Archive for the ‘Depression’ Category

PhotobucketOver weekend, a friend and I went to the beach for a relaxing weekend without husbands or children. It’s been almost a year since I have gotten away without my child, but that was a different kind of weekend that had its own share of stresses. This was an incredibly relaxing weekend with the two of us doing whatever we felt like doing whenever we felt like doing it. I am not sure I have ever had a weekend quite like it.

As I shared yesterday, I had a professional massage for the first time. We ate at restaurants I have wanted to try but that hub has always nixed. We watched movies (something I love to do but rarely get the opportunity to do at home since nobody else in my family likes to watch movies). We laughed. It was a fun, carefree weekend – a concept that was completely foreign to me. I felt so relaxed.

As we started driving home, I felt a heaviness settle over my shoulders. I could feel the weight of returning home, and it made me feel so sad. (It doesn’t help that I also have a sinus infection, so I was/am in physical pain while working through these emotions.) I just wanted to cry.

When I got home after a 4-1/2 hour drive, I wanted to cry but had no time. I had dinner with hub’s family following by 2-1/2 hours of online (webcam) training for my job. I was exhausted after that and went to bed. The next day, I hit the ground running for work and appointments.

Thankfully, I had a therapy appointment yesterday. The first thing I did was cry. My T asked me what I was returning to in my life that was about me. I said nothing, to which he replied, “Exactly.” We talked about how I spend my time doing everything for everyone else and that there isn’t time or room for me.

My T asked why I went to family dinner the night before when I was so tired. I said it never occurred to me not to. He said that I need to examine all of those automatic responses that I have. I am on autopilot in so many areas of my life, and the autopilot is programmed for me to take care of everyone else. There needs to be time and space for me. Right now there isn’t, which is why I felt so depressed about returning home.

My homework is to challenge every automatic response and think about ways that I can make room for me in my own life. I have to expect that all of these changes will come with resistance, and I will have to let go of being perceived as the “good” person (good wife, good mother, etc.) It has always been so important for me to be the “good” ___ , and the people in my life have exploited this to direct me to meet their needs at the expense of my own.

This is such a tall order, and I don’t feel up to it with my head hurting every time I breathe. I need to get this sinus infection cleared up first and then focus on this challenge. I actually did do one thing yesterday – I didn’t feel up to cooking dinner and bought takeout instead. That’s nearly unheard of for me.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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Does anyone else go into a depression after recovering from an illness? This is standard protocol for me, and I hate it. I can kind of understand how it happens, though.

As I shared yesterday, being sick as a kid meant that I was on my own. There was no nurturing to make me feel better. I was just that much more vulnerable.

Now, as an adult, the same dynamic happens. As Ruby mentioned in the comments, my hub also gets angry when I get sick. Unlike Ruby, though, I don’t have a positive spin for it. It just p@$$es me off and makes me MEAN. I really do get mean when I am sick because that is the only way to get my family to LEAVE ME THE H@#$ ALONE. I am not asking them to take care of me but, for g#$’s sake, can they not take care of THEMSELVES for a few days??

Anyhow, back to the post-illness depression… After my body has finished fighting the illness and I am on the mend, I find myself feeling deeply depressed. I think part of it is because I have just been forced to face the reality that there is no one in my family to take care of me. (I’ve gotta say that some of my friends were great, dropping off food and babysitting my kid so I could rest.)

Another part is that I have been isolated from the positive influences in my life. For an entire week, I was in quarantine and saw nobody except for hub and child, both of whom were unhelpful at best. I guess I got of view of my life minus friends, and it wasn’t pretty.

The other piece of it comes from the book Risking Intimacy by Nancy Groom. I can’t find my copy, so I am paraphrasing, but she says something along the lines of:

It is sad that some people never learn that they are loved for being precious, not for what they do.

When I am ill, I cannot do for others, and the phone stops ringing. That makes me question whether I am of any value to anyone other than in what I can do for them. It is quite a depressing thought.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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I have really been struggling lately, and I am not sure why. I suspect that some of it ties into the summer solstice that just passed on Sunday. I am certain that part of it is also fueled by the end of the school year. Still, I am having a very difficult time shaking this funk.

It doesn’t help that a lot is going wrong in my day-to-day life. Our one-year-old water heater stopped working last week. It is (obviously) still under warranty, but the company had to order a part to fix it. So, my family and I have had no hot water since Thursday. AARRGGHH!! That means that my family has to keep bumming showers off people. Even though I have people in my life who are happy to help out, it is still a major inconvenience to drag shampoo, a razor, towels, etc. to other people’s houses. Also, I have to watch my child closely (he has attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder – ADHD) when he bathes at people’s houses because he gets water all over their floors, etc. Of course, here in the sunny South, it has been 90 degrees each day, and I can’t even take a shower in my own house unless I want to freeze to death.

One of my dogs cut her leg badly a couple of weeks ago. She just got the stitches out yesterday. We have been walking her on a leash (versus letting her run around in the fenced-in backyard), and she doesn’t want to do her business on the leash and then has accidents inside. We still have one more week to go. The only way to get her to go outside is to go on a long walk, which gets me all sweaty in the 90-degree heat, but I can’t get a shower without freezing … and so it goes.

The dog head-butted me and gave a black eye. That has really been hurting. My kid has been coming off inhaled steroids for the summer (to treat his asthma), and going off the steroids makes him mean. So, most of our interactions since school let out have been tumultuous. I have not been able to flush my sinuses daily like I usually do (sooo not putting ice cold water in my sinuses), and now I am developing a sinus infection. I haven’t slept well in weeks.

It just seems like one thing after another, and then I have this horrible PTSD-related funk, and I just want to jump off a bridge. At first, it was lots of anxiety, but now it has settled into a depression. I just want to curl up in my bed, go to sleep, and never wake up.

No, this is not a suicide note or anything. No need to panic. I am just trying to pour out all that is aching inside. I am so tired of crying.

Related Topic:

PTSD and Cycles of Emotions

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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I am sitting down writing this blog entry at 4:56 a.m. I would like to impress you and say that I am up this early because I am so industrious and dedicated to my blog, but the truth is that I am continuing to struggle with insomnia. I have trouble falling asleep. Once I do, I have terrible nightmares. I wake up in a cold sweat and then find myself unable to fall back to sleep. I tossed and turned from 3:10 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. today before I finally gave up trying to sleep.

Ever since my visit to my hometown a few weeks ago, I have been battling depression. The insomnia is just one side effect of the depression. I do not have the energy to do all that I usually do. Combine that with my ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) son being out of school for summer vacation, and I find myself unable to keep up with all that I care about.

I have become backlogged in several areas of my life, including comments and emails regarding this blog. I am going to try to address some of those this week. To those of you who have contacted me, I have not forgotten about you – I am just having a hard time keeping up with my life at the moment.

I hate it when I sink into a depression like this. I know that it is temporary and that I need to nurture myself in order to pull out of it. However, while I am in this place, I feel like Harry Potter being surrounded by the dementers – as if all joy is being sucked out of my life. I then feel like a fraud in writing a blog about healing from child abuse when I find myself stuck in this fog.

However, I know that I am not a fraud. Healing from child abuse is an ongoing process that lasts a lifetime. I am farther along the child abuse healing process than many of you who are reading this blog, so I still have a lot to offer, even when my life is not all sunshine and roses. Also, I continue to remind myself that healing from child abuse is like an upward spiral. Even though I might feel like I am going in circles, I am always moving upward as I heal at deeper and deeper levels. I just need to remember to feed the right wolf.

Also, I do not want to misrepresent what healing from child abuse is like. The reality is that a person who has suffered from child abuse is always going to deal with residue. The big difference is that, as you continue to heal from child abuse, you recognize that these down times are temporary and you have more coping skills to get through them. You also know the way out of the depression – you just have to keep reminding yourself to follow your own advice.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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Cave (c) Lynda Bernhardt

I have pulled myself out of my nosedive of depression. Now I am examining how I went so quickly from being okay to spinning out of control. I am also celebrating pulling myself out so fast. (This was only a 30-hour nosedive versus the ones I usually have at this time of year, which can last for weeks.)

Vulnerability to Old Patterns

I lived most of my life feeling badly about myself, and that has only changed over the past few years. I have also lived most of my life feeling miserable during the holiday season, and changing that is very new. So, I need to appreciate just how vulnerable I am to falling back into old patterns. As miserable as I felt, it also felt very comfortable to step back into the shoes of a depressed person.

Appreciation of the Power of My Thoughts

I need to be mindful of always feeding the right wolf. My “evil wolf” is still present and waiting for some nourishment so he can take over again. As challenging as it has been, I have been keeping careful watch over my thoughts to ensure that I only feed the “good wolf.” I was triggered by this situation with my son, and I threw my “evil wolf” a big juicy steak, which temporarily gave that part of myself power again.

To feed the “good wolf” again, I did yoga and meditation. I stilled my mind because it had been racing nonstop for 30 hours (an old pattern I worked hard to break). Once I stepped back and found presence, things no longer seemed so overwhelming. I still have the “evil wolf” nipping at my heels, but I am choosing to focus on the blessings in my life.

Celebrating Success

My inclination is to beat myself up for “falling off the wagon.” However, I am choosing to celebrate pulling myself out after 30 hours, which is a new record for me. I am trying to remember that it is okay to make mistakes. Nobody is going to torment me like my abusers did in my youth. I can learn from my mistakes and, hopefully, avoid the same pitfalls.

Processing the Painful Emotions

I am now more aware of the pain that I still need to grieve. I am going to take time to honor those emotions and allow myself to feel them without attaching my thoughts to them and diving back down the well.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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