"You are a high functioning manic depressive" - my therapist, two years ago.
Nailed it. Totally nailed it. How on earth did it take almost 20 freaking years to know this about myself? Crawling into a hole several times a year for three or four days...and it never occurred to me that I might suffer from depression. Instead I thought:
1. I was subconsciously sad about the deaths of my mother and brother (which of course is partly true).
2. I was lazy (because I stayed in bed).
Most people don't really know this about me. Well, that's not true. Since my divorce, I have actually been very vocal about it with friends and family. And, I am pretty sure my dad, sister, Dan, and Seja probably knew in their own ways all along (it's hard to cover these things up when you live with someone). But before that, people in my life probably had no clue. I've received the following comment a zillion times: "You are always happy." The comment never bothered me; it actually made me quite proud. But being happy all of the time is not something to be proud of. In most cases, it probably means you are ignoring or suppressing the sad-mad-angry-etc side of you. That side is so important.
I began seeing a therapist six years ago when I left my career working with kids. I was distraught; I absolutely loved my work. I remember at my first session, my therapist asked me to tell her why I was there and then to give her a little background about myself (family, hobbies, etc). I didn't mention family (except for my husband), which she caught on to. She inquired and I said, "I am very close with my sister and father. My brother and mother both died when I was a teenager. But, that's NOT what I am here for." And it truly wasn't. She respected that and never brought it up again. She let me open that door when I was ready (which I did).
The pivotal point in my depression discovery was when I got pregnant. I was in utter despair. I can't explain why; I didn't know why. It was bad. My OB/GYN said that this is quite normal and she recommended a mild antidepressant. It helped. A lot. But... I truly thought it was a pregnancy thing.
Fast forward four months later (May 21 to be exact- all the bad things that have happened in my life have occurred on the 21st), I found out my husband/best friend/soulmate was gay. Whoooooooossshhhhh. That's the sound of my downward spiral. It was harder than anything in my life, but this time I was proactive- crying, therapy, medication, doctor, leaning on family and eventually friends, etc. In August, I had my darling baby girl and they doubled my medication without discussion to prevent postpartum depression / a total breakdown. My doctor told me to stay on it for 6 months and then we'd talk about waning. Before I could reach that six months though, I hit another bottom...further down.
An important side note during this part of the timeline: I was/am an avid reader of dooce.com, a blog written by the articulate, funny, honest Heather Armstrong. You've probably heard of it, as it is world famous. But if not, check it out. Anyway, I recalled reading her posts about depression. I went back and read all of them. I won't go into her whole story, but she basically gave me three things: the ability to recognize I suffer from depression, the knowledge/advice to get and use help because it exists, and you are no less of person for suffering from depression.
Back on track... They added another anti-depressant to my current one and I felt better almost immediately. It was probably partly because of the medicine, but I think it was mostly because that was the first time that I admitted to myself that I suffered from depression, that it wasn't going to go away, and that I needed help...forever.
I went to see my therapist and I remember saying, "I think I suffer from depression." She smiled and said, "you are a highly functioning manic depressive." And I smiled and said, "you're right." I instantly felt lighter.
I still have episodes, but they are fewer and less intense. I am still on the same medications and will probably never go off of them. I continue to see my therapist, but really only on a "as-needed" basis.
Ok, so I write this post for these reasons:
1. To remind myself that I will get through it
2. To document my experience for my daughter
3. To thank the people who "saved" me: my dad, my biological sister, my OB/GYN, my therapist, my boss, my crew of sisters (they know who they are), an old high school friend, Heather Armstrong, my ex-husband, my daughter, my boyfriend (wow- how lucky am I??)
That's pretty much it. I only have a handful of readers, all of whom probably know this stuff about me.
So, there it is... the depression post that I've been meaning / wanting to write for a long time.
Stay tuned for the upcoming, uplifting (ha!) "divorce post" and "my thoughts on suicide" post.
I've been reading this website (about 300 women who changed the world) for awhile now. I was ecstatic when I saw the inclusion of gymnast Vera Caslavska, a former Czech gymnast. She is basically the most successful gymnast in history (along with Larissa Latynia), having won more Olympic medals than any gymnast ever. This is not why she made the list however (not the major reason, that is). Take a look at this video. I get goosebumps every time I watch it. Also, read more about her awesomeness here.
Audrey has officially entered the "why phase." I have to admit, it's more exhausting than I thought it would be and I often want to take the "because" or "because I said so" route. However, it's much more fun to go all the way in the conversation.
Just a quick one...
Audrey (after leaving Target): "Mama, where did the sun go?"
Mama: "The sun went away to let us know it's nighttime and it's time to go to bed... but in the morning, the sun will come back out and tell us to wake up and have a good day."
While studying today, I ate an entire box of vanilla wafers (somewhat stale- the only way to eat them)! Then I started eating these chocolates, but stopped when I saw the words "milk chocolate flavored." Ewww.
My reaction every time someone tells Audrey she's cute or pretty or a princess or beautiful. Sometimes out loud (in front of close friends) and sometimes internally. Not that I don't think those are wonderful compliments, because I do. Just want to keep some balance :).
Lately Audrey and I have been going to Barnes & Noble on some weeknights. It's closer than the library and right between her school and our home. It's just nice for a quick trip. They have a storytelling stage that Audrey dances on for about 30 minutes. I need to get video.
Anyway, this is the book Audrey insisted I read... several times. I want to let Audrey make her own choices when it comes to reading, activities, etc. so they are her own and not mine... so I read it (and cringed internally the entire time).
This is possibly the worst book of all time. To see how horrible, you need to go to this amazon link, so you can see the interior.
Just a few words and names used in this book (it's like they crammed in every "girlish" interest into one book: princesses, marriage, fairies, movie stars, clothes, best friends, boyfriend trouble):
"Gloss Angeles" ~ stylists ~ Princess Graciella ~ Raquelle ~ Zane ~ Crystal ~ fairies ~ opening night ~ movie ~ wedding ~ spotlight ~ red carpet ~ love potion ~ Lilliana Roxelle ~ wings ~ island floating in the sky ~ spell ~ palace ~ "fairy phone" ~ teleporting
If you follow women's gymnastics, you're probably super tired of the boring skill-skill-skill beam routines. Every gymnast does the same skills because they code sucks so bad. Front ariel, BHS, LO, front tuck, bad sheep jump, wolf jump, split jump, double tuck or 2.5 twist dismount. Blah, blah, blah.
This is what beam USED to look like (when it was my favorite event)...
Oh, and don't say "but she wobbled" or something like that. That's not what it's about. It's about execution, artistry, extension, and DIFFICULTY (I put that in all caps b/c these routines are so much more difficult than today's)!
NOTE: If you click the link on the top of the video, it will open in a large browser.
#3 Kui Yuanyuan ~ 1997 Worlds
#2 Yang Bo - 1989 Worlds (age limits were lower back then + I could care less how old a gymnast is if she can do this!). The dismount is so sad though.
#3 Olessia Dudnik - 1989 Worlds (tidbit: we considered naming Audrey after this gymnast; I loved her lightness and quiet style). Dismount is again sad. She has done this perfectly, but I can't seem to find a decent quality vid.
The working out probably isn't very surprising to anyone who knows me since I used to work out religiously. However, since I had Audrey and Dan moved, it has been so hard. Now that I am a full-time student, I have a little more time. And, my health depends on it. I've been having back spasms on a regular basis and hopefully the increased movement and stretching will help. I'm sure it will.
I baked dark chocolate pumpkin muffins and they are pretty darn good. And healthy! Whole wheat and all that :).
I have purchased many groupons. Today there is a groupon for $50 worth of American Apparel products for just $25. On the groupon it states:
"Socially responsible, sweatshop-free clothier with wide variety of
garment styles & versatile accessories for men & women"
What a bunch of crap. The CEO of American Apparel, Dov Charney, has been accused of and sued for sexual harassment so many times, it's hard to keep count. This is NOT social responsibility. Please do NOT purchase this groupon or shop at American Apparel ever again.
They also have the most sexually exploitive advertising. See the below advertisement for the "riding pant" (this is a very MILD example) I wouldn't care that much about this if their target audience didn't include minors, which is does.