Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Discussion about Depression

Once again, I'm a little ashamed for my little outburst yesterday. Sorry. But, then, again, I'm not, either. Because I use this place to vent, and unload my burdens, and I guess it's better to type it out, then take it out on my husband and kids. But, I'm sorry that you come here to see what's up with us, and get bombarded with whining.

I was asked by a few people, what I thought my problem was, and received a few suggestions that I find the root of the problem and start there.

Well, that just the thing. I don't know. To be honest, I often feel incredible guilt for getting depressed, because logically speaking, I have a really great life. I really have nothing to be depressed about. Really, I am truly blessed to not have any REAL problems. I have a few friends who are dealing with me pretty heavy stuff right now, and it really puts me in my place. Yeah, we're over scheduled. Yeah, my kids demand a lot from me. Yeah, my husband works long hours and is gone a lot. But, what Mom out there doesn't deal with these same things? None that I've seen, so far.

I really think my problem is simply a good, old fashioned chemical imbalance. Which is why the damn anti-depressants (not happy-pills for you, Queen Elizabeth) work. I don't want to take them though. I didn't like how they made me feel. I don't like the side effects. I felt like I had more "episodes" when I was taking the pills, than since I've quit. When, I say episodes, I use that term loosely. If you ask my husband, he wonders still if he should've committed me to an institution last spring. I don't think he truly understands depression because it was never discussed in his home. I don't know if his Mom ever struggled with it.

I also don't know why people are so afraid to talk about it. I think I would probably feel better and a lot of other people would feel better if we all just came out of our comfort zones, let down our barriers, and just talked about it.

So, I want to discuss this. If you don't want to, that's Ok, but I just wondered who else out there suffered from depression, or seasonal affective disorder (which I think is my big problem right now). What do you do for it? Do you take medication? Do you have home remedies that work for you?

I'll tell you what works for me besides taking the pills:

First of all, being depressed makes me want to sleep all day and do nothing. And avoid contact with people at all costs. But, I've noticed that if I get outside, and socialize, even just to go to the store, it helps. Also, surrounding myself with friends and family. I think this forces me to think about other people besides myself, and helps me realize that yes, people care about me, and my life is worth something. Holing myself up in my room only locks me away with my dangerous thoughts.

Also, exercise. I always feel better after a good run, or going to the gym. Sometimes, after I run a few miles, I like to finish it off with a sprint. I just run as hard and as fast as I can for like 20-30 seconds. It's amazing what that does for me. That, and laying off sugar. Sugar does nothing but gives me instant gratification. And I always feel like crap after I eat it.

And Prayer. Sometimes this is so difficult for me, it's almost unbearable. I don't know why. Because I don't feel worthy of His love when I'm depressed? Or I'm ashamed? But, I have to force myself to get on my knees. Sometimes, I don't even say anything, I just kneel, and cry. Honestly, sometimes, I feel like I am just crying at His feet. And I know He is there, and wants me to be happy. Just acknowledging God, and coming to Him for help, helps.

These are my home remedies. Obviously it's a work in progress. But, I'd like to know, what works for you? Leave me a comment, and lets talk about it.


wonder woman said...

I have struggled with mild depression. It's not chemical, or post-partum, or SAD, but just the hormonal stuff. 1-3 days a month are rough. Everything makes me cry. I feel fat and ugly and unappreciated and like a horrible mother and wife and housekeeper....basically all the inner demons claw their way to the surface then.

I'm not at all ashamed to discuss depression, but that may be because it's not a legitimate part of my life. It's very possible that I'd feel differently otherwise. I admire your willingness to be so open.

You offered a lot of suggestions that help you get out of the funk. I'm sorry the meds seem to have more negative than positive affects for you. I know they really help a lot of people, but it differs for every single person. I assume you've tried different combos with your doctor.

This is starting to get really long, so I guess I'll stop there. But Sher, don't be afraid to share all this on your blog. That's what it's for, as well as this wonderful community of friends. To help and support and validate.

xo alyssa

Scrappy Girl said...

I am in the same situation as wonder woman...I have severe PMS and depression comes along with that. So for several days I am a mess...things that normally don't bother me jump up and send me spiraling. It's good to talk about your feelings.

Angela said...

Hey Sherrie - It's definitely a good thing to vent about this. I grew up with a manic depressive mother - there were some really difficult times for all of us, but in the end talking about it and being candid about it is what helped her and all of us most. I think there's nothing worse than denying the fact that it is there. At times, I wonder if I don't have some depression in my blood too - I totally know what it feels like to 'not feel'. Like you, exercise and doing things to 'get outside of myself' have always helped!

Don't worry, you're not in it alone!!!

Kristina P. said...

Sher, I didn't realize you added to your post yesterday.

You clearly understand the nature of depression. Sometimes, it is environmental, and sometimes, it is a genetic chemical imbalance, plain and simple.

I've worked in the mental health field for a long time, and people are so averse to taking medication for mental health issues. If you had a broken leg or a ruptured spleen, you would take medication to help you feel better. This medication helps your brain feel better and function normally.

I don't know how many medications you have tried, but there are LOTS of options out there, and you should be able to find one that won't have the kind of side effects you are describing.

Also, I think it's very common in the church for people to make the assumption that you aren't praying enough or aren't living righteously, and if you only did those things, you would be better. What a great disservice that belief does to people who truly have a mental health issue that is not just going to be fixed by prayer. It helps, but it's not a magic pill.

Please don't feel like a failure because you have to take medication.

Sarah said...

What really helps me is getting out of my house. I suffer from depression, anxiety and PMS. I have come to realize that a lot of this comes on because I have unrealistic expectations for myself. I can't be perfect, and I don't think it is fair to surround myself with people who expect me to be. I have had to accept that the kinds of people I need to have around me are the ones that accept me for who I am. A lot of my depression and anxiety problems come from trying to force people to like me instead of being who I am.

I have been on medications in the past, I didn't like how they made me feel either. I missed laughing, and I missed crying more. They didn't allow me to experience lows but they didn't allow the highs either.

A lot of my issues stem from they way I feel about my kids too. Once I accepted that they are who they are things went a lot more smoothly for me.

One of the things that helps me the most though is having a job. I know it is just a pathetic little retail job, but it gives me an excuse to leave the house and be Sarah. Not Mom, not Sister Moss, not Shanes Wife, just me.

Just remember that there are people out there who care and feel the same way you do. You should do what works for Sher, because we are all individuals, what works for me won't necessairly work for everyone but above all don't quit praying, that works for everyone!

Motherboard said...

This is a good post for me to read... since I have holed up in my house for the past couple of days, and haven't been answering the phone. (sorry)

Winter sends me over the edge. I hate to be cold, I hate the gray skies, I hate it being dark...

I also take "happy pills" except at my house we call them the crazy pill. I'm more stable, but like one of the commenters said, I miss my funny side. So, I do what you do-- I go back and forth. Which isn't healthy either.

Blogging has helped a lot for me. Being able to just vomit out what I was thinking or feeling is completely therapeutic! I wouldn't apologize for what you write, and I sure as hell wouldn't censure it either. That has been my problem... I started censuring what I wrote, and its not had positive effects.

Ok. This has turned into a comment hijack.

The short of the long is this: I get you. Don't stop, and don't give up.


tammy said...

I told you yesterday some of the things that have helped me. Another thing that helps sometimes is giving service to someone. If I can offer to take a meal to someone, or even just get my VT done, that can help me feel better too. And like you said, just getting out of the house can help too.

People who have never felt depression before, just don't get it. It's so much more than just feeling down, and you can't just snap out of it because someone tells you to. Hang in there.

Queen Elizabeth said...

Sher - I'm so sorry that the pills give you side-effects. Have you thought about trying a different dosage/different type? I know there are a lot out there. I have taken a.d's for almost 14 years now. I have tried to go off of them and it was a nightmare. I still get depressed. I still get extraordinarily happy - they just give me a little edge of STABILITY. Sometimes I have to double my dosage (esp. this time of year. Sorry but if you think winter is long in Utah, you should come to New England... talk to me during February vacation - yes, a WEEK in Feb when there's NOTHING to do... I want to D-I-E).
But, BE NICE TO YOURSELF. You are blessed, but that doesn't make your problems any less real. Especially to the Savior. He's not there just for the seemingly perfect ones or the ones who are dying, but everyone and everything in between. It is definitely SATAN who is telling you that you shouldn't pray. That is a powerful tool and DON'T LET HIM WIN!!! Even if you are just on your knees and say nothing, HE understands!!!!
I'm thinking of you girl. There are so many bloody stigmas out there with depression that it makes me sad. Find what works for YOU - even calling them happy pills ;) - and stick with it. Try not to worry about what everyone else thinks... (Yes, I know, easier said than done.) FIRST PRIORITY = you and your family for sure!!!
Keep us posted :)

debilyn said...

hey sher~

as one who has been battling this for the last 3 years, i'd LOVE to tell you i've found the magic solution, but i haven't.

i have a love/hate relationship with my meds...my depression is defnitely kept more in check when i take them regularly, but physically i have to deal with feeling like i want to vomit my guts out for at least an hour every night. it can be SO unbelievably frustrating.

the other thing is that even with being ON my meds, i still go through cycles...sometimes i feel like i'm doing fabulous...and then will come a spell for several weeks where i feel as if i've taken 10 steps backwards and all i want to do is hide out in my house and avoid everyone and everything again. my body will ache constantly, and i'll just feel like being alone. it's especially difficult when the people you live with...try as they may...never seem to fully understand the nature of what you're going through.

keep doing the things you're doing that bring you some relief...and just know that you really aren't alone. as one who lives it every day, my heart truly goes out to you...

Erin said...

It seems like we all have ebbs and flows of depression, don't we?

My husband has a Ph.D. in psychology...I have been through therapy twice and it totally helped me (even though I hate it because it is so hard). But I love your ideas too. Getting out helps me, but sometimes I feel too depressed to want to go out. And now that we are approaching the doldrums of January, it may be a long, cold winter. Definitely, let me know next time you are down south and we will get together!

Annette Lyon said...

Unfortunately, I have a lot of experience with depression--grew up with a clinically depressed parent who really should have been on medication.

Sounds like you're on the right track--knowing it's chemical, exercising, praying for help, watching your diet, and yes, going back on meds if need be.

Hang in there.

Kristina P. said...

Sher, I just wanted to let you know I am thinking about you today!

Ryan and Hetz said...

You and Clint go tons of cool places. I'm so jealous of you! Amen to your feeling low right now, I don't know what it is!

Spence said...

Hey Sher, I can actually sort of relate although I don't think I have to same causes and whatnot. I have depression episodes. Quite frequently it seems. Sometimes I get really frustrated because I don't know what to do about it. But it does help to have people show they care and to socialize it peers. It makes you feel important and realize that everyone is on your level. People need people I figured out. Anyways Good luck Sis.:)

Cynthia said...

My husband has Major Depression and Panic/Anxiety Disorder and OCD. He also HATES the meds. Most of the time he is unmedicated (he uses his cognitive therapy skills) but he had a really bad flare up in the last year that's been tough and he had to go back on the meds.

It ebs and flows. Hopefully he'll be able to go off the meds in a few months- he's been on them for a year. It's such a mixed bag, I know.

The cognitive therapy skills are something he learned via a support group called Recovery. They have free chapters that meet all over the US. I have gone with him and I've learned so much about stress management as a result. Anyone can benefit from gaining these skills. There are no therapists in the group and it's not a substitute for meds or a doctor's care. The groups are made up of other people who are struggling with these issues but learning to cope using certain thinking techniques. Consider it. If nothing else, my husband says it feels great to be in a room full of people who 'get it'.

Peggy said...

The only time I really experienced any sort of depression that I couldn't seem to snap out of was when I was pregnant. So, I have had a glimpse of it, but luckily it disappeared after birth. I am sorry that you struggle with this. Hang in there. And keep praying.

kitchenditcher said...

Before I dealt with a little bout of anxiety myself, I didn't have much patience or understanding for those who deal with it on a permanent basis. I had a friend who would call during an anxiety attack and I would think "Buck up and get a grip on yourself." But then it happened to me and I soon came to realize that you can't control it and that it is very real.

My bouts are now very few and far between and I feel happy everyday, but if this was an every day condition, I would definitely take something for it just like I would take something if I had diabetes.

I hope that 2009 will be a great year for you and that depression will be less and less of an issue for you!!

Keep praying!!

Tink said...

There's some great discussion going here. Depression is genetic in my family--that's why I teased about putting prozac in our family Turkey at Thanksgiving this year. Like Kristina P said, there's nothing wrong with taking medications to help moods. I've found other things to help too...like I have food sensitivities and allergies to milk which play total havoc with depression with me. Did you know that wheat/gluten sensitivities can also cause depression? There's sooo much out there to know and deal with. One of the reasons I got off of cola drinks is because the effects caffeine has on my moods. There's no quick fix but there is a lot out there to help. Mood disorders are becoming more and more understood and grasped within today's society and there is much out there to help...we just have to be willing to listen to the spirit to show us how to help ourselves because it just doesn't affect us, it affects our whole family. We're a unit. I'm grateful for modern medicine and I'm grateful that we have the word of wisdom to help with some of these disorders too to help heal (cope with) our minds and bodies. I'm always willing and open if you want to talk about it more in depth. You can email me at tinkledpink65@gmail.com. I'm proud of you that you discuss these issues on your blog! I think it's a great help, so kudos to you!

kalen said...

i *always* breakdown around christmas... i have a mood disorder & i've really struggled with it a long time. medication for mental illness is a very sensitive/tricky process... most people give up way too early in the game (not saying you did) for example, it took me being on FIVE anti-depressants (yes 5) to realize they weren't the class of drugs i even needed.

good will can't cure chemical imbalances, so just be careful how you treat it. *hugs*

Jan said...

This is a subject for sure. I just know that it is good to talk about it and have feedback like this. I really hope that you are doing better today.

I have a huge history with depression. But I am one that doesn't like to talk about it openly for some reason. I am a hider of certain things. I have had severe bouts though. Like a 2 year in my house not wanting to leave bout. And I fight that still. I freeze in social and big areas and crowds still. It is the worst thing to have such social anxieties. I was on pills once. They sent me to the moon even more, so I just try to manage things out. I learned to honor my own might mind and strength. That is what works for me the best.

Email me if you ever want to talk. Okay.

Judi said...

Thank you for posting this subject and being open about depression.
I deal with it on a daily basis, even while ON meds.
Knowing that I am not alone and that there are people willing to talk about it helps .
I am excited for your Bucketfillers!

VICKI IN AZ said...

Depression Sucks!!
You are awesome. I am really looking forward to knowing you here in blogland thank you crazyland!!!

Ok so I know I am commenter 5000 but here's to hoping you read this. Peppermint candies work. This is a great time of year to stock up on candy canes and just eat a piece here and there. I seriously keep one or two in my purse. Reading some awesome books on the subject helped me so much Kay Redfield Jamison's An Unquiet Mind was my favorite, I will remember the titles of others for you. Realizing that some of the most awesome people ever struggled with depression helped too. Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Nephi, reading what they wrote.
I love what you said about prayer, I am in awe of you and your honesty.
My # 1 is Therapy. Yeah I know revolutionary, huh? Not very original but a great therapist has been the key for me. One day he said to me after I told him that I was getting bad again and going to get on meds again "Vicki, just think how much free time you will have if you quit this struggle and just stay on your meds." Thanks for your honesty!!

lagirl said...

I take Paxil and have for years and will probably always take it...The very fact that all is well within your world, with your husband & kids, is a clear indicator that you are clinically depressed. When people are sad because of awful things happening in their life, that's simply a natural reaction to unpleasant things. But when all is well and you feel this way that means you need meds, as I understand it.

Please see your doctor and try a different med than you had the last time. There are many different ones and sometimes it takes persistence to find the right one for YOU.

I don't understand why there is so much stigma attached to anything that has to do with our mentality. Would we hesitate to say we take heart meds or blood pressure meds? It's all simply biology, as I see it...I am happy and thriving and very appreciative of the meds that keep my brain chemistry balanced. No shame in that!!

Don't give up.
The answer is out there, and if you doctor can't/won't help, then find one who will.

Young said...

Depression does sucks.

When I am home, it gives me lots of time to depress myself. What I did is I went to the red cross office and pass my resume to become a red cross volunteer. I've always wanted to become one for over 10 years now. It's great and it worked.

The Boob Nazi said...

I just clicked over from your post, and I wanted to let you know that I suffer from it too. It's always worse in the winter because I hardly get any sun exposure (that's what I like to think). I was in therapy for 1 1/2 years and took medication. (Gained 30 pounds in a month. Didn't help.) It's difficult, and people never understand it. I find it frustrating. (I find myself frustrating too!) Why can't I just be happy sometimes?? argh.