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Friday, August 26, 2005

Secrets

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.

posted by Torrie at Friday, August 26, 2005 |

22 Comments:

Commented by Blogger Susie:


You are so lovely. Depression sucks. I've had it. I worried about post-partum depression, but it didn't happen to me. It doesn't always happen, by any means, even to those who were depressed before the pregnancy. And even if it does, it's manageable, especially for people like you who are knowledgeable and surrounded by people who will look out for you. You will be OK. You know me, I would recommend therapy. There's a lot that can be done for depression.
You wrote this beautifully. Naked blogging. You are beautiful naked.
Love,
Susie


5:38 PM 
Commented by Anonymous Anonymous:


Please, please, please, know that you are not alone - I also have depression, and in my teen years, couldn't understand why I felt everything so very strongly. Then, I cried one time, every day for 12 years. Finally started medication - one day, while driving in the car, I thought, "this must be what "normal" people feel like" - the depression was there, I could "see" it, but I felt like a regular person - what an amazing thing. I do feel for you, and hope you will take care of yourself.


7:50 PM 
Commented by Blogger Charlotte in Pa:


My sister has a chemical imbalance - she suffers from depression and it manifests itself in WEIRD ways. However, when she was pregnant, she felt "normal" - her chemicals must have balanced themselves out then. Maybe that's why she had 6 kids. :-) (Well that and the fact that she looked cute pregnant)


8:23 PM 
Commented by Blogger whfropera:


time for a "me too" post - I can't afford the meds I need to stop the crying and sure as heck can't do therapy - even on a sliding scale - no health insurance. its amazing how many women chalk it up to "hormones" and "pms" and then all of a sudden you realize you're crying every day. yep, its very hard to write about it, but its harder to live with it. having a bad day? write me. ok?


9:59 PM 
Commented by Blogger LadyBug:


I started my meds two weeks ago.

I'm still waiting for 'normal.'

Thank you for sharing this, Torrie.

Hugs to you.


10:04 PM 
Commented by Anonymous kalki:


I've said it before and I'll say it again: Your honesty is what I love most about you. And take it from a former English teacher - this was incredibly eloquent.

Susie said it best: You are beautiful naked.


10:52 PM 
Commented by Blogger Nilbo:


I agree, You are beautiful naked. Hey, how come when I say that, everybody rolls their eyes?


10:59 PM 
Commented by Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes:


I hope you'll give the meds another try, and long enough to see a difference this time. That doesn't work for everybody, but for some people, it's the difference between night and day. Ain't no shame in availin' yourself of the help that's there.

And Nilbo, we're not rollin' our eyes; we're just thinkin', you're beautiful naked, too.


11:14 PM 
Commented by Blogger Charlotte in Pa:


By the way, I am out of work for a week or two, so feel free to IM me. I'll keep you company anytime. :-)


12:10 AM 
Commented by Blogger mrtl:


I'm afraid to offer hugs since the thought alone may bring you pain.

In case it helps to know, there are depression meds that can be taken during pregnancy.

Thinking of you, girlfriend, and your kitty, and your loved ones, and your pain -- inside and out.


2:50 AM 
Commented by Anonymous Jessicarabbit:


Sweet girl, I hope things are getting better and you can always always talk to me anytime you need to, Im so here for you.


6:35 AM 
Commented by Blogger abcd:


The day will come when folks won't need to feel they have a secret.
They will feel safe to say they
are suffering from depression.

Depression is a disease. Nobody is afraid to say they have lupus, diabetes, and the list goes one.

Take care of you and your disease.

Nikki


7:26 AM 
Commented by Blogger Whyme:


That was brutally honest and must have been hard to write. Good on you for having the courage to share. Maked blogging is wonderful and in some ways, some of the best therapy in the world.

I hope all goes well for you and that you start having more good days than bad days.

*hugs*
Tanya


8:01 AM 
Commented by Blogger Squirl:


Torrie, that was not only well-written, it was heart-wrenching. You are very brave, not for blogging this, but for finding ways to make your life better. Good luck. Maybe meds could make the coping a little easier.


8:56 AM 
Commented by Blogger Candace:


Just make sure you discuss your past depression with your OB, when you get one, and he/she will come up with a plan.

And if you go on meds before you get pregnant, make sure your doc knows you plan on concieving.

I'm sure you know all this, since you have wonderful Dr. Torrie, but giving advice is how I feel less helpless when a friend is in pain.


10:04 AM 
Commented by Blogger Fuzzball:


Hello to my twin sister, separated at birth :)

Mental illness runs in my family, on both sides. I've got anxiety and depression from the women on my mom's side, and OCD and the resulting depression that it causes from my dad's side.

I battle this shit everyday. Sometimes I think that it will beat me and that I will end up in some sort of padded cell, other days I just feel happy that I have a name for what I'm going through. Therapy has been remarkable for me, I have to say.

Never be ashamed of how you feel. You're a brave, kind, intelligent, talented, fantastic person, and you have all the strength in the world! I love ya, sweetie :)


7:47 PM 
Commented by Anonymous lawbrat:


You are beautiful naked. When I was pregnant, those were the times I felt *most* normal. I never realized how depressed I had been until recently. But you know all that.
You are so loved by so many. So much support and love coming to you. I know its hard, and its so easy to wrap up in the blanket and see the day is gone. I'm so proud of you for *knowing* when its coming on and take active steps to distract yourself.
I think that trying something and giving it a chance to work would really help now. It may take many tries to get the right one.
Your not a loser if your on the computer and it helps you and distracts you, and stops you from going down a negative road.

I love you Torrie. If you ever need to talk, I'll email you my phone number.
Love,
Dawn


10:04 PM 
Commented by Blogger Annejelynn:


"And, working in retail made me disappointed in the human race."

I can so so so totally related to this statement of yours (among a gazilion others you've made).


1:07 PM 
Commented by Blogger Southern Fried Girl:


Believe me, you are not alone. BELIEVE ME.

I am going to email you my home and cell numbers. You may use them at any time. :)


3:16 PM 
Commented by Blogger Sarcomical:


never think you are alone or STRANGE or weird for feeling the way you do. that i think would be the worst mistake. more people go through this than talk about it. and talking about it, albeit on a blog, is a huge step. really.

i wish you the best and hope that as you prepare to get past everything and perhaps have a baby, that you remember also the good glimmers of hope from these past years as well.


4:52 PM 
Commented by Blogger halloweenlover:


Everything the people above have said and more. I hate that depression is kept a secret because the truth is that so many people suffer from it and find ways to live happy lives. I hope you can talk to the doc and find something that works for you.

Hugs, this was a beautiful post.


4:15 PM 
Commented by Anonymous Anonymous:


I love your information on culinary school! I bookmarked your blog and will be back soon. If you want, check out my blog on culinary school secrets, please come by!


3:07 AM 

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