RSS

Tag Archives: vulnerability

Diagnosis: Depression

Depression.  A scary word, even scarier is the loss of control that comes with it.

womanonthefence.com

I have suspected for a while now that I was suffering from depression.  Was I going to do anything about it?  Nope.  Absolutely not.  Admitting was enough.  Admitting meant that I could work on the problem privately.  The power of positive thinking is not to be undermined.  I thought I could literally will myself happy, after all, I was the one allowing myself to be so affected by things I couldn’t control.  My doctor thought otherwise.

Almost six years ago, I developed an extremely rare condition in which my white blood cells began to attack the covering of my muscles.  I was quite literally being eaten from the inside.  I was put on radiation treatment in hopes that my blood cells could be “tricked” into thinking normally again.  I was on the medication for several years and recovering well when I developed another rare condition.  This time the white blood cells are attacking my skin.  There is no treatment for this condition.  I simply have to wait it out and it will take 4-6 years before disappearing.  Since there is literally nothing to be done about it, I grew tired of travelling 3 hours to see a specialist only to have him hum and haw and marvel over the impossibility of someone having not one but two rare conditions and parading me past his medical students as a learning specimen.  I opted out of our twice yearly visits.  I didn’t want to shun all medical care however so I made an appointment to discuss my case with my local family doctor.  I had a multitude of questions besides just wanting him to keep track of the growing spots on my limbs.  Top of my list was the effects of the drugs I was required to take.  I have inconsistent memory and frequently can’t remember little things like why I’m in the grocery store or forget school events.  Another symptom that continues to plague me is comprehension.  Some days it feels like there is a block in my brain that refuses to allow the messages to pass no matter how hard I try.  I also have difficulty with concentration.  If more than one person is speaking at a time, I become overwhelmed and cannot focus on anything.  All of these I attributed to the drugs I had taken.  Basically, I felt they had destroyed a part of my life.

My doctor had other ideas.  He immediately refuted the drug idea.  They pass out of the body within months after you stop using them.  One concern was the description of a blockage in my brain though.  I have scar tissue built up on my arms and around my ankles restricting movement and he was concerned that some scaring had occurred on the brain as well.  He suggested an MRI.  I wasn’t thrilled, especially since he couldn’t guarantee any fix, simply an answer as to why.  He kept the conversation casual and listened closely to what I had to say and finally told me I tested positive for depression.  There is an 8 question test and I tested positive for 7 of them.  I was devastated.  My dad is bipolar and his condition makes life difficult for my mother.  I did not want my husband or kids to have to deal with me like that.  Up and down.  Unstable.  Out of control.  The doctor insisted he was giving me back the control.  That the pills would help me focus instead of anxiously chasing one frantic thought after another.  I have developed a pill phobia.  Having to take any medication is a major issue for me.  I was in tears.  I didn’t need them.  I was handling things my own way.  He gently coaxed me to give it a try.  He produced a trial box and told me to come back in two weeks.  If I decided I really didn’t want them, I could simply stop.  It was up to me.

It was the hardest decision I have made.  It took almost the full two weeks to accept that I really do need the pills.  They are making a difference and I am happier and calmer than I have been.  Admitting that I had lost control actually gave me back control.  I am glad I took the time to speak with my doctor.

 
 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Address to the Critic

Let’s face it; if you’ve followed my blog at all then you now know I suffer from extreme insecurity.  Today it hit me square in the face.  I should have known it was coming.  I had

Original art

tossed and turned half the night defending myself to mysterious figments.  The problem is I just don’t seem to measure up to anybody’s standards.

I’m not pretty enough.  Really.  I’m three years shy of 40 with grey hairs that refuse to be hidden any longer and now require regular trips to the hairdresser.  Sorry but the whole spring chick window has been closed for me.

I weigh too much.  Yep.  I know.  I just don’t have any desire to do anything about it at the moment.  Talk to me when my stress levels have dropped 4 or 5 notches.  Better yet, come help me eliminate my stress.  I can personally guarantee a drop in weight will follow.

Get a job.  This is a really tough one for me.  I battle just as much with myself as with others who say it.  The trouble is I live in a small town that has the mistaken idea that a part-time job means 2-3 full days per week.  No half days.  This makes it difficult for a mother with children to find work.  We don’t have the option of working only during school hours.  My children would have to walk to and from school, pouring rain, blowing snow, -30 in the winter, +30 in the spring and fall.  I just don’t have the heart to make them do it.  When it’s -30 in the winter with an icy breeze blowing, it cuts your breath off.  I can’t even walk to the end of my block with a scarf wrapped around my face.  Older women have told me it’s not worth it.  Now is the time to spend with my children, a time of precious memories.  This is where my dilemma comes in.  Do I follow the wisdom of the older generation or tread the trail of my time and add extra income?

Church.   This is a biggie.  Once again it carries so much of my own expectations of myself.  The only time we missed church when I was small was a blizzard or if both my parents were sick.  I feel so much pressure to set the same model for my kids but life is more complicated.  My husband does not share the same ideal.  If I want my kids at every church meeting, I have to be the one to take them.  Then there is church itself.  I don’t attend often enough.  I don’t participate in activities.  I don’t…I don’t…I don’t.

Your son disrespects you.  He is expressing an opinion.

Your house is not clean enough.  The maid was busy.

You draw inappropriate material.  I like it.  It appeals to me.

You are lazy.  I prefer the term “slow-moving”.

You have all these business ideas yet do nothing.  One word.  Fear.

Once during one of my self-bashing tyrants, my mother told me, “God created you equal to everyone else”.  This has become a sort of motto for my life.  When I start to doubt myself, I square my shoulders and repeat this phrase.  It has helped me place one foot in front of the other and march through a new door.  Every so often, innocent comments creep under my bravado and I feel myself stooping under their weight.  I get angry.  If God created me equal, why can’t anyone else see it?!!

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

A Moment of Vulnerability

image from toniccare.com

A man looked at me today.  He shook my hand and waited until I met his eyes before he let go.  I wonder what he saw.  Did he see the lurking unhappiness?  Did he see a woman who was trying for just a few hours to forget how difficult life is?  That single connection, that moment suspended in time made me feel very vulnerable.  The big question “Why?” haunts me.  Why was it important to see me?  Why did he look deeper?

I spend my days with people who are caught in their own maelstroms.  Life is seldom dull these days.  Everyone has their own trials from home repair wars to battles with children to struggling to fit in with the right crowd.  I am not a reserved person.  I will tell anyone who is willing to listen how difficult my life has recently become.  Rather, I am trying very hard to not spill my sorry story.  I am trying to listen instead of talk.  Most people don’t really care in the long run anyway.  Scandal, gossip, exciting events, these are the things that make up the majority of conversation.  My life stresses haven’t changed.  They cycle over and over with no sign of resolution.  I have seen friends become frustrated with me because there is no change in my life despite their well-meaning opinions.  So the question remains, why did he pause to recognize me?

How often do you truly see the person you are talking to?  How often do you take the time to actually listen to what they are saying, to actually hear the pain and worry in their lives?  I have to admit that I don’t often.  I am usually rushing from one activity to another and don’t have time or simply don’t know what to say so instead I make a little quip and change the subject.  I detest people who make me feel as though I am a victim in my own life and constantly need to try to solve my dilemmas.  They are easily recognizable.  They usually start the conversation with a consolatory click of their tongue and a “How’s it going” sigh.  Most times I just need someone to listen to what I am saying.  It feels really good to share with others.  When I listen, am I genuinely hearing what they are telling me?  Am I looking deeper and seeing the reasons behind the story?

As humans that tenuous thread between us is so important to our well-being.  I watched my kids tonight at youth group building little webs of friendships.  My oldest girl with her shy glances at the boys, my boy still not quite comfortable in the group but leaning against the wall acting cool and nodding casually to ones who passed, my youngest giddy at being with the older ones and sharing giggles with another friend lucky enough to be allowed out.  They are creating little invisible strings flowing from person to person weaving and swaying, binding all together.  Each time two pairs of eyes meet a stronger thread forms.  Friendships are forged.  The eyes really are the windows to our souls.  That single moment of vulnerability when another looks, really looks, at us can cause an immediate retreat like I did but it could also be the beginning of a great friendship.  When was the last time you looked into someone’s eyes?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 16, 2012 in musings, random, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,