Yesterday, Human Right's Day, marks the day two years ago when I emotionally and mentally crumbled. Since then I began learning to live with the illness of depression. I had dealt with depression and anxiety off and on for about 7 years before then, but never understood or experienced the whole of it until this day. And I have learned much more about the illness then I really cared too. It has been quite a ride. As I have been through the challenges of the past two years I have grown closer to the Lord and my husband, and I believe I have also grown as a person as I have gotten to know and love myself better. Probably the biggest thing I learned is that I had to let go of the ideal of "perfection" (which I didn't really know I was holding on to) and I can't do it all. I also know that these experiences will teach me much more as time goes by.
At the time, I had a six month old baby, two preschoolers age 3 and 4, and a 9 and 12 year old to take care of. But my mind and body sort of quit functioning. It is a very hard thing to describe. The only thing I could think was that "I can't do this anymore. Everything is too hard. I can't, I can't, I can't." And somehow, I really couldn't. I called my sister, Lacey. She called my other sister, Holly, who came and stayed and ran my household for a week. Then Lacey came for about a week after Holly left. It is hard to remember and realize that I needed help like that. Harder than involving my family, though was involving the ward family. The Relief Society president came over and continued to be a great support. The Bishop got involved and I started counseling through LDS Family Services.
Depression is a crazy illness. For months I just kept expecting that I would wake up one day and I would be "normal"again. But it hasn't been like that. I have been in counseling and learned so much about taking care of myself to stay healthy and how to change my thought patterns. I am on meds. But still, the depression doesn't ever totally go away. I fight it most everyday. Though most days are good days, or "normal" days, there are still the bad days, like everyone else, yet not like everyone else.
One time in a counseling session, I answered a question and my counselor asked "Is that how you feel, or is that just the right answer." I have since decided that is a defining question about depression. You know all the 'right' answers. You know how you 'should' feel and what you 'should' do. But there is a missing connection between knowing, and actions and feelings.
I was talking to my husband about my two year 'anniversary', so to say. We happened to be on the beach in Florida. How cool is that? Anyway, he asked, "Well, how are you now?" I can definitely answer "I'm great!" I have come along way since that day two years ago.