When you hear the word depression, who or what do you think of? Someone you know? Do you have it yourself? Or do you tend to ignore it, because it makes you feel uncomfortable? When I hear the word depression, I think of myself. I’m Stacey, 34 years old, I am married and a mother to three children. I’m fortunate to watch two of them grow and the other watches over us.
I faced my depression at the beginning of this year, I knew I was on a downward spiral, the fog was closing in and I could not stop it. Waking up most mornings with that awful dread, “do I really have to get up”? I just wanted to lie in bed all day and hide from the world, but I had to get up, after all I have two children to care for. The days were hard and long being stuck at home with two under three, but it was my choice to have these kiddies. “Why didnt you take them out” you might be thinking. The thought of going anywhere, terrified me. I didn’t have the energy or the patience to deal with them and the thought of getting organised to go out, filled me with dread. Each weekend when my hubby was home, I would say to myself “right on Monday, I’m going to take them to the park across the road”, BUT, Monday would come around and I just couldn’t face it.
Those days were, The. Worst. I hated that I was not really wanting to be a parent and interact with my kids. I would tell myself I would feel better tomorrow, but tomorrow would come and I felt exactly the same. Bedtime was just as hard as the morings. I was so, so tired, mentally and physically, I just wanted to sleep but I couldn’t get off to sleep. Plus I knew as soon as I went to sleep, the morning would soon come. I just wanted this vicious cycle to end.
I sought help from my counsellor again. Seeing her was usually enough to help me see through the fog that would be constantly blurring my vision and felt like a heavy weight, weighing my down. It helped to see my counsellor, but it wasn’t enough. I still continued to feel overwhelmed, anxious and negative thoughts were still there, full force. I made an appointment to see my GP, I had been putting it off for a while, maybe even years. I didn’t want to admit I needed antidepressants to give me my life back. My GP was fantastic, he and my counsellor both agreed there was a time and a place for medication and this was the time.
To be begin with some of the side effects of the antidepressant was not much fun, I felt worse. I was told I would feel worse before I got better and that was the truth. I was so fortunate my Mum was able to travel from England and visit us for a few weeks in February, she ‘got it’. She was there when I needed to talk, cry, vent and above all she was there for the kids. Plus it took pressure off my hubby, because he really has seen the BAD times and I think my Mum was great support for him too.
Fast forward to now, Friday 7th August. I’m currently off work after my surgery to have my appendix removed. I’m out of my usual routine, unable to work, and most importantly I feel I am unable to be a Mum to my children. I don’t know where it came from but on Wednesday I, well you could say, I lost it. The fog had slowly been returning and now it was back. I ended up ringing the Mental Health Crisis team, I needed someone, anyone to listen. I wanted to quit my role as a wife and a mother and to run away. Yesterday (Thursday) I had a visit from the mental health team. The two guys that came to the house suggested I needed to increase my medication, I was hesitant but knew it was the best decision. Thankfully I had a counsellor appointment which was already booked. My hubby came with me which I felt was really beneficial for both of us. I left the appointment feeling a lot calmer and the fog was starting to clear. I will be better, I will not let this illness beat me.
Taking an antidepressant has saved me from the dark days and I feel it has given me back my life. I still have the odd times when I feel the fog is closing in but they do help. I know there are some people out there, who may be reading this that do not believe in medications. That’s fine, I believe you have to do whatever works for you. For years I resisted medication, thinking it wasn’t right and it wasn’t for me. I did not make the decision lightly. Looking back I have had depression on/off throughout my life and it is in my family. We only have this life and we need to do what is best for us and our family, our kids.
Depression is an illness, not a low mood. The experience of depression is different for everyone. Support is essential to help anyone through their journey. The Depression Website is a great source for anyone who is struggling and has information to help others help you.
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