Monday, May 31

Misconceptions about depression

There are people out there who think that depression is when one cries all the time and can't do anything, or  just wants to sleep all the time.
Well, honestly, depression manifests itself in many different ways for different people.
I'd like to enlighten those who have not experienced it for themselves, and possibly those who have and still are who may not realize it.
Depression is when the brain's neurotransmitters aren't working correctly, and messages and signals in the brain are weak.  It makes even the simplest tasks so much harder.  It affects your moods and feelings.  Some symptoms that I notice in myself are:
a deep sadness, overwhelmed, full of anxiety and fear about certain things, really irritable, tired and achy, angry, self-hatred, anti-social tendencies, pressure headache almost constantly, high levels of stress that affect motivation for most things.
By the end of most days, I feel so heavy under pressure that I need some sort of relief or escape (and this is where most of the world who experience this turn to alcohol, smoking, drugs and other self-deprecating, self-destructive behaviors).
     I've struggled the worst after having babies.  At my lowest points, which have come often enough, I would greatly struggle with suicidal thoughts and desires.  Over time of dealing with this, I have managed somehow to keep my logic enough to be able to think through it to the reality of what would happen if I ever gave into such thoughts.  That did not stop them from coming after hard days and weeks, when my husband was working long hours (which he still is).  I would fight them but feel no way to escape my suffering.  I would search every option in my mind and eventually find dead ends in every scenario because of how much it would hurt those I love most.  So, I'd go walk outside or drive somewhere and cry...exasperated beyond words.  I had to do EVERYTHING within my power to fight the urge to harm myself.  I've never experienced something so extreme as this.  It literally felt like hand to hand combat with Satan.  Thankfully, the angels were watching over me, and the Lord gave me the strength to not give into temptation.

It's not something you can describe to someone who has not experienced it.  It's literally a problem in the brain and certainly not something you can just "snap out of".  Many people plow through with depression not realizing what it is, and tend to be pretty irritable, angry, impatient, anxious, sometimes lacking empathy, contentious, emotional.  Many onlookers of these sorts of people just figure it's part of their personality.  In most cases, it is not so.  Under that emotionally out of control barrier, is most likely a loving and wonderfully strong individual who is simply under a whole lot of pressure.

 Well, I've finally mustered up all my courage and will power to pay a visit to the Dr. and was diagnosed with depression.  Now, each night, I take a small blue pill.

I danced with my children in the living room yesterday and loved every minute of it!
I actually like myself now.  I find myself more grateful and in love than ever before with my wonderful husband.  And because I'm not so stressed, he has stopped withdrawing from family life so much.  He helps out and cares more than ever.

I love my Father in Heaven and Savior for guiding me to a solution to one of the greatest struggles I've ever faced in my life time.  Even with depression, I have worked through so much mentally and learned not to give into lies that come so readily in my darkest hours.

SOOOOOOOOOOOO HAPPY to be ALIVE - to be able to LIVE each day!

I encourage anyone who has struggled with even a few of these same symptoms, especially if it's gotten as extreme, to seek medical help. God led Dr.'s to come up with these wonderful medications to help us out in the last days - the hardest and most blessed times.  Let's take advantage and give thanks for these things!
My life is not perfect now by any means.  Some days are still stressful and tiring, but it is more than manageable compared to what I've experienced.  In gaining the knowledge I have, I will hopefully be able to give my children so much better.

Phillipians 4:13
"I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me."


Solomon and Lyndsie said...

I'm so glad that you are getting some relief. Life can be difficult already without dealing with that too. I hope you keep getting better and I hope you never feel ashamed for needing extra help (in the form of a little blue pill). Just because you feel this way doesn't mean you are weak. You are alot stronger than you think.

B. Perky said...

I love my little blue pills.

Nicole said...

You are so strong Rachael! I'm glad that you have figured out what will make you feel better. You are a great mom and your kids are so cute! I can't believe how big Sarah is already!

Mike and Adrianne said...

I'm so happy for you Rachael! I wish I lived closer so we could get together more often.

You are a great mom and your kids are so lucky to have you.

AZSMITHS said...

I'm glad that you are feeling better. I really appreciated your honesty in the last 2 posts. It's so easy to feel like we need to be everything all the time. But your post reminded me about focusing on what matters most- the kids and family. I also don't do my hair and makeup everyday and when I get my kids all dressed up they ask, "where are we going?" I guess we all just do what we can-- and that's okay!

cardwellclan said...

Beautiful post Rachael--you described it really well I think. I am so glad you are doing much better!! I love you! Heavenly Father does give us our own individual trials, doesn't he??? How much you have had to deal with personally that many do not even know, I'm sure. Glad to read your blog and see how you guys are doing!



Ali said...

Love it! Thanks for sharing, glad you are doing well! Fun to see you the other day :)

Liz said...

Hi Rachael,

I just checked up on your blog - I'm so sorry to hear about your struggle but I know you are so strong! I had moderate postpartum depression after my 3rd and fought my way through it, not knowing for a long time what was wrong with me. For me, I just could not feel any emotion or empathy or anything. Life was just not fun, although I could love and connect with my kids and husband. I'm glad to know now so that next time I will get help sooner and I've learned to have more compassion for others. It's so great to see the beautiful pics of your family! love, liz

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