I suffer from Chronic Major Depressive Disorder. It isn’t fun, happy or good. Everything I try to blog about is contrary to how I feel and live. It has made me feel like a fake, so I will be blogging about my depression too, because somehow it has to fit in with the happy, fun and good. Somehow, I have to live. Lately I don’t want to.
I also struggle with pituitary failure, and Arnold Chiari Syndrome. I have chronic migraines, am allergic to gluten, and struggle with asthma. Because of my pituitary failure I have no immunity, no stress response, and I have to take a LOT of steroids. These have made me gain weight. So basically I am overweight, bedridden, sick all the time, in intolerable pain, and depressed. It isn’t a pretty picture.
Last month it got so bad that I wasn’t able to sleep for days and I had a terrible migraine that nothing would stop. The doctor’s had collectively decided I would be better off if I had no access to narcotic pain medication or a muscle relaxer that I have taken for years. I had brain surgery a year ago, and the surgical site is still quite painful if it gets aggravated. So here I am, in pain, no access to medication, I have gone to multiple doctors and cried and begged for help and relief, to no avail. Even the pain specialists told me to “look up cures online”. People were tired of me, and my inability to even get out of bed. Even my husband was at his wits end. I went to the ER and they placed me on a 72 hour Psych hold in a Psychiatric Treatment Facility.
Whether I was suicidal or a danger to myself or not, this was not a good solution. They took my freedom, what little support I had, and locked me up with violent, angry, people who were sick and confrontational, and scary. I was literally afraid for my physical well-being, and yet felt nothing but fear while there. I am, and was too depressed to get properly angry, or to start to find ways to act. Ultimately I was released because my physical issues cannot be managed in an environment like that. The stress of the other patients had me shaking in a seizure like fashion. They could not control my pain, nor could they manage to get me the medications that I depend upon for daily survival. I was sent home.
I still feel the same way. NOTHING. I can’t take anymore. Fighting is to hard. Dreaming is too much. I want to believe that things will improve, but I have dealt with this illness, with this depression, and with all the related struggles for so long that I feel physically empty, beaten down and lost. I am very religious. I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I am a Mormon who plays the piano for Primary kids and goes to Cub Scout Day Camp. I live my religion, and people ask me how I can endure what I have been given and still live my religion and have that faith. The answer is as simple as I believe it is true, so I do what I am asked and what I must. What happens to me doesn’t change what I believe, but it is so hard sometimes, and people can be mean, and people judge. Just putting this out there is going to garner a lot of criticism not just from members of my community, but from members of my faith, because we are all human, and depression is so difficult to understand unless you have been there.
Hardest of all is explaining to my 9-year-old son in an age appropriate manner why mommy cries. Why mommy had to go to a special hospital for “crazy” people. He has Aspergers and a mood disorder. While hospitalized I saw a child who looked a lot like him, and it breaks my heart to think that he may inherit this struggle. I don’t want to be sick. My heart aches for the struggles he already faces as he tries to navigate school and friends with Aspergers. He is sad and I weep for his heartache that I cannot take away nor fix. We have tried everything. We have gone to multiple doctors in state and out of state. Things just are the way they are. My medical expenses combined with my sons make us poor, despite the fact that my husband earns a great income. The government doesn’t help, and we have yet to qualify for any special services.
The hardest part of all is the loneliness that occurs. The longer I am sick, the more isolated I become, and the more lonely my days are. My son and husband have school and work to draw them into the world and keep them busy. I have proven time and again that I cannot work because I get sick too often, and I am in too much pain. Hopefully we have started to find a source for that pain, as I am responding really well to my new migraine treatment, and it seems to control the pain in my head and my body. I need to see more specialists. I have been referred to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, and the Chiari Clinic in New York. My son needs to go to the Brain Balance Center here in Las Vegas, but money is an object, and until someone grants us an inheritance, we are mostly bankrupt. People give up on you after a while. If it doesn’t get better they just fade away. That is hard. I don’t know where to start to “fix” this mess that my life is. It has been this way since we were married, and has steadily gotten worse. I see a new counselor today. Maybe she has some new insight or resource to offer.
Mostly depression is winning and I am in the fight of my life. I am fighting every minute, every second to stay alive. Not because I am battling a deadly disease, although the medical issues I have will eventually kill me, but because I am battling my mind. I have to find the will to live, the will to get out of bed, to not swallow a bottle of pills or just lay there and stare at the walls. Every hour, every minute, I decide to live. It is hard. Dying is so much easier. Not doing anything, lying in bed like a coma patient is so much easier. Not thinking, not caring, not trying are all so much easier, but I have a son and a husband. I believe in a a life after this one, and that suicide is wrong. If I knew how or what to ask for help with I would, but mostly I am alone in this battle, and so far I am winning, because I am still here. I share this because I know others fight this battle too, and maybe if we fight together, it won’t be so hard. Maybe if you know that I understand what it’s like to be in so much pain you pray for death while begging doctor’s for a reason to live. Maybe you’ll get through another minute. Then maybe you can help someone else get through, or me get through. Depression is hushed up and hidden and people who are sick are alone in their home and their beds. Please know I will help if I can. If only by sharing my story. You are not alone. I am not alone. This will pass, and there will be goodness and happiness again. I know that, even if I don’t feel it. Depression can’t win.