Monday, May 3, 2010

~Mental Health Monday Guest Blogger~ Depression and Anxiety

Meet today's guest blogger, Nadia:

My story of depression started when I was only about ten. My father was a alcoholic and very abusive. At the time of my childhood it was thought that what happened behind closed doors stayed that way and people shouldn’t interfere. My brother and I suffered at the hands of my father. I remember several beatings but the worst thing was the messages he constantly pounded into our heads. We were useless, we should have been drowned at birth, I was ugly, my brother was stupid.

I had no one to turn to and at the tender age of ten I planned a suicide attempt. At ten years old I was collecting aspirin carefully so that I could take them all at once and be over my misery. I don’t even remember why I didn’t go through with it. I believe it was because I was too scared that if I did it wrong I would be in trouble.

In high school I told no one the secret of what went on behind closed doors. I became the funny one in the group. Every summer and vacation when most kids were excited about not having school I dreaded it. The holidays became especially painful as they were only reminders of how miserable our life was.

I finally left home and didn’t realize how depressed I was because to me it was a norm that I have always lived with. I began to attend church and having faith in God really healed a lot of the hurt within me. I experienced true joy when my daughter was born and she taught me so much. I lived her joys and her discoveries and saw what true childhood should be. It brought me healing as well.

I was doing very well so that my depression was only from about October to just after Christmas. Some years weren’t as bad as others but that haunting was still there. I had a second child and about two years later my husband had a affair with my best friend. I went numb and had a nervous breakdown.

I remember wanting to sleep for hours a day but I couldn’t because I had two children to take care of. I became a recluse within my home. I was ashamed and quit going to church and became further isolated. I turned to the computer for some relief and became addicted to it spending 8 hours a day or more role-playing.

I began to gain weight through the anti depressant I was on. This only made me more depressed. This is also where I started having panic attacks when in large crowds. I barely left the house except for my children’s programs. I never socialized and the once extroverted person I was became a person always sad.

One of the worst things I found is that people well intentioned tried to help me by telling me that I should move on. It put a shame on me that was almost as unbearable as the deep sadness. I was paralyzed and the only thing that kept me moving at all was the fact of my commitment to my children. They only had me and I had to be there for them. It wasn’t as much as I should have . They didn’t have the full me but I gave them every iota I had to give.

There were days I had to argue with myself to take a shower, I couldn’t make simple decisions as they seemed too overwhelming. I felt flat and life seemed so dark. I didn’t experience suicidal thoughts but I did wonder if I belonged in the world. I was lonely because I felt no one would understand , when around family or the rare social event I would smile and fake it so no one asked questions. I was tired all the time and sometimes I would simply burst into tears for no apparent reason. I felt dry as if I were a well that brought no relief but dust.

I got a divorce and the depression still persisted but I didn’t have time to think on it. I had to get a job and I found some relief and actually started making friends but I kept them more at arms length. The well was slowly beginning to fill. When I met my second husband that cloud had begun to lift. I can’t even tell you why it did. It was like I was a different person though. As if I had stepped into a world of light instead of perpetual grey. I still don’t have many friends and hold dearly onto the ones I already have. I don’t however have to fake smiles anymore. I am not on a anti -depressant at this time. Although the depression has sated…every year around October to December the cloud will hover to varying degrees. From just feeling a bit tired one year to once again struggling to do the simplest of tasks.

My children remember those years when I withdrew. I have apologized for that missed time. What they saw was that I was on the computer a lot and though I took care of them and their needs I wasn’t the mother I should have been. I carry guilt over that but have been very open about my disease. Through the abuse I have found the perpetuation of keeping things secret has been detrimental. Only in the light can things be exposed and in doing that I have also seen I am not alone. When things are exposed, though it can be painful I can make the first steps on getting better. My friends and family arent wondering why I am acting the way I am .

There are people that care and though they might not understand they are there and just that sometimes can be a lifeline. There are people like me and I am not a worthless human being. I am a human being with particular struggles and I have a purpose here on this earth. Depression has taught me much and I still struggle with it but it has given me the ability to see pain in others and to reach out and say “ I know what its like, lets talk” It has shown me that those times I am not under the cloud that I should embrace life and make every moment. When my depression returns its those happy memories that help keep me tethered. As hard as it is reaching out helps. If one person will not listen or reach back…find another …and another till someone does.

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