Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mrs. Crabbypants

So, I have been taking myself off of my medicine (Zoloft)...don't worry I am doing it the way the doctor told me to. For right now, call me Mrs. Crabbypants. I feel angry at the world. I am going to try to this herbal medicine called Holy (pronounced Holly) Basil. It is supposed to make you think clearer and help you deal with stress and anxiety. I have yet to purchase the Holy Basil so please do not take my mood personally. My husband has been very supportive as well as my friends. This is something I feel I need to at least try. Thankfully I am smart enough to know when to go to my doctor and say, "I just cannot do it without meds anymore." Hopefully it will never come to that again. If you know anyone who has dealt with Bi-Polar Disorder, than you know how difficult it can be for both you and the other person.

I have been dealing with this since I was 15 years old. However, I was not diagnosed with this until I was 33, two years ago. First the doctors thought it was depression, then they said it was Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I was told it was PTSD right after a disastrous relationship in my early twenties. Personally I didn't care what I had, I just wanted to get the right treatment. I went through horrible years in high school, sleeping my way through classes. I went through a spell where I was great until the end of my horrible relationship. Believe me, the end was a very positive thing but still it threw me into yet another bout of depression. One thing I have learned is that no matter if the event is happy or sad, it can still cause a person to go into a depression. Some people would say to me, "How can you be depressed? You just got married, had a wonderful wedding and honeymoon, what is the problem?" Well, someone with chronic depression can still react depressed after something wonderful because their body decides it was too much and shuts down. It was never in my control. When my body said it was was done.

The next bout of depression did not happen until my son was born. I then of course had Post-Partum Stress Disorder. No one was surprised because someone with chronic depression has a much higher chance of having PPSD. However, my depression did not hit me hard until 2 years later. The effects of my grandmothers passing is what started me into the throws of the depression which peaked between one and two years later. Between that time, I had had a baby, started a business, closed a business, got divorced, and had to move back home with my parents. I managed to find myself in a satisfying relationship which certainly was not a healthy one. It was however, nothing like the one in my early twenties. The timing was off, we both had children that were not handling the mixing of the families and so on. During this relationship is when I really hit rock bottom.

I was so depressed that I would go to work, work on a client or two, come home and sleep only to get up and go back into work. When I look back I wonder how I even drove. I was so tired that I could not stay awake no matter how hard I tried. Every time Gavin would nap, I would nap. It was horrible. It was as if I could never get enough sleep. My body was telling me that it had been through enough. When I had to stay awake, I was miserable. Of course this ended my already stressful relationship because the one I was dating did not understand or care to understand what was wrong with me.

My mom has aways been a Dr. Phil fan. At this time he was promoting a book titled Self Matters. Because my mother always had his show on TV I ended up catching this one episode that talked about this book. You must know that besides Nancy Drew books as a kid or Danielle Steel books in my later teenage years, I really didn't take the time to read. Nor, could I ever stay awake if I tried to read before bed. I was determined to turn my life around so I went out and bought the book. I also made an appointment to see my doctor and let him know that I needed help.

In Self Matters, there is a section that is a workbook. Let me tell you, it was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. It makes you remember some of your hardest times in life and actually deal with them. I then realized that because my body shuts down, I really never dealt with anything I had gone through. Section by section doing a time line of my life, I actually recalled the first memory I had that caused me anxiety. Now you must know that depression runs in my family and it can be hereditary.

I will not bore you will the endless details of what seemed to me horrible memories. However, I will fill you in on the very first one. If you have children, you need to realize that the events that take place when they are small can affect the rest of their lives. Like me, it may take them until they are in their twenties to figure that out.

My first memory is now something I can laugh about. But, you have to put yourself in a 5 year old frame of mind. My mom put me on the bus for my first day of kindergarten. I do not recall being nervous at all. Back then they did not have any identification around a child's neck stating where they are supposed to go. The bus stopped at a school, and I got off. When I entered the school I realized that I was the only one who was not wearing what everyone else was wearing. First clue that I was in the wrong place or my mom didn't dress me correctly. Wandering the halls, this really nice girl (I can still picture her face) came up to me and asked me if I was lost. Speechless, she took my hand and led me into a room filled with these horribly scary ladies in black gowns and these strange hats. As my heart raced, because at that time I had never seen a nun, I wanted to run. These two nuns were so nice to me and tried to reassure me that everything was going to be ok. I remember getting into the front seat of this large car and having to sit between these two women. I even remember the driver asking if I would be so kind to hold her wallet for her. The last thing I remember about that morning was walking into a different school and being led by a man in a suit. Of course it was the principle, Mr. Koch....some may know his sons that both teach at Saucon High School.

Imagine not knowing for years why you were so afraid of getting lost and not knowing why. Imagine sitting in school thinking everyone is making fun of you for what you are wearing. I remember the nightmares I would have about getting lost or having to be with a stranger. At 5 years old an event like this is scaring.

If it wasn't for Self Matters, I may still have those nightmares and never know why I have always felt lost, out of place, and so nervous. It is very important to sometimes piece together the events that led us to the person we are today. Because of dealing with this issue, I am over it. It may seem like an easy task but carrying that with me for all of those years made it that much harder to get over.

Please be aware of your children if they seem stressed out. Be there for them and let them deal with it in their own way and help them through it. I highly disagree with telling a child not to cry, suck it up, or stop being a baby. Children are not born with the experience on how to cope with issues that seem small to us but are very big to them. Some of us as adults still do not know how to cope or deal with issues. We have to take one step at a time and surround ourselves with positive people who will hold our hand through our most difficult times. If you look at it that way, you will see that a child only wants the same thing.

What I am thankful for today:
My health.
Makenna wearing underwear all day!!!
My patience with my kids.
My supportive family and friends.
The long road I have traveled and the lessons I have learned.
My cats who CRACK ME UP!
My dog who loves me unconditionally and shows it.