Monday, March 25, 2013

The Battle

While I have been pretty open discussing my grief and many painful aspects of my personal journey to healing, there is one area I am very reluctant to share, I have always feared looking weak or crazy, but I approached the point where keeping this struggle a secret became quite detrimental. When I took the step in sharing I found that not only did I receive the support I needed, but that I wasn't alone in my struggle, that I wasn't alone in my depression. The earliest I remember this battle was high school, I noticed a pattern with the changing seasons, gave myself the diagnosis of "Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)," went to the tanning bed a few times a week and found that the boost in vitamin D proved to be helpful. As time went on, and the stressors in my life become more intense, I began to use bulimia as a means of trying to gain some sort of control, to have some sort of physical release to the emotions I didn't always feel I could handle. When my husband (fiance at the time) returned from Iraq we started premarital counseling, which turned out to be more intensive than either of us imagined, we dealt with my eating disorder during a few sessions, and I felt empowered, but as the seasons began to change again, I found myself in the same place I was every winter. When I found out I was pregnant for the first time, that was the day I swore off my eating disorder, knowing I had a higher reason for keeping myself healthy. While I have not forced myself to throw up for several years, know that it is a constant struggle, just like an alcoholic has triggers, so does a person with an eating disorder and it is a conscience effort to stay away from the places and things I know I cannot handle. After I miscarried our first baby, I was grieving and the depression was natural, and after I had our first child, I expected Post Partum Depression (PPD), but as my son got older and the depression intensified I began to think that maybe things weren't normal anymore. I found myself with this constant and underlying rage, I found myself angry at the littlest things, I found myself blowing up at my son and husband for things that weren't important or intentional, I felt sad, and anxious, and dare I say a little hopeless, I felt isolated and unconnected to the people around me. I began to hate who I was, I saw this person spiraling out of control, but didn't feel like I had the power to stop her, I longed to have peace in my heart and in my life, but I just didn't know how to get it. It wasn't until I reached out to a few friends for prayer, that I got what I needed, I received words of comfort, assuring me that I wasn't alone and that I didn't need to fight this battle alone. I also received the encouragement I needed to talk to my doctor, something I had said I was going to do for years, and just never did because I was too embarrassed. As a nurse I see people on antidepressants all of the time, I hand them out almost daily, but the thought of being on one myself seemed like a soft option to me, but I have to say taking that first step in asking my doctor about them was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. In the doctor's office I was comforted by the nurse who shared that she battled the same thing, and the doctor who assured me that I wasn't alone that he sees this frequently. It has been a month and a half now that I have been taking medication for my depression and while my doctor told me I wouldn't see much of a change, I have! I feel calmer, I am the peaceful mom that I want to be, I am an easier wife to live with (at least I think so!!); I truly believe it is the combination of reaching out for help, receiving support, and the medication. I tell you all of this not because I want to, in fact I hate being this transparent, I tell you all of this because if I am not transparent, how will others ever know that they aren't alone? Many Christian's don't talk about depression because there is the stigma that if you have enough faith you won't be depressed, that if you have the joy of Christ in your life you won't feel depressed, that if you are living the righteous life you won't feel depressed, but this isn't true, and I want other Christians to know this isn't the truth and it is okay to admit that you are depressed. I struggled for so many years by myself, fighting a battle I wasn't equipped for, and I don't want others to think they have to do the same. I want you to know that whether it is SAD or PPD or grief or anxiety or depression that lasts all year long, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Their are others fighting the same battles, others who are lost in the struggle, others who hate who they are, others who don't know how to stop the rage, others who don't know how to control the blow ups, others who don't know how to handle the anxiety, others who don't know how to rise from the crippling sadness, others who don't know why they are feeling crippling sadness. If you have read this and you understand all too well the things I am saying, please don't do what I did, please don't waste another moment trying to handle the depression on your own; find a friend, family member, pastor, counselor, or doctor (heck e-mail me if you need to) and tell them you need help, tell them you don't have the strength to fight one more day on your own, it might be the hardest thing you do, but you will never be sorry that you did