Tuesday, October 30, 2007

suffering in silence

I have been debating over the last couple of weeks whether or not to post about this personal subject. And then I figured, "Why not? I have nothing to be ashamed of!" Several people have commented to me in the past that they love how open and honest I am on my blog. So here it goes... (this post actually sat on my computer screen for many minutes before I finally hit the "publish" button)

I have mentioned in several previous posts that I have struggled with depression since Malia was born 2 years ago. It has visited me in some form or another ever since then. And for the first 9 months or so, barely anybody knew. I was suffering in silence.

Things started to get better the summer after Malia was born. And then fall came and it all came rushing back. And again, I suffered in silence. Not complete silence -- some close friends and family members were aware that things weren't great again. But for the most part, I tried to keep it to myself. And now that fall has arrived again -- even though I claim it to be my favorite season (which is now up for debate) -- I find myself start to slip into depression again. Some of you who know me personally might be wondering why you are finding out about this via my blog instead of from me in person. Please don't take offense...it's just such a hard thing to talk about face-to-face.


I think there are a few reasons for it. First of all -- how do you bring it up? When people ask the customary question/greeting, "Hey, how's it going?" (especially just in passing, or in a brief conversation) they don't usually expect to hear "Well, actually I'm feeling a bit depressed again lately." Even if that is the real answer, typically it's swallowed up by "Oh, I'm fine", or "Great, and yourself?" with a smile. And even if you have the time -- and opportunity -- to bring it up with a friend, how do you start? And how do you say it without making the other person feel awkward or uncomfortable?

And secondly -- even if you do work it into conversation, how do you explain it? It's hard to explain when there's not even a reason for it. It's not because I suffer from a deadly disease such as cancer. It's not because my marriage is failing. It's not because I was sexually abused as a child. It's not because we're bankrupt and don't know where our next meal is going to come from. Death hasn't robbed me of my spouse or my children or even a close friend. And it's not because I am unable to have children. No, none of that. I'm not saying that I have a perfect life (not by a long shot), but God has blessed me and my family extremely thus far and we have avoided all of those heart-breaking things. So how do you explain how you're feeling without having an actual circumstance to go along with it? How do you explain why you're constantly exhausted and you feel like you want to cry for no reason? How do you explain why every little thing makes you so overwhelmed and you just don't know how to handle it? How do you explain that all you want to do is sleep and escape l-i-f-e-?

Which ties in with a third reason: Guilt. Yes, that's right. I feel guilty for feeling this way. I know so many people who actually have had to go through the experiences listed above. They have every right to be depressed. But me? I have a wonderful husband, 2 beautiful children, good health, a new house, lots of friends and family. I guess it makes me wonder how people are going to react. Maybe they'll be thinking, "She has it so good. We're the ones who are suffering with 'real' problems...what's she so depressed about?"

But I'm done suffering in silence. I may not have the answers as to why I'm feeling this way. All I know is that this is the way I feel. I know that a lot of it has to do with the weather and the time of year with less daylight -- a lot of people struggle with 'winter blues'. It's definitely a trigger point, that's for sure. But I think it's more than that. Especially since it only has started happening since Malia's birth; so it must tie into that somehow as well. I'm not saying that every day is horrible, or that I can't relax and enjoy a good laugh here and there. Not every moment of my day is filled with darkness. I just know that things aren't quite right, for whatever reason.

But whether or not I will ever understand how or why I am feeling this way, I have come to the realization that it is nothing to hide from or be ashamed of. Sure, not everybody will understand what I'm going through or know how to help me. And yes, I have made myself extremely vulnerable by sharing this information with the world. But I have a better chance of making it through if I have people's prayers and support.

That is all I am asking of you, my friends and family; for prayers and words of encouragement.


ValleyGirl said...

Well, you're definitely not alone in this, even though knowing others have exactly the same problems doesn't help. I know. It's unexplicable and I can totally identify with the feelings of guilt that come with it. I've said it before and I'll say it again: allow yourself the freedom that seeking professional help will bring. Even if you know your depression will pass, you won't be wasting your time. Please know for a fact that I will be praying for you.

andrea said...

oh, andrea...i'm right beside you. thanks for sharing, we have been thru much together. you are not alone. i am praying for you as you decide how to deal with this.if you want to talk, i'm here...always... but for now, i'll be praying.

Melanie said...

I will definitely keep you in my prayers.

Please talk to your doctor- you do NOT have to feel this way. It may seem unexplicable to you, but if you have a chemical imbalance there is no reason for you to feel this way when there is help for you. Whether it be medication or therapy- you can get help.

Ruth said...

you are so precious. thank you for sharing your heart on this topic. i just know it will resonate with many many people. its just refreshing to lowe the masks and say, "hey! i struggle! life isn't perfect!"

you're not alone. and you are incredibly loved.

Ruth said...

ps just wanted to add that my mom has struggled deeply with depression. i remember years ago -- things were very dark for her. she's doing great now.

i've struggled with this as well in the past.

Amy said...

You're in my prayers. I hope you startfeeling better soon!

Pam said...

I'm proud of you for sharing this! It is not easy to share when things are not right. It is easy to share when things are happy or going well...it is so much harder when we don't feel "right". I am sure it was helpful to just type all that and get it out there...but you can talk to your doctor or someone from church...you don't have to suffer in silence or suffer at all. If you don't want medication...there are lots of other things that can be tried...explore your options. And DON'T feel guilty. You cannot control how you feel and this is not your fault. you should not feel guilty for feeling down and you should not feel guilty because you "don't have a reason". There is a reason...even if it isn't an outward reason...if it is a chemical issue or an emotional issue, it is still a reason.

You are always in my thoughts and prayers! And I am proud of you for sharing this!!

The Heppner's said...

It's good to share your struggles with others. That way you can get support and prayer. There isn't necessarily a reason why depression hits. And it certainly doesn't pass over those that are viewed as perpetually happy (like me). Talk to a counsellor, see a doctor if you need. I know that doing that made things SO much better for me. I'll definitely be praying for you. And keeping blogging, that's therapeutic too.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings. All I can say is that 'I'm glad October is over'. I guess we can only take each day as it comes. I've been going through sort of the same feelings since it has been a year since I lost my mother. Prayer is the key to getting through the rough times. I've depended a lot on my friends prayer to help me get through this past year of 'firsts'. Know that I hold you in my thoughts and prayer.

WorksForMom said...

I will keep you in my prayers Andrea. Please know this is not uncommon. It is a medical condition that requires attention. You are in my thoughts friend.