Monday, October 27, 2014

There is beauty in the breakdown

Depression is an interesting beast. It comes on unexpectedly and leaves me feeling helpless and hopeless. And then it leaves.

One month ago I was in the hospital. After an intense panic attack in my doctor's office, I was admitted into the ER for exhaustion and anxiety.  I hadn't been eating, drinking, sleeping, or doing any of the normal things humans are expected to do to maintain life. I'd just been taking care of my kids.

After Sammy was born I experienced post-partum depression. It was awful, but went away after he was about 4 months old. My doctor prescribed me anti-depressants in the hospital after Lucas was born and I'd been taking them ever since. But one day I went off them.

I can't say why. I thought what most idiots like me think. "I'm feeling great. I don't need these dumb pills. I'm kicking you to the curb."

And then everything fell apart. Anxiety became my constant companion. Fatigue and depression consumed me. And then I had a serious panic attack the day Dan came home from a weekend away. I started hyperventilating and called him in a panic while he was at work. He rushed home and took over with the kids and I slept for 3 hours.

The next morning I went to see my OB/GYN. While I was in her office, the room started to close in on me. I wasn't able to breath. I became so dizzy they had to put me in a wheelchair to take me down to the ER. I don't remember much. But I was terrified. I do remember sobbing and grabbing the social worker's hand and gasping, "There....not....going to do anything with my kids....are they?"

For some reason, at that moment, that was my greatest worry. She reassured me that no, my kids wouldn't be taken away from me, that I was a good mom, and that I needed some real help.

Since that moment, things have improved. But I have to remind myself that I'm not better. I'm not 100%. I'm not even sure I know what 100% looks like anymore. But I do know that I can have really good days, and some really bad days, and that's ok. I know I am strong. I know I can rely on my husband for strength when mine fails. I know I love my children. I know they'll be ok and will love me unconditionally.

Depression is a hard card. But I know I'm not alone. The world has seemed infinitely more beautiful to me lately. Trees look greener. The ocean looks bluer. My family surrounds me and overcomes me, but that's alright. I can make it through. The only way out is up.

“I am larger, better than I thought;
I did not know I held so much goodness.” 
― Walt WhitmanLeaves of Grass