Tuesday, June 08, 2010

It's Time - My Battle With Depression And Anxiety

I've gone back and forth on this for nearly 2 years now......whether or not to write about my battle with depression and anxiety.

Today, I'm going to write it down.

And, then actually push the "publish" button I've been avoiding for so long.

Most of my close friends know already, but I suffer from Depression and Anxiety. I'm not entirely sure where it comes from. Some may be genetic. Some may be environmental. Either way, I have a hard time dealing with the difficult parts of life and then often with what I think should be the easier parts, too.

Looking back, I believe that I had post-partum depression after each child. Whether it was a strong case of the "baby blues" or mild depression, I'm not sure. After Carter, I nearly lost my mind trying to be a stay-at-home mom. Eventually, I went back to work and returned to "normal". Jack's birth was conveniently timed with Blake's receiving his position in Denver, so I was super busy selling a house and preparing to move. Though I remember some dark days, I was distracted most of the time and never dealt with it.

And, then I had Lainey. Jack was 7 months old when I became pregnant with her. We quickly leased our rental and bought a house, moved and set roots. So, I was in a new town with new doctors, new friends, a new life. And, no family nearby. In addition, while I was pregnant, Caroline received confirmation from her doctors that she could not carry a child. She could physically get pregnant, but the pregnancy would end her life due to her disease. Upon hearing this, I went into a tailspin of guilt and frustration. That lasted for months. Why me? Why her? I begged God to help me understand the plan he made for us. I still don't have the answers I need. Maybe one day.

About 6 weeks after giving birth, I had a breakdown. After fighting with Blake regarding any possible thing on earth, I lost it. I threw phones. I threw my laptop. Basically, if there was a small (expensive, no doubt) electrical device near me, it was at risk of being whirled into the air. I knew something was wrong.

WRONG.

The next day, I took Jack and Lainey into my doctor's office.......a family doctor I had never met......and lost it again. I'll never forget holding Lainey in my arms, toddler Jack tugging at me requesting the attention he absolutely deserved.......and bawling like a baby to this women I had never met in my life. She sat with me for 45 minutes listening, agreeing, understanding.

I went on depression/anxiety meds immediately and a rather strong dosage. It helped. Everything seemed slightly easier to deal with.

My life didn't change. How I handled it did.

I transitioned off the meds several months later......then went back on them during our relocation from Colorado to Kansas. Off again eventually. And, now I'm back on. This time, I'm on a different prescription and feel it's the perfect fit for me. I'm grateful.

I don't blame my depression and anxiety on having children. Looking back on my life, I see several signs of it in my past. I think it took me becoming an adult to recognize that I needed help.

And, while I'm thankful for what meds can do for me, I'm an even bigger advocate for counseling. I've seen counselors off and on for over half my life and I credit them with saving my marriage, friendships, and my sanity on more than one occasion. I have many people close to me that I can talk to openly, but there is simply something different about speaking to someone independent from your personal life. I cherish it.

So, why tell you this now? Because it feels good to finally say it. And, I did!

41 comments:

Jodee Leader said...

So sorry to hear about your anxiety and depression. Thank God for good drugs! Hopefully you will feel better after Blake finds a new job. Hang in there!

P.S. I feel a mid-life crisis coming on, and I could use some good drugs myself!

Kelley and Carl Loredo said...

Oh Case...sorry to hear about your challenges. I'm so happy for you that you have them under control - drugs are amazing. Thank goodness you have found something that works well for you now! I have heard that it is tough to get the balance just right...

Jennifer said...

Casey~ I can so relate to you!! After having Addie, I was post partum but didn't really recognize it at the time. There I was with a perfect newborn baby, husband who loved me very much and who I loved, beautiful house, everything I could have ever wanted and all I could do was cry and never felt happy. Finally, after about 5 months I got on some meds and they helped me a ton. I took them until I got pregnant with Amelia and then the day she was born my ob put me right back on them {bc I told her about being post partum with Addie}. There is nothing wrong with taking meds and I'm so proud you came out and talked about this. I bet you will find out that many people battle with depression and anxiety many whom you wouldn't think. Bc you are the last person I would ever think would battle with them. Hang in there and know you are not alone!!

Nate, Abbey, Noah and Blaire said...

I totally respect you for laying it out there. I completely love people who know exactly who they are and don't try to be perfect because seriously who is?! I want to meet a perfect person but then again, we wouldn't have much in common! :)

timmonstimes said...

Totally respect you for your honesty! Everyone appreciates an honest person and even though we've never "met", I completely respect you. I'm so glad you've found a good balance. I'm praying for you guys during this time of transition.

Anonymous said...

thanks for doing that. i'm with you on the entire thing. been thinking about doing a post on the same thing myself, but just not ready yet. too fresh.

The Luis Family said...

What a brave step you took! I am sure it is a relief to have it out there . Life often deals us a hand we never expect! It is hard to face at times and it is hardly ever done alone. I am so glad you have found things that help you out and help you to feel better!

(I had the same break down in the pediatricians office when Addie was 7 weeks old!) Believe it or not so many people have/ are experiencing the same things. It is always a relief to know someone else we know knows what it is like!

Kim said...

Good for you! I am glad you found the courage to talk about it with us. It sounds like to are taking the right steps to deal with it and it sound like you have gone through a lot of stressful situations in your life. I hope this transitio goes quickly so you can settle back in. Take care!

Pam @ Kassie's Beach said...

Good for you. That's not something you should have to carry alone. We have depression in our family. I never felt like I had any major issues with it till this year. Every time my niece has an ADHD induced tantrum I spend the next day or two in a severe funk. It's the only way I can relate to what you are saying and how you feel. Of course, I know that does not even come close to what you deal with. I'm glad you found a medication that works for you. It can be a trial and error for a while. I'll be praying for you.

Kelly Beatty said...

Beautifully written. Depression and axiety are so hard because they're illnesses you can't actually "see". You're the best.

The Lenzers said...

What a touching story to hear from you. I too, thanks to advice from you, have received help. It will be stronger once I am done nursing, if still needed. I just heard a news report that is about 60% of women who won't admit or seek help because they think it is just them or that they should be able to fix it themselves. Luckily some of us have good friends like you who can set us straight!! HA

Becca Jane said...

I'm in the same boat my friend. My mother suffered from it severely growing up, and since having Cam, I see it coming out in myself. I have been on Zoloft and used to be embarrassed, but now I have learned how to accept it. I have been off of it for several months as we are trying for another baby...and I've noticed a huge difference. I wish it wasn't this way, but it is. I think it's best though when you can recognize and accept it and treat it instead of being in denial and letting it get worse. Love ya!

Alvis said...

Casey,

I don't know you, although I do know Caroline, and I've come to know a lot about you and your beautiful family through this blog.

It's a very brave thing to post what you did about depression. It is still so misunderstood by so many. (And, boy, could I write about that.)

I am either clinically depressed or bipolar. My psychiatrist has never 'officially' diagnosed me. In any case, I suffer from depression and anxiety.

Currently, I am taking Welbutrin, Lexapro, and Lamictal (mood stabilizer). They help, but I really need to get back into counselling.

That's all I wanted to say. I'll be around.

Allyson and Dave said...

You are such an amazing person. I would have never guessed you suffered from anything like this. You do so much for your family and truly do seem like the perfect Mom. We all have our issues that we have to work through. I have a few family members that suffer from depression. I have seen what it can do to people. I am glad you have found a way to treat it. I think things like this only make us stronger.

Sara said...

I'm so glad you wrote this down, my sweet friend.

Love you!

FROGGITY! said...

that publish button is really hard to push when it is something as sensitive and heartfelt as this post. but i am glad you shared and commend you on 'making the push' and trusting us with your struggle.

i throw my arms around you now (from afar!) and give you a big hug. you are a wonderful person. you deserve good things, health, and well being. i pray God blesses you continually with that! and i am so glad that you have found something that helps you and hope that everything only gets better and better.

much love!!

Lauren W said...

I admire and respect you so much, Casey. Thank you for sharing with us. It makes me admire and respect you even more.

Carrie Darney said...

Casey, there are so many of us out there that deal with this. It is just that we don't find out how many and WHO until we ourselves open up!

I dealt with depression on and off for years and have had to go on stuff here and there. PPD was bad, but I was embarrased to talk about it because we tried to have Hagen for so long...then he was here and I was at my lowest ever.

It is hard to admit a problem, but it can be an easy fix! You are right...life itself doesn't change, but how we deal with it does. AND most importantly our loved ones are the first to notice the good changes.

I know it is a tough time right now, but you guys have been through things that would make most of us go NUTS! The relocating is the big one! You will look back at this time and say, "Look, we did it...we survived and came out of it fabulous...like always."

XOXO my sweet friend,
Carrie

Shannon said...

Anything I could say you already know. So proud of you for finally saying this.

Coco said...

Thank the Lord for the drugs.

The Potters said...

That was very brave of you to actually hit the publish button! Good for you! And I completely understand that feeling, which is so horrible. In fact, I was on depression/anxiety meds for 10 years straight starting when I was 15. They helped tremendously. There will come a time, though, that you no longer need them. Whether it's in one month or ten years. It will come!

BrownEyedGirlsMom said...

I think you had mentioned this to me in an e-mail or something and I thought how could someone so put together deal with these types of issues. It's amazing how you writing this can help so many others out there. You really are such a great advocate to all us moms out there. Thanks you - lots of hugs coming your way!

Clare said...

Thanks for sharing and glad to hear that things are good.

I too have stuggled with both, thankfully the depression has been gone for awhile. I still have terrible anxiety but not as bad as it's been in the past.

Melissa said...

Casey,
Thank you for having the courage to share your challenges. I respect you for laying it out there. It feels good to scream it out loud, hm?

I am a complete advocate of counseling! It has kept me sane for years - especially when I'm raising two kids & juggling life with a husband that is away so much. This winter was incredibly difficult. I just wanted to walk out the front door.

So inspired by you!

merrilee said...

Casey, you are awesome! I think so many people struggle with this and we need to feel ok talking about it. You are courageous, my friend. I admire you more than you'll ever know! XXOO

aunt caroline said...

Gurrrl, what a day to write this! I'll tell you about my morning later...

Granted, I'm in a very dif boat than many of your readers, but I, too, have faced many struggles. Instead of facing the facts, I just lied to myself for years. Didn't want to call my PH "fatal." Still have a hard time with that term. Didn't want to accept that my Sclero was progressing. Just told myself I had a few road bumps.

Ahh, but it was all bs. It took my last hospital visit to really do me in... the severity of it all was too much. And alas, came my beautiful Zoloft... my friend, my helper, my saving grace in a tiny little blue pill.

I'm so grateful for the day I asked my pulm about it. And, as it turns out, it helps my PH, too!

I often sit in church and listen to the priest talk about anxiety. I tried for so long to look to God to help me, and he did, but it was still much too much for the both of us.

Boy, could I go on about this. You know I could! Thanks for sharing your story...

Love you and talk to you soon.

Monica said...

Amen! I am glad you shared. I have gone through many times of deep depression and I have been on and off different meds at different times. In fact, the minister that married Bobby and I is our Counselor. I figured if he was willing to marry us then he must truly believe in us because he knows the VERY WORST parts about us. I have learned that no matter how bad it gets, it always gets better! Depression and anxiety just makes you a REAL person.

Shannon said...

Wanted to comment on the idea of going on and off meds: for some, that makes sense and for some, it doesn't. Going off is actually quite dangerous for those of us who have a chemical deficiency that will never be right without meds. People with diabetes wouldn't stop taking insulin because they felt better and I won't stop taking my meds because my dopamine levels will never be right without it.

Heather said...

I love you! Thanks for being real.

Now I know how you are such an awesome/perfect mom!! ha! :)

Is there something wrong with throwing phones and kicking doors??? I've had my fair share. Maybe I need meds???? Derek said we had to get new cordless phones with every pregnancy. And while pregnant with Ellison, I actually kicked in a door. Glad we are adopting this time around....

You rock!

WPMomOf2 (jen) said...

I can totally relate! And I am sure many women can. I have been on meds three different times myself. I always wonder if it is hormonally related, who knows. But the drugs with counseling DO help! We are in this journey together!

Dee Stephens said...

No kids but have dealt the same with the same thing. One main reason I moved back East..
Even after that dealt with it. Never any meds but lots of exercise did the mind good and looking at life different(that was just me being single).. Kudos for you being honest.
Sure you saw my kid post that I then quickly deleted...hard to put out here.

~KS said...

I just love you to pieces. This simply makes me more in awe of you- from where I stand, I see in you the best wife anyone could ask for, the greatest mom I know, the most loving and supportive sister in the universe (I totally know Caroline would back me up on this one), and simply the perfect friend... who, ironically, is far from perfect... and yet, that humanity, that imperfectness that is you is what makes you... perfect. Your perspective on this is humbling- your gratitude, your honesty, your attitude, your courage. Wow. Just wow. Never thought I could love ya anymore and you just proved me wrong.

MamaSue said...

Casey so sorry for all of this and thankful for drugs and counseling as well. Sydney has childhood depression and tons of anxiety as well. Thanks for doing this...I think it will turn out to be very helpful. It takes a lot of courage to deal with something like this on such a public forum but there is no telling how many you have helped by doing so. I'm sure it is also a load off your mind. Take care sweet girl.

Tiffany said...

thank you for sharing.

there is so much more that i could say or offer from my experience, but i won't do that here in your comments so, just thank you.

Jillian said...

Thank you for being real... I love real people!
(I will email you...)

Joy said...

You go girl! I'm so proud of you for writing about something so personal. I've been there myself. I'm getting teary-eyed thinking about some sweet mama reading your brave post and feeling such relief that someone else has been there. Awesome!

Merry Mack said...

You have courage and I also appreciate you being real. I also have so much to say about this. We women/mothers try so hard to do it all and do it all with a smile and appearance and expectation of perfection admitting the need and acceptance of help is so hard. I never knew that depression can appear as anger. I thought anger was just anger but my post partum was anger that I wasn't prepared for. I have given in and accepted anxiety recently and I am working on it. I wish I was brave enough for cognitive therapy.

I am sorry this is a battle for you but praise you for the work you are doing to get through it.

Anne - Fiona and Twig said...

A burden shared is halved.

Good for you for sharing this weight you've been carrying around! You are a brave and courageous woman, and I have nothing but admiration for you!

Sassafrass Jane said...

I know I already told you what I needed to in an email.
But seriously, I am incredibly proud of you for sharing this. Doesn't that feel good??? And even better to look at 38 comments of support and empathy? Beautiful!
Love you so much.

Moni said...

I absolutely don't believe that having kids had anything to do with what you suffer from. I have suffered for years and haven't had children yet. It is simply a chemical imbalance that can easily be corrected with meds and counseling. I'm glad that you are on board with both!!! And many more people suffer from this than let on......you aren't alone as seen by all the wonderful comments posted. Love you!

Amy said...

Wow! So awesome of you to share this. I had PPD after Lila and still haven't shared about it on my blog. I never told anyone until my best friend was facing the same thing a year after me. That took such courage of you to write and share, and I continue to be inspired by you! XOXO