Sunday, April 17, 2011

I have to talk about it

I've tried to keep all health issues off this blog except for the cancer itself. Now I am beginning to believe that one of the issues I've been struggling with is directly affected, and I have to talk about it.I touched on it in a couple of post but never really worte about it in detail.

Depression. I know you see that word and instantly get uncomfortable. Even the word makes me uncomfortable. I'm sorry that there is such a stigma attached with that label. It makes people view me differently and if make me view myself differently.

Depression was always something I worried about. It runs rampant in my family,even if some haven't been diagnosed and treated, many have. I always knew deep down that my happy days were numbered and that eventually it would get me too. Then I had my daughter, "Roo" life was perfect, I had my boy and now my girl. I got up every day looked at myself in the mirror and called myself a fake. I recognized the face in the mirror but not the person. The person I saw was smiling and happy and doing it all! Housework, errands, kids/family and doing it with ease. The person that I knew was a fraud. None of it was real. Just beneath the surface of that smile was an angry woman, hating herself, the circumstances and life in general. I internally wished my husband would realize something was terribly wrong with me, but yet I made choices that kept the dirty secret hidden. In the shower I cried sobbed until my bones ached. then I got out, got dressed nicely, applied just enough makeup to cover the dark circles under my exhausted eyes. Giving myself a pep talk in the mirror, a reminder that if I didn't keep it all together "they" would take my kids away. Afterwards I walked out of the bathroom dressed and composed and ready to fake my way through another day. Not knowing that carefully crafted facade was days away from a hairline fracture.

During a conversation with my husband I let my guard down for a split second and asked him to stay home. He laughed it off told me not to be silly and headed to work. I sat down and cried. The facade had cracked ever so slightly. It was a small crack but one that was ready to blow. A few days went by and once again I felt like I needed help but didn't know how to ask for it. I asked my hubby to please stay home with me. Again he explained that financially we couldn't afford it and that he couldn't just stay home because I wanted him to. Out of frustration I snapped. The rage flew out, the anger took over and I warned him that if he left something bad might happen. I have no idea what that meant. I wasn't thinking about self harm or hurting our child, but I needed him to know that something was wrong with me. He was so shocked and upset that I would even say such a thing. He told me he thought maybe I should go see my Dr. I didn't. What I did was the one thing I enjoyed most. I wrote about what happened and how I was feeling on a local "mommy forum". What happened next was the best thing imaginable in my situation. The person who replied was so caring and compassionate. She really seemed to understand what I was was feeling. She urged me to come out to a support group for women dealing with Post Partum Mood issues. Deep down I knew that was what was wrong with me so after a few attempts to go I finally made it. I walked through the door and wept in the arms of the woman who was running it. I got real advice and people understood me, I felt safe there. Eventually I did go to my Doctor and was diagnosed with Post Partum Depression (PPD) and anxiety. Over time we tried different meds and finally after a very long struggle with PPD I started to get better. People commented that it was nice to see the old me again, nice to see me smile, just nice to be around me again.

6 weeks after that fog began to lift I was slammed with the news that I had cancer.

Nearly 3 years after my diagnosis of PPD and PPA I am still struggling with it. No longer does it fit into the Post Partum category. Now it's just clinical depression and anxiety. I am in a scary place right now as the "experts" are trying to work on my diagnosis and meds. For me it's a chicken vs. egg situation. We all know that the thyroid plays a huge role in our mood, so what came first? The depression or the cancer, could the cancer have caused it all? I'll never know. but I know I'm still angry, and I still hurt, and life is a struggle, but one that I am willing to fight for. I'll never give up. I've been through too much and survived to just give up.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. Please know you have more support than you realize!!
Hold on.
Hang in.
This is chemistry -- and a health issue. You will feel better.


Pam @writewrds

MamaRobinJ said...

I'm so proud of you for talking about it. I resisted for a long time too and then finally started a blog and barfed it all out there. It's helped me and I hope it helps you too.

Many good thoughts for good health coming to you.

Katherine @ Postpartum Progress said...

What a story! I hope it feels good to put the words out there and not let them have a hold over you. Thank you for sharing. I know you will help others.

LindsayDianne said...

Depression isn't easy on a regular day. I have a hard time imagining that a person could be diagnosed with an illness like yours and come through it unscathed. Of course depression comes.

It is not easy to deal with. All we can do is take it one day at a time, and do the best that we can to feel our best at the moment we are in.
Because when it's all over.... what else have we got if not our moments?

Thanks for this great, thought provoking post. I'm glad to have "met" you!

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