Sunday, February 7, 2016

Taking On Depression... One Day at a Time

I've been angry lately. Frustrated beyond measure. I'm struggling with depression, which is an on-going battle for me that will never end, it is what it is, but it's been hard lately. I am medicated now, but since switching from Lexapro to Celexa because of the price difference and winter's dark days moving in, I've been struggling more.

My entire life is taking care of other people. I do home health care, I'm the president of Alex's PTO, and I am a parent. Helping people seems to be what I was born to do, in every stage of my life helping others is where I have ended up and for the most part, I enjoy it. The problem comes when the depression kicks up.

When the depression kicks up, I need something. Just something, I don't know what I need until I find it but that doesn't stop me from resenting the people that I take care of. Even on my worst days, there is a whole line of "I need" waiting for me to do it because no one else can or will. We are all familiar with the oxygen mask by now, I'm sure. You have to take care of yourself before you can care for the people who depend on you, but what do you do when you don't even have the interest or energy to meet your own needs? When you are so burnt out that you can't?

I look at the people around me, and their needs piss me off. Can't they see that they are killing me? No matter how much I do, there is always "just one more thing," one more "quick favor" from people in a "desperate" situation or the people I am responsible for by birth or choice. I look at them with their off-handed request for something so simple and I think, what the fuck is wrong with you that you think you can keep asking me for shit? Don't you see where I am? Where is my help? Where is my support? Why, in all of the people I am in contact with on a regular basis, the people who take and take and take, why can not one single person see the serious trouble I am in and offer me an oxygen mask?

This cycle of negative thinking and resentment feeds the depression and it's impossible to get out.

Then something logical pops up and it clicks. We were watching an episode of Criminal Minds the other night. Some things on the show seem to have changed since the last time I was able to watch. In this episode, they take more time to explain the mental disorder and be like "oh, no. uh-uh. Plenty of people have this disorder and don't go all psycho." paraphrased. This episode involved a woman with depression. It was one quick scene in the woman's bedroom that just snapped everything into place. The mess. Clutter and disorder are signs of depression. I knew that. Along with the closed curtains, locked doors, excessive sleeping, and withdrawal. I looked at the woman's room, and I looked around our home. I could clearly see MY depression. Seeing the signs in someone else reminded me that in this house, I'm not only dealing with my depression.

Three out of five of us have depression of some sort, and I can clearly see that we are headed for a forth diagnosis in Aiden, my goofy baby. I sat there surprised. I look around and wonder why they can't see my trouble and why they won't help me, when I can just as easily look around and see their trouble and that they need help. Our cycles are synced, so they say.

This changed things for me. At least for the moment, you know. It's a one day at a time kind of thing. Today, I am ok. I have had decades of practice fighting my own symptoms, while they have not. I know what I need to do for  myself, and in helping myself, I can lead them. That is my hope, anyway.