I have a confession.
I suffer from depression. I have for years.
I think it started when I went through puberty when I was about 14.
I remember crying and my dad saying things like "everyone feels this way when they're a teenager", but I still felt like it was deeper than the normal teenage angst.
I battled with it through high school, never getting any help because every one thought I was going through "normal teenage stuff."
When I was 18 I started seeing a family friend who was a therapist. She helped me a great deal. She gave me confidence.
When I was 19 I moved in with my boyfriend, went on birth control pills, and had started culinary school.
I stopped seeing my therapist because I was too busy.
I was doing OK, but there was still a feeling of melancholy.
When I was 20 I broke up with my boyfriend,and moved in with my dad(I couldn't afford to live on my own).
I remember being in a car with my two best friends and asking one of them to put their seat belt on, and they started giving me a hard time, and I just lost it. I wigged out. I was hysterically crying.
They were shocked. I had been hiding my depression from them, so this was coming out of nowhere.
Shortly before I turned 21 I met my(now) husband.
It was like someone shined a beacon on me. The clouds parted.
I was madly in love.
It was also a time when I loved my job and was very successful as a pastry chef. I was even winning awards. Life was good.
The summer that I turned 23 I moved to Boston to be with the husband.
During the course of that year I decided to stop being a Pastry chef, gained 15 pounds, and my dog died suddenly of cancer. I remember lying on the floor of my husband's doorm room crying, not having the strength to get up off of the floor. My depression was back.
I missed New York. I ached for it. I thought we would move back, but then the husband got into Harvard Med, and I knew that I would be in Boston for at least another four years.
On August 31st(right after my 24th birthday) we moved to a new apartment. The next day we picked Dexter up from the breeder. The day after that the husband started medical school. Life was busy, but my depression had settled down a bit.
I was working as a nanny for a great family. I loved my job. But, the family moved away, and I was forced to find another job.
I still wasn't ready to go back to being a pastry chef, so I got a job as a manager at a high end kitchen and home goods retail store.
After a couple of months at my new job I started to hate it. And, working in retail made me disappointed in the human race.
It was also at this point that I had gained a total of 20 pounds, and I wasn't feeling very sexy. Our sex life suffered because of it.
My depression came back full force.
At one point I went to the doctor because I was feeling tired all of the time.
During his exam his said "how's your mood?"
It was the first time a doctor had asked me that.
I broke down and told him about my depression. He said that he understood, that he suffered from depression too. And that it didn't mean I was crazy; it was a chemical imbalance.
He wrote me a prescription.
I started taking it, but being the impatient person that I am, I didn't wait long enough to feel the effects.
I quit taking the pills before they had a chance to work.
I am an idiot.
Anyway life went on, There were ups and downs.
I had good days and bad days.
Then September 11th came. It really affected me. I was blown out of my safe little bubble. My(false)sense of security was shattered.
The world seemed so different to me now.
It was all I could do to get through work every day, dealing with people's petty shit.
In December of 2001 we got engaged. I was so happy that it actually lifted me out of my funk. The next year and a half I did pretty well mentally, floating along on the anticipation of our wedding. Keeping busy with work and the planning.
My dreams were coming true.
Then we came home from the honeymoon. And all of the hoopla surrounding the wedding was over. And the husband was working at the hospital all of the time. And in November someone close to us who had "recovered" from melanoma six months before our wedding told me they had prostate cancer. And then in February we found out that someone else close to us had lung cancer. Then my father needed spine surgery.
I was traveling all over, taking care of sick people.
I entered another deep depression.
I would burst into tears at the drop of a hat.
It was during this time that I started reading all of Dooce's archives. I had discovered her before the wedding, and between the depression and the perverse sense of humor I could really relate to her.
Her posts about depression really helped me through mine.
I was not alone.
We moved back to New York about a year ago and it's been a crazy year.
We moved here in July. The husband started his residency. Someone was fighting lung cancer.
In August I started my baking business. In October I threw my back out and one of my best friends got married. In November I stopped taking birth control pills. In December I shut down my business and had my shoulder surgery.
On Valentine's day I found out that someone's melanoma had spread to their lungs.
In May I ruptured the disk in my back and another one of my best friends got married.
In the past few months it's been a whirlwind of cancer, food poisoning(4 times including last night), doctors visits(too many to count), trips to the vet, the husband working all of the time, medical procedures(three spinal injections,three MRI's, three X-rays, and two nerve tests),physical therapy, and the usual every day stresses.
Oddly enough I seem to be doing OK. When I start feeling depressed I try to fight it by being social. I have a tendency when I'm depressed to want to lock my self in my bedroom, lay in bed all day, and not talk to anyone.
So, when I feel a wave of depression coming on I pick up the phone, or I hang out with friends, or the husband and I go to the dog park, or I instant message one of my blogging buddies.
It's a CONSTANT battle.
People might think I'm a loser for spending so much time on the computer, but it keeps me busy and distracts me.
Like always I have my good days and my bad days.
When I hung out with the husband all day last Saturday, and then two friends came over and played board games- good day.
When I found out that somebody wasn't eligible for a certain drug trial, and I had a long talk with their doctor, then a long talk with them, then ten minutes later Mookie started screaming in pain and had to be rushed to the vet where we spent two hours holding him down while they poked and prodded him, and my back was killing me- bad day.
Sometimes I think going off the birth control pills helped me, sometimes I think my healthy eating helps me.
Sometimes I think I'm not really better. That I look better on the outside, but I'm holding everything in. Maybe that's what all of my medical problems are- a manifest of all the stress.
I think I need to find an outlet for my stress. It's hard when you have death hanging over you all the time.
Sometimes I feel like I'm suffocating. Like someone is sitting on my chest.
Like I want to run away to the farthest corner of the earth to get away from it all.
But, there is no place on earth where I can get away from the thoughts in my head.
The husband and I want to start trying to have a baby. We decided that once I get myself in shape physically, we'll start trying.
I'm scared. What if with all of the fluctuating hormones I get depressed when I'm pregnant? Or I get post partum depression? I mean, even people who've never suffered from depression before get post partum. If I'm depressed already, what will happen to me?
But, I have to try. Because every inch of me is aching to have a baby. I believe it's what I was put on this earth to do.
I've never written about this before, because I'm not the best writer and I didn't think I could convey it properly. But, I think the best bloggers are the ones who are brutally honest.
Also, I don't want to be the blogger who never talks about anything except their problems because who would want to read that every day.
But, this is what's going on with me and I thought you should know.
My thoughts consume me.
Thank you for distracting me.
Seriously, leave me a message! .