Monday, February 2, 2009

fighting my way out

This isn't a fun post. But I'm writing it anyway. Because it's real.

I know that more people than we would think deal with depression on some level at some time in their lives. I know that what I deal with is nothing compared to what some others go through. But that doesn't make what I live with any easier.

I've struggled with depression since I was really young. My depression stems from anxiety. I'm a control freak and a perfectionist. Although as I've researched more about these terms, there's a lot more to it than what comes to mind when you hear those words.

Through counseling, medication, family support and the help of the Lord I've learned to cope with it pretty well over the years. Some days are really hard. But most days are just normal days now.

I still have mood swings and bad days. When I'm on my period I still get moody. When I don't get enough sleep I still get crabby. The medication and everything doesn't make me happy. But it does help balance me out so that I can feel like ME.

But like I said, sometimes I still have bad days. I have yet to figure out exactly what causes them or how to prevent them. That's something I suspect I'll work on for the rest of my life. But in the mean time, I work on getting out of the haze of those days.

This weekend was a bad weekend. I had a pretty big panic attack on Saturday. In hindsight, I think I could feel it coming. It had been a rough week. A breakdown was probably inevitable.

Jason had to work. I was alone with the kids. When I was a teenager things were different. I'd take my panic attack out on anyone in sight. My relationship with my mom, especially, suffered greatly because of it. Now that I've grown up (a little) I try so hard not to let that happen. I can't let myself react that way because of my children.

It takes everything in my power for me to stay calm, at least as calm as I can for having a panic attack. So I usually shut down completely. I have little patience with the kids so I have to force myself to just ignore the little things.

Shutting down means the house turns into a disaster zone. (This part is really hard for me to admit, but like I said above: it's real).

My home is disgusting right now. You wouldn't believe what can happen in a weekend around here. I cleaned the upstairs yesterday. It wiped me out. And Jason helped me (in the short amount of time that he was here) yesterday with the family room.

Dishes in the kitchen are piled higher than I think I've ever seen them. We don't have a dishwasher. The prospect of doing hours of dishes by hand is keeping me from eve starting.

When I shut down like this I get completely off schedule. At night I don't sleep. I don't want to go to sleep because sleeping means waking up and having to face a new day. The aftermath of my panic attack. Logically I know this is silly for a grown woman. But it's what happens.

The next morning I'm exhausted. I get the kids breakfast when they wake up and they have free reign of the house while I catch up on the sleeping I didn't do the night before. While I'm snoozing, they're destroying.

This morning when I got out of bed all of yesterday's work on the family room had been undone. There are card games and googly eyes spread all over the floor. Mixed with toys and books and vacuum attachments.

So now comes the work. And by work, I don't mean cleaning up the mess, doing the dishes, or bathing everyone since we've actually been in our pajamas all weekend. The work is simply getting myself to start. Climbing out of this rut. I'm not here very often anymore, but when I am it feels impossible to climb out.

This is where the depression is. The anxiety brings it on it's tail. I feel like there's a fog and I don't want to fight my way through it. I just want to wait for it to lift.

But that's not how it works. If I wait, it stays longer. So today that's what I'll be doing. Fighting with myself. Fighting to get up and do. Reminding myself that once it's done it will be gone. It won't be back. At least not for a while. I can usually count on that.

I don't know what people's impressions of me are. I don't know who they think I am. But regardless of how this changes your view, I know that this part of my life isn't the real me. This is just my struggle. One of the reasons that I look forward to the coming of the Savior. One of the reasons I look forward with hope for the day that this battle will be over. The day that my older brother, Jesus Christ will free me from this earthly internal war.

Today that hope is what I'll cling to as I climb out.

P.S. I have to say that I know that my problems are nothing compared to what I know so many people are going through right now. I didn't write this post because I want people to feel sorry for me. I just needed to write it out. No matter how hard I think my day is, I know that losing a child or loved one, struggling with marriage or family issues, serious financial stresses, and more are SO difficult and I have EVERY reason to be grateful for my life! And I am. Today is simply a hard day. And I needed to share it. I hope that makes sense.


Lindsay said...

I just love you! It seems like some of the things you were writting could have been form my head and thoughts. I struggle with the same sort of things. Thank you so much for sharring and opening up, it makes me feel like what I think and do are real and not just in my head like I think, and that makes me feel worse. I have the days where I literally sit on the couch and let my children go crazy and there is absolutly nothing I can do about it phyiscally, emotionally or spiritually. Nothing. It is a real problem that hits real people. Thank you for putting yourself out there and I hope you know that you are not alone and we all love you just the same!

Mandi said...

I hear ya.. You are sooo not alone. I struggle with this daily also. if only i could figure out what starts them and stay away from the depression. Oh well!! I am here for ya. Keep your head up and you hope is my hope also!! We can do it together!! love ya

Anonymous said...

Please feel free to share whenever you need to, it is so therapeutic. If I was closer to you, I would so be at your house right now helping you the way I'm sure you would do for me when my depression becomes to much. I love you McKenna and I'm always there for you, no matter what.

The Larson Family said...

You are very brave to share. I think we all either struggle with this ourselves, or know someone who does. Your insight is helpful to know how to help our loved ones who struggle with the same thing. I hope you are successful in climbing out of your rut soon. I heard a quote once that says something like, "Every man has his secret sorrows that the world knows not. And oftentimes we call a man cold when he is only sad." Even though others have struggles that seem hard, it doesn't diminish yours. Good luck!

Sara said...

great post - you put everything very nicely...and you are right, we ALL struggle. I believe Satan plays dirty and he knows women are really the heart of the family and if he can get us, it's over.

My mood swings get worse trying to lose weight too - I wouldn't have recognized it as a factor after my last pregnancy, but this time, I know it's bad. I do weigh-ins on Thursdays and it's always the worst day of the week, no matter how much I've lost. So silly.

Randi said...

Sweetie, I love you! I am so sorry that you are struggling right now. But I admire the way that you are facing it head on. I'm glad you trust us enough to share and knowi'm here if you ever need to vent or cry or anything!
Love you hun! Here is an enormous HUG!!

Burgon Fam said...

I think you are such a real and honest person and i think its one of my favorite things about you! My father suffers from depression and its something i wish i understood so i could somehow help...but truly i can only image...hang in there...just know we all love you!

Aleah said...
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Emily said...

i think it helpsto write about these tings to know that you are not alone in this and it helps just to have an outlet. i have the same thing happen to me and it alway helps to know that someone out there is going through something similar.

Andrew and Charonne- said...

i totally never read posts that are long, but with you its different, youactually get me to read! Ok so I feel ya, I have a clinically proven phobia of needles and i get way way way bad anxiety attacks over it, I also am 110% for real OCD. And it for sure causes a level of depression cause you are mad that you are that way and you cant control it. I am a germ a phobe to the biggest degree! In a public restroom I walk in and roll up my pants, I then lock the stall door with my foot, and I always squat, I wont use the toilet paper that is hanging there, i have to pull it a few layers down and use that. I then flush with my foot and open the door lock with my foot then kick it open. Then to wash my hands I tough the thingy the pulls the paper towel down before I even wash then I wash and rip the paper towel of to turn off the water and use that same piece to pull down more to dry my hands. Then with that piece I open the door.
We all have our thing, what helps me is just doing what I do and not worrying about what others think. If I dont do my OCD habits then I get worse, it keeps to saine to be "insaine" ;-). I know with us kids growing up my sister could do the laundry at age 5 and i had a list of chores way before I could ever read. She made us do chores and we would go to time out if we ever didnt clean up a mess before we made another one. Now I know your boy is too small, and Im sure you make your daughter clean up, but maybe If you had her clean up one toy before another one came out?;-) Im not trying to tell you how to parent, just an idea, then that way the kids mess never gets too big for them to clean and you wont feel so overwhelmed? Any way I relly do think you rock, and great job on the dieting, keep up the good work, you're gonna make it!

Andrew and Charonne- said...

ok so i already left the longest comment, but one more thing. When ever I fell un-motivated to do something I get Shannon on the phone and we cheer each other along. I LOVE being on the phone while cleaning the house cause it distracts me from the task at hand and before I know it its done!

The Brandt Clan Fam! said...
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Kristin said...

Is this my sign that I need to make a drive before the snow comes?? So what to say, I love you that for sure and really winter is just extra hard on the emotions anyways. You are able to put thought into word every well and I love that you can write what I feel because when i try and talk about depression to others they think i am crazy. I like that you say that your meds don't make you happy, that is so true they are not "happy pills" they just help us to by ourselves!

I am glad that you have pulled out enough to see that where you were. Other thing real quick too. No need to apologize to others, Yes they might be going through their own marriage problems, death etc but that does not diminish that fact that you are personally having a hard time in your own life. It doesn't have to be death or sickness to be hard! Depression is hard!

Well to end this novel lets set up a time to drive up. You look at your schedule and I'll look at the weather.

Thanks for always being so open about your life, it help me in a weird way sometimes understand my own better.