I don't know if anybody has noticed, but over the past several weeks I haven't really posted much of anything as far as substance goes. It's all been about cinnamon biscuits, driving over down-spouts, Pepsi or just picture collages.
There's a reason for that.
I have been avoiding posting about something -- since I wasn't quite sure that I wanted to -- but I think that the time has come for me to get it out in the open. I haven't been ashamed or anything; I just wasn't ready to talk about it. But now I think I am.
By now you are probably all familiar with my on-going struggle with depression. I think the last time I talked about it, I was on an up-swing and I was confident that I had equipped myself with the proper tools to fight it if it were to rear its ugly head once again.
But that turned out to be not exactly true.
If you remember back in February, I struggled with a headache that didn't seem to want to go away for a couple of weeks. I may not have blogged about just how much that knocked me down, but it was really a horrible experience for me. And from that experience stemmed another bout of depression. And a bad one at that.
The Monday morning after the worst of my headaches had finally passed was a rock-bottom morning and I remember it as vividly as if it had just happened yesterday. I woke up that morning knowing that I had to get the girls up and get Joelle ready for school.
But I could not get out of bed. Literally.
I can't even properly explain how I was feeling, but I honestly did not think I was going to even be able to go about the simplest task of getting my daughter to school. And that terrified me. It took everything in me to actually step out of bed and get myself going. I had to take everything one step at a time.
Get out of bed. Take a shower. Get dressed. Wake up Joelle. Get her dressed. Wake up Malia. Give the girls something to eat.
Luckily for me, it was my neighbour's turn to drive her daughter and Joelle to school because I knew that I just would not be able to face anybody that day. After Jenn dropped off the two older girls, she came back to my place and we kept each other company. Just by her being there, she helped me through one of the hardest days of my life and since that morning I have felt an unbreakable bond with this dear friend.
After that day I knew that something had to happen. I could not go on like this any longer, never knowing when it was going to disappear and unexpectedly pop up yet again. I needed some control back in my life.
So on Valentine's Day I made an appointment with my doctor and was given a prescription for an anti-depressant. That day was a mixture of emotions. Relief. Anxiety. Hope. Fear.
I was to start taking the pills the following morning, but by the time I woke up that Friday morning, I had all but talked myself out of taking them.
I don't really need them. I'm sure I'm just over-reacting. Everybody has bad spells, it doesn't mean that they need to go on anti-depressants.
Now, don't get me wrong. I am not someone who has a problem with needing to rely on a prescription for such things. My hesistancy in no way had to do with me feeling like a failure by admitting I needed them. Rather, it was fear that made me take another step back and re-evaluate the situation.
Plain and simply: I was scared. Scared about starting down this new and unknown road. What would it feel like? What side effects would plague my body? Would I have to be on this medicaton for the rest of my life once I start? Would I be able to experience other feelings, or will this pill always make me feel happy?
I made the decision to phone one of my cousins who knew exactly what I was going through, and it was during that encouraging and supportive phone call that I swallowed my first pill. Without her help, I doubt I would've actually gone through with it.
But going through with it was the best decision I ever made. And my fears were soon put to rest as I slowly felt the positive effects of this medication with minimal side effects. I also was relieved to discover that I could still feel every emotion while on this prescription -- happiness, sadness, excitedness, frustration, joy, pride, nervousness, fear. My cousin said it best when she reassured me: "It will make you feel the way Andrea is supposed to feel." It wasn't giving me fake emotions -- just helping me get that re-balance to make me feel like I used to...before all of this began 2 1/2 years ago.
So why am I telling you this? There are a few reasons, really. One reason is that I wanted to continue where I left off. I have been open about my struggle all throughout my blogging experience, and I felt that this was an important chapter of my story.
Also, I am always amazed by the outpouring of love and support that I get through my blog-world, and prayers and support are always welcome -- and needed. Just because I am taking anti-depressants, it doesn't mean the battle is over. Sure, for the most part I am feeling 'normal'...but there are still times when I struggle with below-the-surface emotions.
And thirdly -- maybe my experiences can be helpful for somebody else reading this. Maybe somebody else is unsure of what is the right step for them in their journey through depression and this post can be of some help or encouragement.
And if nothing else...it's always therapeutic for me to be open about each leg of this journey. Thanks for walking beside me through every step of the way.