Hi readers! Remember when I used to do depression profiles? Well, right after I had my baby an amazing lady emailed me hers and I was all psyched--er, um, I should probably clarify: excited--to post it and then completely spaced it for three months! Sandra, I am truly, genuinely sorry. If you are still reading, THANK YOU for sending me this. You are an amazing woman. Sandra's honesty about her struggles was touching and eye-opening for me. I hope it is for you all too.
Name: Sandra S.
Other facts: Active Mormon, mother of five, born in Mexico but adopted by Americans in the 1980s, married at 19 (just like me!), Rick's College graduate.
I was never depressed growing up. I developed post-partum depression after the birth of my first baby. I didn't know what it was. I didn't know what was going on with me. All I knew was that I wasn't happy. I didn't know if my marriage would last. I didn't know if I had married the right person or married for the right reasons. Our marriage really struggled during this difficult time which lasted about 2 years. Regardless of my feelings and struggles, we decided to have another baby. A miracle! No depression. No crying for no reason, I was generally happy. I had my 2nd baby and you guessed it, depression hit. This time, we were a little better prepared. I went to to the doctor who diagnosed me and put me on Zoloft.
Even though I had been diagnosed and put on medication, I didn't want people to know about it. I was ashamed. I don't know why. Maybe because I didn't want others to know how weak I was, how I couldn't control my feelings. I don't know. I didn't take my medication very regularly, so I still had some good days and bad days.
A bad day. A bad day is not wanting to get out of bed at all. It's wanting so bad to tell C. (Sandra's DH) that I want him to stay home and take care of the kids. Take care of me. It's also not wanting to verbally ask C. to stay home. I want him to read my mind. My physical language is screaming for him to stay home. But he doesn't stay home. He doesn't read my mind. Doesn't see the physical signs. Doesn't see them or doesn't want to. Sometimes I don't know. A bad day is also wanting to wish the kids away. Sometimes just for a few hours, sometimes forever. A bad day is looking for ways to end my life. A bad day is looking at my life and wondering if this is really what I wanted. Is this all I have? If it's not a particularly bad day, I can take a good, hard look and say, "Yes." Yes, this is what I wanted. Before depression took over and C. and I were dating, this is what we talked about. I wanted kids, wanted to stay home. Wanted to run them to school activities, sports, etc. I have that. So why can't I be happy?
A good day. A good day is being my old self again. Being who I was when we were dating. Being generally happy. Being carefree and glad I am a mom. Being glad I have 5 amazing kids. A good day is getting through it without being cross or short with my family. It's being able to feed them, instead of staying in bed all day. A good day is having me take care of the younger kids instead of asking the older ones to help more than they should. A good day is knowing that I will get through this. Somehow.
I have tried to get therapy for my depression. In the end, I just can't stick with it. I go and feel fine when I'm there, so I feel lame because if I feel ok, why should I be there? I feel ok when I go because you can't go out in public in tears. I can't cry in public. I can't show up being sad. I should show up happy and put together. So why would somebody that's happy and put together need therapy? I haven't tried an LDS therapist though. Maybe that would be worth looking into.
Currently I am taking 120mg of Cymbalta. I am told that's the highest dosage. I am not sure how that's working out. I don't know if it's the medicine or the depression that causes me to be tired all the time. After I get the older kids to school, I come home, turn on the tv for the little ones and they watch it all morning long while I try to sleep on the couch. No breakfast for them most mornings. Sometimes there's lunch. I think they have learned to fend for themselves a little and will sneak food from the kitchen to the basement. I just want to sleep all the time. What kind of mother am I being when I can't even feed my kids? I am crying as I'm typing this because it is so sad. So sad.
I believe depression runs in my family. I have 2 sisters that have struggled with this. I don't talk to them about it. I don't know why. I would really like my biological mom be here and help me through this. I miss her terribly. Sometimes thinking about her will set me off on a crying fit.
The depression has affected my spirituality a lot. I find myself really doubting the church. I haven't been to the temple in years and I really have no desire to go any time soon. I am in the YW organization which requires a lot of time. I love the girls and I do like my calling. Sometimes it's just too much though. I often wonder if the church will ever cut back on activities or meetings. I have asked C. for blessings but find myself wondering if it will really do any good. I have no faith sometimes. I wonder if I am being punished just because I am a woman. Because I am a woman, I have to have periods. Have babies. Be more emotional. Be more susceptible to depression. Be less likely to have orgasms. Men don't have periods, babies or anything emotional that comes with all that. But they do have orgasms. I know, orgasms are kind of random in here, but it's something that really bothers me.
So that's my profile. Sounds really lame and pathetic when it's written down. Oh, yeah. After our 4th baby we were done having kids. I wanted to be a good mom to the 4 we already had and didn't want to go through depression again. Surprise! A big, unexpected, unwanted surprise. I spiraled into a deep depression when I found out I was expecting. I did not want this again. When I went to the hospital to have the baby I really think I had an anxiety attack. I was crying for no reason all the time. I had to stay a little longer because I had high blood pressure and I couldn't handle the thought of bringing the baby home. None of the nurses recognized what was happening even though I'd be in tears whenever they came into the room. I had never gotten depressed at the hospital, it always hit me a few weeks after the baby was born. This was new and it scared me a lot. During that pregnancy, Craig had a vasectomy. That baby is 2 now and is such a fun little guy. It's still hard dealing with depression. Sometime even taking it 1 day at a time seems too much. One moment at a time seems more doable right now.
Sandra, I'm still praying for you and I hope you will keep me posted! You may not feel it but you are an inspiration for enduring the hard times.