F*ck Depression

I don’t know why I’m capitalizing “depression”.  It really shouldn’t be given the importance of capitalization.  Perhaps it is because it has made it’s way like a force back into my life at the moment and seems just that prominent.

Three weeks ago it became very clear to me I was in the midst of a major depression flare.  I say “became clear” because it usually takes me a couple days to identify that this is what is going on rather than something more simple like hormone shifts due to a menstrual cycle *insert eye-roll here*.  Typically by the time I recognize the symptoms for what they are, they usually begin to dissipate.  Not so much this time.  As a matter of fact, as I was trying to fall asleep two nights ago, I felt depression’s ugly grip still deeply rooted in my intestines.  It felt like two hands were literally squeezing and pulling at my gut.  I could visualize it so clearly…and then the tears came…again.  Three weeks ago, May 21 to be exact, I was doing my workout, which I had been having great apathy towards working out lately.  During that workout there was a move I could not do and I began fighting tears.  I almost quit the rest of the workout but there is an underlying tenacity within me that is relentless and would not allow me to quit.  I pushed though but let the tears flow, helping purge the “issues in my tissues” (did you know we store negative energy inside our tissues and it can surface and release through waves of emotion after a hard workout?).  I recognized a barrage of negative self-talk and the lies I was telling myself.  I was not thinking rationally (please note I have not had any thoughts ever of hurting myself – I love my beautiful life and all I grow into through my struggles).

I had made an appointment with my medical provider because I have been feeling quite tired lately despite getting about 9-10 hours of sleep each night, but have very poor quality sleep when I do.  I thought she would recommend sleep study or want to check my thyroid.  After filling out my PHQ-9 (a depression screening tool), I scored a 7 – which all-in-all isn’t too shabby, but I have never scored more than a 3…and I’ve been filling out these forms for at least 18 years.  My provider did do a few blood tests, which were all within normal limits, and ended up increasing my antidepressant.  I was hesitant but knew it was what I needed.  I felt like a failure – that I was not able to get out of this flare on my own and now needed to increase my meds which I had been on the lowest dose of ever.  But I knew it was the right decision.

I recognize several stressors which may be contributing – health issues with my mother and taking on care of a parent; my oldest son working hard to make sure all things line up for getting into college, as well as leaving for boot camp (he left this morning *all the tears* – God help me if he ever deploys!!); that same son taking the ACT prior to leaving; several trips to pay and plan for over the next four months; and anxiety over my husband asking me to make our marriage legal in a small backyard ceremony/reception (we call each other husband/wife but have not filed paperwork/been legally married).  I realize this last item should be a wonderful and exciting time but with how irrational I was thinking, I could not relax about it.  We have since figured out a plan that allows us to have our own private ceremony with just us and also have a small reception for the family…and I am excited for it.

What I want to know is, what brings these flares about?  I have been the most stable I have ever been with my depression over the past year and a half.  I have even been able to trial going off of my antidepressant for about six weeks.  Doing so helped me recognize I still need a little boost with medication for balance.  I have an amazing husband, a beautiful relationship, am so proud of my kids, love my job, am the happiest I have ever been in life…so what gives?  As a nurse with a psychiatric nursing background, I have seen a lot of the ebbs and flows of mental illnesses, however the most preplexing to me is depression.  Most of the other illnesses remain stable as long as you follow your treatment plan, however depression seems to have a mind of its own…flaring up whenever it damn well pleases.

All I can say is, never give up, never stop battling this bastard of an illness.  Find your support and climb out from under the clouded veil of depression to hold onto that support.  I know it is hard.  I know you do not want to.  However, you will come through the storm much sooner if you face it head on instead of allowing it to have its way with you.  I know I am still fighting this flare, but it is slowly leaving my body.  I can see little glimmers of my true self breaking through the clouds.  I will never stop fighting.

 

 

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Time is a Thief

I have no idea what I want to say.  What I do know is that I have been bogged down all day with a weight on my mind but unable to pinpoint it.  Tonight while taking an Epsom salt and lavender bath, I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness.  I felt the gravity of this world.  I felt sadness for my kids growing up in this time of life.  I feel like my kids are facing an uphill battle and I am not able to protect them from it, let alone help them prepare for it because it is affecting my generation as well.

My parents’ generation saw an increasing divorce rate.  Moms started returning to work.  Jump in the saving grace of Hamburger Helper and Hungry Man frozen dinners.  Drive thrus increased in popularity as our parents faced an increasing pace of life and the stretching of time so thin there was no longer time to fix a full home-cooked dinner for the family; introducing my generation to the start of highly processed food and fast food alternatives.  Now, as my generation is fully submerged in technology’s mach-speed pace of life, taking time to prepare healthy food for us and our kids is for the minority.  However, if we do not wake up to this disparity, this “minority” will be all that is left.

As a nurse I see countless of individuals in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s with auto-immune disease, “strange” cancers such as brain cancers – glioblastomas for one, kidney failure, heart disease, pancreatitis, diabetes, and the like.  THIS IS NOT NORMAL!!!  My children’s generation is the first one predicted to die before their parents.  THIS IS NOT OK!!  Eating clean and taking time to meal prep is my new standard.  Do my kids joke about mom eating kale all the time (I don’t ever eat kale, although kale chips are pretty tasty)?  Do they joke about plant-based protein and measuring my portions?  Absolutely!  But are they learning by my example?  I sure hope so.

Don’t get me wrong, they are still kids – ok, teenagers.  They eat fast food and go get “coffee” with their friends.  But the amount of processed foods they are eating has greatly decreased.  Will it make a difference?  Who knows??  But I sure hope so.

Aside from diet, the increase in social media and technology via personal electronic devices and increase in video gaming has prompted a sedentary lifestyle.  My kids see me working out at least 5 day/week.  They see me getting stronger, having more energy, being more active, losing weight and helping others do the same.  Will it change their lives?  Who knows??  But I sure hope so!

I watched my sister bury her 5-week old baby girl due to several congenital issues.  I’ve watched friends bury their children due to cancers, auto-immune diseases, congenital diseases, and sudden illness.  I hope I never have to bury my child.

Time is a thief.  After working with a patient of mine who is 19-weeks pregnant and seeing the baby on ultrasound, I look back on my kids’ lives and wonder where the time has gone.  My oldest son leaves in 4 months for boot camp for the Army National Guard – a decision I am so proud of him for making.  My youngest starts driver’s education in the fall.  You don’t get any of those days back.  Once their teens and are being social in their own little lives, hanging out with friends, getting jobs, and doing what teens do as they start preparing to leave the “nest”, they aren’t as interested in hanging out with mom anymore.  So I watch from a distance…and repeatedly ponder, “Where has the time gone?”  How much have I missed because I had to work full-time to support them?  How much have I missed because on top of working full-time, I also had to go to school full-time in order to have a career that would support us and our future?

I strive to enjoy my time with them now and not ruminate on what I have missed.  I did not have a choice.  Our future depended on those sacrifices.  However, each night I struggle falling asleep because deep inside me there is a pocket of dread for what my kids might face tomorrow.  And all I can do is pray they will be okay.  Pray that the seeds that were planted when they were small have taken root and will guide them as they grow.  Pray that they continue to be open and learn; and learn from their experiences and mistakes.  I pray they have a good, happy, and uncomplicated life.  I pray they take their faces out of their phones and enjoy the company of those around them.  I pray they make a difference; that they affect change in their circle and in society.  I pray they recognize my sacrifices and what I have instilled through example, and that they know without a shadow of a doubt how much I love them, believe in them, and how much they are capable of.

I pray we have a long time together still; uncomplicated, in health, and in happiness.  For time is a thief.

There Are Issues In Your Tissues

I want to share an article with everyone. It is FANTASTIC! I experience this “somatoemotional release” regularly and this article does an amazing job explaining what’s going on. (The article is a bit long though). As a nurse who has devoted over 50 hours of training in holistic health and energy, as well as working the past 3 years in acute mental health crisis, there is no doubt people “store emotions” and for “conventional scientists” to poo poo this notion simply because it cannot be measured on demand is pure ignorance. This emotional release is so healing, freeing, lightening, and therapeutic. I had a fitness coach at the Y tell me years ago when I was overcome with tears streaming down my face during corpse pose after an hour long BodyFlow class (yoga, pilates, tai chi combo) “There are issues in our tissues.” I will never forget that and every time I experience this release I just acknowledge what I had been carrying around that was likely weighing me down in so many ways, that I needed to let it go, and thank myself for the healthy gift I have given to myself.

(Also, I might have found an area to focus on for nursing. We shall see…it’s pretty specific and narrow, however, there is important work to be done here)

Here is the link to the article (I apologize – I haven’t been able to get the hyperlink to stay in the post) https://experiencelife.com/article/laugh-cry-lift/