A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Even Happy Girls Can Get Depression

A friend of mine posted about looking for some guidance/help for what she felt like was depression. I reached out privately because despite my normally sunny disposition, I once had depression.

Most people don't really know that about me. I don't talk about it much. My husband knows, because the effects lingered for a long time in the form of an anxiety I've struggled to control.

I had a classic case of post partum depression. Depression is weird, it sneaks up on you and makes itself your norm. You don't feel it's invasion, or I didn't. It turns off some vital parts of you - in me it was the parts that cared about much of anything. I loved my new baby, but I didn't care if I showered. I didn't care if I got off the sofa. In fact, the sofa and the baby and I were a perfect trio. I didn't want to leave the house. I didn't want to be apart from my husband for any reason.

I wasn't sad but I wasn't happy. I wasn't anything. I was a life support system for a now external dependent organism. I functioned.

It was only when I should've been well enough to get back to life that it became apparently I wasn't myself. My OBGYN caught it when I went for my 8 week well visit. He prescribed me something, and I probably should've taken it but I couldn't see myself as a depressed person. I had trouble realizing depression isn't an emotion sometimes - it's a state of being.

I didn't want to be that person so I decided not to take my medicine and just back to work.

Work was good for me and helped a lot. But my anxiety focused on very specific things. I didn't want to go into shops. Sometimes I'd cry in the parking lot, not wanting to go inside Walmart. The worst part was realizing I wasn't being reasonable or rational and unable to stop. You sit and say to yourself "I'm an intelligent woman there's nothing more than the usual people of Walmart inside" but feeling an abject terror that someone in there might speak to me. What might happen if they speak? I don't know but I knew I couldn't handle it.

My fear of being lost while driving intensified. I've had this one for a while but it became crippling. I couldn't be lost for any reason. I couldn't be lost if someone else was driving, even that could bring me to tears. Why? I can't tell you.

I'm a lot better almost five years later. I can tell you for sure that 4 years ago I'd have been sobbing through the streets of Montreal as I tried to find my friend's flat. Two weeks ago I simply drove and followed Siri an when she didn't make sense I guessed. I got there just fine. It was a great adventure. I wasn't scared - and it wasn't until I realized I wasn't anxious at all about driving that I realized how far I've come.

I'm writing this because I'm usually the last person people think of when they consider depression, but I wanted to share because it can happen to anyone. It's chemical and none of us can control it. The best thing to do is talk about it with someone you trust and then to a medical someone you trust. I say pick the doctor you like BEST and talk to them, any doctor can refer you somewhere, but you need to be comfortable because it's not easy to say you're not "right". But it helps to realize you can get help.

Even a girl who is happy every day can have depression.