for years. I hope to come off them in 6-9 months but am so enjoying feeling NORMAL again.

Thank you for your post

Oh, I just reading your posts. Glad you're feeling better and happier.

Good for you, Rachel!! I'm so happy you are finally feeling better. It takes a lot of courage to face any kind of psychological disorder (even though it may be induced by real physiological reasons) and even more to talk about it! I totally understand how you feel about taking medication, too. It's too bad more people don't talk about these things, then there wouldn't be so much stigma attached to the fact that we don't all (i.e. most of us)have perfectly functioning bodies and psyches. There is no shame in that, it just is. There could be a lot more people living happier lives if they did exactly what you have done and found some relief. If you had diabetes you would take medication wouldn't you? Mental health is no different. I'm proud of you for sharing and very happy that you are feeling so much better! Bless you for having the courage to share your story and perhaps cause a light to go on in someone else's mind!

It is SO HARD sometimes for me to come to terms with my depression. It's a work in progress, and I still haven't found a balance. Like you, I get complimented on my cheerfulness at my jobs. A coworker once asked me how I can always be so happy at work. I told him, "It's easy because it's all an act."
Of course, I said it with a smile on my face, so I doubt he believed me. Truth is, I work part-time, and the 4 hours that I spend at work are the absolute pinnacle when it comes to feeling like I've accomplished something in my life. When I leave, I can't do any more than sit, watch Netflix or play Glitch, and cry. *sigh*

A loved one had depression so bad that they ended up in the hospital. Treatment brought that person back to me. You keep up what you are doing, you're loved ones want you. Trust me, I know.

Thanks for sharing this Rachael. I've been battling this depression thing on and off for quite a while. I've been hiding the way I feel so well, for so long, I've sort of lost myself in the fake self that I show to others -- it's not pretty having this false face up constantly. I'm not even sure who I really am because of this. I realize that I do need help but I just can't get any, so I'm sort of just doing the exercising thing, reading all hours of the night when I feel like crying, or just lying awake and running over all the things that are causing this feeling. I also just keep myself extrodinarily busy. I also knit. A lot. (As a matter of fact, it was one of the reasons why I made the chioce to knit every project in Knitting Workshop.) And I'm starting to say just a few things that I think. (If I said everything I thought nobody would still be speaking to me.)

By the way, I work the local non-profit circut pretty well,(part of the keeping busy thing) and I can tell you applications are pretty much just a formality for these things -- they are dying of lack of labour. At George Marks, they probably just want to make sure your not some child hurter.

Thank you for your honesty and bravery... every time someone speaks about mental health in this way, it changes the world for the better. We all deserve to feel happy, and live fulfilling lives. And, we deserve to be the best possible version of ourselves, for the sake of those we love.

I have struggled with depression on-and-off for years, and finally found the medicine (Zoloft) that helps me be ME again. My doctor and I adjust the dosage as I need to, and I can't even begin to tell you how much more productive I have been these past few years: I went back to school, earned another degree, and now have a job that I love. I'm a better mother to my three girls, and I hope my openness and honesty with them about my situation has given them a strong, positive model to follow in their own lives.

My writing is better. My KNITTING is better.

Life in general is just BETTER.

I have accepted that I will likely be taking meds for the rest of my life. But, when life feels THIS much better, I'm absolutely fine with that fact.

Wishing you all the best-- xo CGF

This is a beautiful post, and you are a beautiful person - and you are totally NOT crazy, so stop worrying about that :)

You. Rock. That is all.

First, huge hugs to you! Second, thank you so much for being brave enough to speak and share your truth regarding depression. As a therapist, I wish that there were more people speaking up so that my clients didn't so often feel alone. Again, thank you!

You are a strong and beautiful woman and I so admire your courage! I'm so glad to call you friend.

You're an inspiration Rachael. I can only say ditto to everything everyone else has already said. You've given me pause for thought too though, as I stopped singing and thought I knew why (nasty person at work) but perhaps I need to just start again and push on through for I do miss it and the fact is that singing is part of who I am.

Rachael, You ROCK!! I totally understand - for me it is anxiety that makes me depressed and the Celexa worked well until i was taking too many milligrams that they went to Lexapro:-) and I'm a happier camper because of it! lots of hugs and when i have my thoughts in better order I will come back in here and write a much longer response:-) lots and lots of hugs!
karola

I am totally in awe of you, your writing and your ability to share in such a way that I felt as if you were speaking ONLY to me. Thank you.

Hi Rachel,
This post persuaded me to take the zoloft my doctor has been encouraging. Can you speak at all to the initial side effects you experienced? Because after three days I am feeling awful, almost non-functional with dizziness, sweating, chest pains, stomach pains and just a general weird, spaced out feeling. I don't want to give up, but need some reassurance that it will be worth all this. Not sure how I will be able to work or take care of my kid in this coming week.

THANK YOU, Rachael. Thank you so much for talking about this: depression, your struggle, your happiness, everything. I'm one of those people who's always struggled with depression ... and recently made the decision to start medication for the third time, after years of trying to "do it on my own." Knowing, at 32, that it will probably be for the rest of my life. And learning, slowly, how to open up and talk about it. You described so perfectly what it feels like. Thank you.

Big hats off to you! The best writers are always the ones who are honest - especially honest in a brave, no slinking around kind of way. So glad to her you are feeling normal again and thank you for writing (then sharing) this post :)

Good for you, girl. And thank you -- I had no idea that brain fog was a symptom of depression. I thought I had just become lazy in mind and body, but now I can see that it was something else entirely. What a difference a little bit of information makes!

Rock on, Rachael! Thanks for opening up this dialog further. The more people talk about depression, the more people will understand and recognize and be kind (to themselves and others).

Thank you for posting about depression. So many people won't admit it or get the help they need. I am SO glad you are better!!

Awesome post. I have been in therapy and on antidepressants for 12 years now, and I have always been vocal about the need to de-stigmatize depression and its treatment. Thank you for adding your voice to the discussion and making it clear that medication doesn't stop your creativity or stop you from having emotions. Bravo to you for having the strength to choose medication and talk about it!

@Kristin - don't give up! But DO talk to your doctor about your side effects.

I had scary side effects my first two weeks, but I knew they should get better within the month. One night while laying in bed I felt my whole face and neck start to go numb from one side to the other! (and that wasn't a listed side effect!)

I also had a general feeling that something weird was happening in my brain. I couldn't begin to explain some of the weird side effects I had.

However, by the third week they started to subside and my doctor said the key was to decide if they were a real danger or if they 'hindered' me. I made it through and it was worth it.

So, maybe your symptoms will subside, or maybe you need a different medication. The most important thing is to TALK about it with your doctor...or even call your local pharmacist. Most pharmacists are more than happy to help and they know LOADS about medications and side effects. Hope this helps....

Oh, Sunshine, I had no idea! (I had no idea about the money pit either and boy-o-boy, have I been there). I think I've been depressed every year of my life from October to April. Nothing is good. No one likes me. I don't like me. All it is is fog and feeding the cows and studying so maybe I can do something besides live in the fog and feed the cows. It hit me today like an evil demon dancing on the fish fillet knife stuck in my eye. I couldn't even leave the house, nor want to. It is an evil black dog which dogs my steps. Every train whistle in the night? Shoot! A lost chance. Every giant big tree I drive by makes me think of driving really fast and seeing if my car would survive that kind of head on. It is horrible. I can't think, can't plan...what kind of life IS this? Then I had children, one whose idea of depression is having pillow wrinkles on her face and the other has spend time in lock down places because his depression involved knives. I told him today what a time I am having and he hugged me and told me he really understood. And he does. And so do you. And it gets better (only because depression demons have to keep you propped up so they can torture you some more.)
What would work for me, back in the day when I was working would to be to pop my own "Come to Jesus" CD in, crank it up and sing. Usually, just before I turned in at the gates, I'd be singing "Oh, Happy Day" from Sister Act. Then I could flip that switch and act like sunshine until it was time to slog out of the gates.
So I get you doll. And I'm only an email away.

I salute the amount of courage that it took to push "publish" on this post. Depression is AWFUL. I so appreciate your discussing the "fighting the meds" atttitide, the stigma of "oh cant you handle this on your own?" or "get some excersize" mentality( like I hadnt already tried all that). After my hysterectomy, I decided that my uterus must have been the cause of all my problems in life, so I stopped all meds. Yup, tossed the Prozac for OCD, and refused HRT. During the six months of no meds, I excersized, changed eating habits, meditated,prayed,and still, I was bat shit crazy, in bed crying, or binge eating. I thought I hid it well and when I finally confessed to my sister, who is a nurse, she told me the TRUTH about my behavior(which was apparent to everyone except me) and to get back on my meds ASAP, and to NEVER do that again. Her "permission/insistence is what turned the tide of madness. So there ya have it.....Trust the people who love you Brave Girl and publish on!

FANTASTIC!! Have you any idea how well you write and how many souls are grateful that you share?!
THANK YOU!!

Amen, sister! I went through almost the exact same process as you did before I "gave in" and started taking Celexa. It has changed my life (for the better). I am shocked at how awful I felt before I started taking it. And I am one of those people who refused to take any pills for any reason. I have learned, through my own experience--medicine is wonderful when it is used wisely. And antidepressants are godsends for those who are depressed.

If you don't get enough vitamin D you get rickets. Not enough vitamin c = scurvy. Get my drift?
Not enough serotonin or other brain chemicals and you get depression.
I often use the "you wouldn't try to ride your bicycle with a broken leg?" argument; so why try to battle depression without the right tools?
Medical stigma infuriates me on a daily basis.
Glad you're feeling better kiddo.

When I was in my lateish twenties, my partner and I spent our first year or marriage in counselling. And fighting. He was bewildered by almost everything I said, and I was angry and frustrated. I was miserable and sad and lonely, and I avoided spending time with friends and family because I felt like putting on a happy face was lying. Lying lying lying. One day, sitting on the living-room couch in my pajamas in the afternoon, I started out the window and realized I'd spent pretty much a whole month in my pajamas on the living room couch. Something in my brain clicked and I started going through a list in my mind. Lost interest in things? Check. Eating too little or too much? Check. Sleeping too little or too much? Check. I didn't know what to do about it, but after about a year and a half of misery, I'd realized I was depressed.

Coincidentally, despite that mess, I decided to go off the birth-control pill I'd been taking for years. Wouldn't you know, three weeks to the day after I stopped taking it, I woke up one morning and recognized myself. We had a therapy appointment that day, and I was all, "Oh my god. Of course he didn't think I was making any sense. I wasn't making any sense at all. I felt terrible, and I blamed him, and it was unfair and awful."

Greg and I had a lot to talk about, given the circumstances. Things changed so dramatically for me that we were able to talk about "before" and "after". We grew a lot. And I became quite concerned about anything that might mess with my hormones. When we talked about trying to have a baby, we talked a lot about my fear of losing my mind. After I had to terminate an ectopic pregnancy (miscarriage and pathological pregnancy being another thing I wish people would talk more openly about) and we learned, finally, that I have endometriosis, we talked for quite a long time with my doctor about my fear of recurring depression if I were to go back on the Pill.

Thankfully, I've been on the Pill for several years now, with no terrible side effects. But Greg's on the watch. He now knows that he'd be the one to notice any signs of depression long before I would.

Anyway, that's my story. Like you, I feel very lucky to know my experience of depression was related to something I could easily control, and I never had to face having to accept a lifelong struggle with it.

Here's to more talking and openness and acceptance. Sending a great big hug, and a high five.

Dear Rachael
I just visited your blog having not read it for many months. It must have been meant to be. Thank you for your wonderful post.

Just 2 weeks ago I admitted to myself that I was, too - wait for it - yup Depressed. Like you, I am the eternal optimist - always up and happy with a pretty darn wonderful life. What right did I have to be unhappy? So I avoided thinking about it for many months.

So just last week I saw a therapist and talked to a naturopath. Working this through. Vitamins especially B12 seem to help me, as well as exercise and less wine (sigh).

I want to climb out of this. I want to find my happy again...Thank you for sharing your situation. Really helps to know I'm not alone.

Oh I could tell. Little things, but they were there. It was a valiant effort, and you did good! I have very well honed depression senses. My two daughters suffer from it and have all their lives. Why? I have no idea. I have been sad, when it seems appropriate mostly, sometimes less so, but never all the time without respite. My eldest daughter at 32 has tried suicide twice. She has been hospitalized (Mom got to check her in both times,what a wart of a day!) two times, and received little help. Therapy is not working, meds have not helped, doctors are kind but do little and do not seem comfortable with a lovely girl crying in their office. My youngest daughter, 18, suffers from massive anxiety and depression. She has some possible health reasons for her mental anguish but no medicine has really helped her. They both have addictions to self harm. So, do I have depression? I have no idea. You said something in your wonderful and brave post, "why don't we talk about it?" Amen sister. I have heard health care personnel and acquaintances say "Why don't you just snap out of it!" to my daughter. What a first rate, prime cut idea! I probably have said way to much and you may remove the post, with no offense. But when I first read what you wrote, I thought, "Oh I knew deary" Thank Sandy for the story! I was a blast, and just what I needed:)

Mwah! Mwah! Mwah! You brave girl! So glad you feel better. I can relate. Thanks for risking telling the truth. It does more good than you may know.

I think the main pursuit in anyone's life is happiness. Do what works for you ....I'd be the last person to judge as it takes different things for different people. Bless you dear for being able to talk about it in your own way:)

Thank you for sharing that. My family is full of people who suffer from depression and I always thought I was the one who had "escaped" it. A few years ago I was at the doctor's office for my annual physical and he asked me if I realized that I was suffering from depression. He noticed a bunch of things that I hadn't even noticed myself. He asked if I wanted some help in the form of medication and I initially said no. By the end of the appointment I admitted to him and myself that, having always staunchly supported my family members on the fact that mental health was like any other health issue, I was denying myself the same support. I went on Wellbutrin and saw a change. I have realized lately, though, that the world is looking a little more gray and am going in to see the doctor again to see about switching or adding to the medication. I appreciate your posting because I started menopause at about the same time that I noticed the depression, and I am going to bring that to the table as well. It is a shame that there is still, for many people, a stigma attached to depression. I applaud you for hitting the publish button.

I'm so glad you're feeling normal. Love to you. And thank you! ;)

Hi :-)
I honestly NEVER really read blogs, but read yours from time to time, just to see what's cooking in that beautiful mind of yours. I have always appreciated your kind, playful and loving spirit. I haven't looked at your blog in so long. I logged on tonight to see if I could find out how many books you've actually published. I have only bought two, and thought there might be more. I will always buy your books because I like the way you write. I scanned your blog, and was intrigued by the "depression" title, so I read it. Rachael, it touched my heart and actually brought me to tears. You are so brave and wonderful for finding the words to share. It is my loss that we didn't really get to work together very much before you went to fire. I hope you know you are a light to many ... and sweetly touch even those you don't realize. I just wanted to comment and tell you that. We all have our journey's and crosses to bear. I am impressed at how you seem to embrace each and every one of them with such grace. You are truly a special soul, and I am happy to know you. xo hugs

Who is it that said "the greatest thing you can do for someone is to tell their story"? You just added to a very important body of stories on behalf of those who've experienced depression. Why so important? As a writer, you have the special gift of being able to clearly and potently tell that story when so many of us can't. Maybe someone else can sing it, or paint it -- but most just live it and the experience never gets conveyed to anyone else (resulting in LOTS of ignorance). Writing/telling reaches the most people and has the greatest effect. Thanks for posting.

Thank you so much for writing this. I like your writing, but this one I sent to my internist, my counselor, my massage therapist, my friend,... and it got me to start meds as well.

Glad to hear another person describe that moment as "brain fog"! I get the same symptoms but my counteractions were usually veggies or fruits to pop me out a while. I have a light bout of depression but never felt happier or more control of these odd emotions (odd being a present sensation of asking yourself why are you doing this and having no direct reply other than I am) ever since I got on some meds. I consider them my Life Stabilizers. They assist my brain chemicals to an even playing field to where I can become the master and redirect my thoughts and emotions with greater ease. Haven't been happier.

Now I need a better way of reminding myself to refill my prescription so I don't constantly forget and then miss days.

I can count my happy days on both hands. For me, depression is my normal and I hate anyone else to have to suffer through it...I mean, am I not enough of a sacrifice? Evidently the Depression Demons need more.

((to happy singing in the kitchen))

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.

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