Sunday, June 22, 2008

The big hit of depression

There are so many topics I want to cover in this little world of mine--my blog. Perhaps one that keeps coming to me is depression. It amazes me that society largely pokes fun at this, or ignores it, when it is so serious. So here I will put my story and my thoughts.

Back in November '07, I had an MS exacerbation which was treated, as usual, with oral steroids. In the past this treatment, though causing somewhat of an emotional roller coaster, gave me a time of uplifting--a brief period of time when my MS improved and I was inclined to clean the entire house.

But this time was different. Yes, I felt physically stronger. But rather than wanting to clean the house, I wanted to read my book. Then when I was done with the steroids, something else happened. I went into a downward emotional spiral. No one knew this but me, because I was being such a great actress. In fact, others probably thought I was happier than ever. When not around people I would cry--everywhere--to and from work--everywhere. I couldn't eat--looking at a plate of food was just not appealing. And each day seemed so very long; I wondered how I would make it through each one. And I wondered when this would end because it was linked to the steroids. It didn't end--it kept going.

Finally after a miserable day of skiing where I seemed like the happiest person on the planet to everyone around me, I went back to the hotel room alone, and cried, and cried, and cried. I wondered what I would say if Pastor Jim asked me "How are you?" I knew I was not well--I finally called my younger brother for advise. He said to call my doctor first thing on Monday. My doctor and I talked on Thursday.

Of course, I went on anti-depressants. They took awhile to work. I remember after 2 days on them, I pulled into my garage and thought maybe I should just end everything, but then reconsidered, thinking I'd give this medicine a few more days. And it did work. I did feel better. I then went through a period of feeling fragile and that ended. It was the medicine, but it was also church. I went to church A LOT. At church I felt at peace, like something was holding me like a baby. I also had wonderful family and friends--once people knew what was happening, they were so helpful. My mentor asked what I was doing for me--I couldn't answer that question. So I sought help. During this time, my pastor came to meet me. I wonder what he thought. I was just starting to get better. I was very much out of reality when we met. He wanted to hear about my faith journey. What? All I knew at that point was that God was holding me at church. Maybe another time I'll write on my faith journey. I do wonder what he thought of me then, when I felt lost and helpless in a way, and he couldn't help.

So, to end this posting, as I said, I did get better. And then there are times, often, when I forget to take my medicine. And then the depression comes back and hits me a bit. And then I wonder why I have to rely on these pills to feel like myself. Today I'm on them--3 days in a row. I was struggling before that. I struggle a bit now. It's a bad MS day and even on the medication, I may cry. But I know that I'm getting better again--that this recovery is from something far less severe than the initial hit. And I cannot wait to be happy most of the time again.

God, please bring that sense of happiness back to my life in a more consistent manner.

3 comments:

LISA EMRICH said...

When depression first hits it can be so confusing and disconcerting. I have MS and I face depression down every day. That's not to say I feel depressed daily, just that when I acknowledge it is a constant companion, I an more able to keep it in check.

I recently started telling portions of my MS journey. You might enjoy reading Tears on my Pillow. It's wonderful that you have such a great support system. BTW, I have felt the arms of an angel hold me. The feeling was indescribable.

Jo Franz said...

Bless your heart. I'm glad you are writing about reality. And I'm so glad to hear you are growing in your faith--it's made all the difference in my journey. I have had MS since 1977 and there's a picture of me skiing at Winter Park on my website www.jofranz.com (see the Photo page). Is that you sit-skiing? I loved to ski and did so until arthritis took over. You might enjoy my memoir, Soar Unafraid: Learning to Trust No Matter What because it's all about living with faith. I send autographed copies that are ordered from my website, but you can check it out at amazon.com and christianbook.com as well.

Your new friend, Jo

ms'er faith said...

Thanks for the comments. It's amazing how many women out there with MS have such similarities. I'll check out both websites--how exciting! And yes, that's me skiing at Breckenridge. I love it!