Monday, December 3, 2012

Fighting Depression

I knew what was happening. I knew the signs, the symptoms, the pattern. It didn't sneak up on me, I watched it coming but I didn't care to do much about it, which looking back was one of the more dangerous symptoms. Not caring.

I can't sleep at night, I can't get up in the morning. I get up in exactly enough time to rush and get the boys out the door and then get angry when something unexpected comes up or they drag their feet. I get angry over the smallest, stupidest things.

I've been letting things go, not really caring if they get done. I've been doing the minimum in everything from my boys to the house to my husband... then I spent most of my time looking out windows and daydreaming. living inside my head more than out in the world. wondering. Watching the houses around me. The people who are and the people who aren't there. Watching their lives. Watching them come and go feeling confined, isolated, cut off. I need to get out of the house. there has to be something. but I need gas to go places. and a place to go. This sucks. I'm trapped. stuck. I can't get out.

I'm not satisfied with my marriage, with my parenting, with my housekeeping, with myself, with my life. Something's wrong. Something's missing. I need change. big change. something. I don't know what.

Maybe it's to the point that I need help. Maybe I need something more than what I've been doing because self medicating with new relationships, drugs and alcohol didn't work out so well back in the day and constantly being on guard for symptoms to counter now is exhausting. and if I'm getting to the point that not caring is a factor, I'm in trouble. I have no insurance. I haven't been to a doctor in 6 years. How do you get a prescription without a doctor? and even if you got a prescription, how do you pay for the meds? Shit. *sigh* it's hopeless, *wry smile*. I'm not getting meds. so what to do now?

I can't relax. My body aches because I am so uptight all of the time. So tense. Maybe it wouldn't hurt so much if I used it more. Maybe I just need to move. So, Friday, I started moving. Big D's friend gave him a video workout thing "guaranteed" to kick his ass. and let me tell you that's a true story. I definitely moved. and it kicked my ass.

Saturday, Walter went on my 10 minute walk with me before Alex woke up. We had a good chat while we spent time together just the two of us. It was nice.

 I said yes to babysitting the grandson and took him, Goofy and Alex outside to play for a while. When Alex laid himself down on the sidewalk, I took him to his bed and accepted the neighbor girl's invitation to come see their front yard because it's so cool! I spent time visiting with the neighbors while the neighbor dad put up Christmas decorations. It was nice.

After we came home to check on Alex, my husband came home and his daughter came to get her boy. I found my husband talking to the new neighbors and went to join him. I had to decline the tour of the house because Alex could wake up any minute and I needed to be able to see all doors just in case he got out of his room. but spending a few minutes chatting with a stranger was nice.

We went to the store and I used the time to talk to my husband. He knew I had a diagnosis of depression/anxiety but I've never told him what it means to me or the effect it has on my life. by extension, his life. our children's lives. or the fact that mine, according to the doctor that diagnosed me, is hereditary not situational which means it's not going away in a few months. Of all of the things I've done, I think talking to him honestly helped the most.

Sunday, I used the video, my brother helped me clean the house, I sat with him on the front porch just chatting.

I asked Thing2 to watch the boys while I went with Big D to the dollar tree. I bought cleaning supplies, lavender epsom salts, a bright fingernail polish and a calender.

I started in the bathroom and cleaned the crap out of it.

We took the kids to the playground at the regular elementary where there are always people. Big D played basketball with Thing2, his friend, Walter and the neighbor boy, I stuck with Alex and we both kept an eye on the Goofy child.

Alex was wonderful. He played here and there, did some wandering around and found a few places to sit and observe the other people there. He loved the platform swing they put up for the kids in wheel chairs. We sat there for quite a few minutes with him refusing to look at me or engage with me because he was thoroughly enjoying the swinging experience but I sure did love seeing him relax and be content to be near me. Watching him sway back and forth enchanted by the movement of the swing was a magical moment. It hurt when he would glance up at me and quickly look away if I tried to speak to him, it hurt that he was shutting me out but I tried to focus on counting my blessings. and watching the pleasure on his face and in his body language was definitely a blessing.

We came home and I started my calendar. I'm scheduling things for myself in addition to the boys' appointments and school stuff. Not every day, not every week, but regularly. I have a good start with the library and the support group. I'm scheduling time for the park- with and without kids so I can just go relax with a cup of coffee and a book. I talked to my husband about gas money and why I need it. I've gone back to to get back on track with the house and our routines. Baby steps.

Sunday night I couldn't sleep, Monday morning I couldn't get up. By the time I got up and started on the boys I was in a funk. Things were good enough until Big D had Goofy help him hang the stockings and I mentioned that we don't have one for the Little D. That started something along the lines of doing for his family, Little D is not his family. I want to know why it doesn't matter that my brother and the Little D are the only family I have left. Why do for his family but shut mine out? He's not only doing for his family, he has one for Walter, Alex, Goofy and the grandbaby, too (because that makes it all better).Why do I have to fight for every single thing that is important to me? Why does he need to know why it's important to me, isn't it enough that it is? and this is where my issue rears it's ugly head... why am I here? If I was on my own it wouldn't be so damned hard. I could do what I want to do and not beg or bicker to get it done. If I just walked away from everything...

I'm going to have to take it one day at a time but I think I have a good start on taking care of myself so that I can take care of and enjoy my family. I'm still struggling. I have to watch my thoughts every second. I have a plan to stick to the plan but my plan sucks since it counts on me following the plan, BUT, asking for help I think will make all of the difference.

I told my husband over the weekend about my cycles, explained to him that, for me, depression does not equal sad and mopey and told him what to watch for. I'm pretty good at hiding my issues but there are obvious things to look for such as behavioral changes that you can't miss, a house that *looks* clean but on closer inspection is not the way I usually clean like a floor or two that hasn't been more than spot mopped in weeks, beds not being made in a month, doing the least amount of work possible to make it look like everything is fine when it's not, not having supper on the table at 6pm or not fixing supper at all and settling for cereal or sandwiches or waiting for someone else to figure it out when supper is always cooked and ready at 6pm, not wanting to do the things I usually look forward to, not being wildly enthusiastic about the things I'm normally wildly enthusiastic about... that kind of thing. Maybe with a safety net that knows my secrets I won't crash to the ground when I fall. Yup, when. Not if.

I'm sharing this with you because parents of children with autism have a higher rate of depression. Is it something you struggle with? How do you help yourself?

Generalized Anxiety Disorder
How to handle your depression and your child's special needs



  1. So sorry to hear that things are tough Mac :( But it sounds like you have some ideas for ways to pull yourself out, or at least keep afloat for now. I hope that talking with your husband has helped, I hate the thought of you feeling so isolated and stuck. I'm glad you talked about it here too :)

  2. Yep that was me last year. I had battled ovarian cancer, hystorectomy, kidney removal and chemo therapy all with in 10 months. We have a 21 autistic son who keeps us busy. My hardest battle was the depression that sat in, I knew what was happening and was encouraged to take walks, get out or whatever told to keep busy haha. This wasn't helping and the struggle to do the simplest things were terrifying to me. Afarid to be alone with our son, like I didn't have the confidence in taking care of him....What? That wasn't me. I was on Paxil which I was given 10yrs ago to help with PMS, I just assumed this was enough for the depression I was going through, I was wrong. I had to see a Psychiatrist he gave me Welbutrin. Took a week or so before I could feel results, the endless mind thinking, the what ifs, what am I here for, staring for hours out the window was finially deminishing. I still obcessed about nonscence which was bugging the crap out of me, they increased my dosage and I feel sooo much better. To me, the depression was so much of a harder up hill battle than dealing with cancer. We women have a harder struggle with this because of our aging and hormones changing, adding stress and autism and life in general. You gave great examples of what to be aware of. If you find this is lingering on for more than several months you should really be seen. Sorry about the no insurance, this must be tough. Please make something happen for you, cuz if you're down and out it's like having that card of house starting to crumble. Keep up the writing and putting your words out there, this is a great way to help not only you, but other. Thanks for sharing! Lynda

  3. I sat here nodding through the whole post. My depression is also not situational. I have been fighting for my health for so long. I get tired of fighting. Last year the anxiety (which has always been secondary to the depression) started to cripple me. I researched alternative treatments because the side effects of the conventional meds (which I was FINALLY weaned from) had started MAKING me depressed. They also raised my blood pressure, which meant another med, with more side effects... But, off the meds, I could hardly leave the house. I tried St. John's wort. No luck. I tried 5htp. GOT IT! No side effects, and I felt better within a couple weeks. DOING things, like you've done, is good. Like you said, and like FlyLady says, baby steps. I had to stop taking the 5htp because I had a migraine attack in September that put me in the hospital. The migraines meds are incompatible with the 5htp. So, now I have to go through the process, again, of weaning myself (with dr's help) from meds so I can treat the depression and anxiety in a way that works for me. I've come too far to let this setback put me down for good, but oh, Lord, I am so tired of fighting! You are DOING all the right things, Mama. Letting the people around you in on what's going on is huge. If you still feel like you need meds, the 5htp is found in health food stores. My mom started taking it this year when an event triggered her anxiety and depression. It hasn't helped her sleep like I hoped it would, but she can function again. If you aren't taking anything now, you won't have to worry about interactions. It's worth a try. I'm praying for you.
    And yes, my depression and anxiety affect my kids and my husband. I have to force myself to take the kids to homeschool group, despite my discomfort with socializing. I have to work hard to make sure my illness doesn't deprive them of the opportunities they need. I also have to force myself to interact with THEM, sometimes. My husband "gets" me, though, and we are gentle with each other. When my middle child is being particularly trying, we tag team. Most of the time, that works. We do that for the other two, as well, but the middle is the one with an actual dx. One of the reasons I fight so hard to be healthy is because it's not just about me. I've felt like walking away. I've felt like ending the pain. I've thought that they would be better off without me. I've had to make the choice not to believe that lie. Which means that I have to keep fighting. By taking care of yourself, you are fighting for yourself, but also for your family. You're a good mom. - E

  4. not saying its the answert but vit d pills and multivits may help.....well they have been helping me. you have described the symptoms of vit d deficiancy.its cheaper than other options.

  5. I definitely have gone through depression and anxiety over the years, but I always avoided taking meds for it. Looking back I should have, but I had to take my son to so many therapist visits due to his aspergers that the last thing I wanted to do was go for myself. I did go once and he said I had situational depression. Who knows. I only went to him once and he didn't prescribe anything like he should have. I came up with my own way to deal with it through exercise and vitamins,especially B vitamins, 5htp and SAME. Finding something I loved doing that was active and with others who loved doing it as well really really helped. First I started kayaking and then I got into biking which led to triathlons. I have also learned to recognize the signs as you have and let my husband know immediately. That way he never takes it personally. Usually he can see it before I do and he looks at me and says, "I seeee things". Since my son started antidepressants last summer, we have thought about me getting on them temporarily too. Raising autistic children, even high functioning ones, takes its toll! Hang in there. xoxo

  6. I just read this post and I can relate in so many ways. I too have a hereditary depression. So many in my family (both sides) have struggled with mental illness of varying degrees. I've fought depression and anxiety for what feels like forever now. The anxiety I think has always been there and the depression started, at least noticeably, when I was 12 or 13. I too get to the point where I don't care and things start to fall apart. If I don't clean the house it doesn't get done. Sometimes I start to feel like, if no one else cares why should I. Then one day it's like my eyes open and I realize what I've been doing and force myself to put in a little effort. Other times I watch it all happen, knowing full well what is happening but unable to find the energy to stop it. And sometimes I'm just unwilling to stop it as the depression is kind of like an old familiar friend. You know you'd be better off if you could end the relationship but it's hard to say goodbye to something that's been there so long. I've recently put myself in counseling since I'm fortunate enough to qualify for a medical card that will cover it. I'd seen a few things on facebook and my counselor unknowingly echoed some of those thoughts when she told me to focus on the blessings in my life. It's not always easy, but it has helped me have a brighter outlook. Exercising has also helped me in the past and yet I just can't seem to get up the motivation to get started on it again. But the most wonderful thing happened this past weekend. My teenage son bought me a sweater and gave it to me as an early Christmas present. Since it's an open sweater, I had to buy a shirt to wear with it. I never willingly buy things for myself and if I do it's usually under threat of a panic attack at having to spend money on myself. But I did it happily so I could wear my new sweater. I put on my new top and sweater and even put on make-up. I felt so good that day, that I was even encouraged by what I saw when I looked in the mirror! And that is something that has always been few and far between. I also know that faith is a big help for me. I hope that you are able to stay stronger than the depression. I think that you are funny and refreshingly honest.