Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Depression struggles

I haven't posted anything for quite awhile, but today I just need to write in hopes of  helping myself.

Two things that seem to make depression very difficult is first, the cost of treatment, and second, the fact that people don't understand it.

Having two daughters with mental illness, a son with ADHD, and myself who struggles with mental illness, the cost of treatment can add up very quickly. All four of us have seen therapists which can cost 70 plus dollars an hour.  The cost to see a good psychiatrist is even more. It has definitely taken a financial toll on my family.

It's difficult to deal with any type of illness, but specifically one which people in general don't understand.  Severe depression can be so overwhelmingly debilitating, but yet others around you have no idea what is occurring. I can hide away in my house, sleep the day away, or spend my day accomplishing almost nothing. I typically can come out of hiding when I have things that I have to attend to, but usually only my family is aware of what is really going on.

Since my first severe episode of depression which occurred a few years ago, I have never been back to a 'normal' functioning level. I still struggle to accomplish every day tasks. There are definitely days that go better than others, but I have had to learn to function a little differently than I would like to. I consider my successful times to be the days when I feel happy. I may not be able to take on as much responsibility as many people, but if I feel happy, I consider that to be a success.

I have to keep retraining myself on how to overcome my negative thoughts.  So many times I just feel as if I have nothing to offer to the world. I can barely get myself out of bed some days, so how could I possibly contribute anything of value to the world.

There are days that I wonder what is wrong with me. Why is it that others around me seem to be surrounded by friends? It seems in my case that people will be my friend for a short while, but then for some reason once a person gets to really know me, the frindship deteriorates. I try to reach out to others, to help others, to be kind to others, but that doesn't work for me. I don't know what I do wrong, so I seem to come to the conclusion that I must have an ulikable personality. That must be my problem.

I know these negative thoughts aren't healthy. But It's hard to keep telling myself over and over again to not believe my harmful thoughts, when I feel as if I have so many circumstances that point to their validity.

Through my struggles, I am grateful for the knowledge that I have of a Savior who offers me His pure love. At times when I feel alone in the world  I am so blessed that I have an understanding of who I can turn to for comfort.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Finding Hope and Understanding In Our Trials

I want to personally pay tribute to Sister Julie B. Beck, the former LDS General Relief Society President. I know that she has been an inspiration and a shining example to so many across the world, including myself.

Thank you Sister Beck, for your many dedicated hours on behalf of women and their families world wide. Thank you for the many prayers you offered, for your many lost hours of sleep, for the time you sacrificed away from your family, and for your willingness to be a courageous, humble, and charitable servant of the Lord. You have made a difference in my life!

For any who have struggled with depression, please take some time to listen to these words of Sister Beck, as she offers hope and understanding to any and all, who are dealing with trials and adversity in their life.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

You're not Alone

It's been several months since I last posted on this blog. Not long after my previous post in September, I once again have had to work on restructuring life.

About six/seven months ago I stopped taking my antidepressant and anxiety medication. I did well for a little while until October came around. Then as a result of the culmination of several stressful situations, I crashed. Interestingly however, before my complete meltdown, I as well as my husband, could sense that I was on a downward spiral. However, I thought that I could do just a little bit more, and then I would focus on taking care of myself. Well, I thought wrong. One final situation occurred that created a lot of personal stress, and that in turn became my breaking point.

I once again became so severely depressed and anxious that it took everything within me to get myself out of bed. I spent most of my days either lying on the couch or in my bed. My appetite was completely gone. In fact there were days in which I scarcely ate any measure of food. I lost nearly 10 pounds in one week. My body was very deprived of food and therefore lacked energy. In addition to the food deprivation was the intense anxiety I was experiencing.
As a result of these struggles I was in quite a state of debilitation. To stand and walk was quite a feat for me. If it was required for me to stay standing for any measure of time I had to lean on something to support myself. I was so heavily weighed down by these monsters termed anxiety and depression, that even raising my arm seemed like an overwhelming task. Unfortunately, that is the reality of the level of debilitation that some sufferers of depression will face.

As soon as possible I resumed taking my antidepressants and anxiety medication. Because I acted promptly in resuming my medications, my severe depression symptoms subsided within about one week. I did continue to have some more mild symptoms of depression, but nonetheless I was very grateful for the short duration of the severe symptoms.

For those who have never struggled with this trial, I'm sure it seems quite unfathomable how a person who seems so blessed could become so overwhelmingly sad, hopeless, and debilitated. I have recognized on numerous occasions how personally blessed I am, and yet I was in such despair. I knew I should be happy, so why was I so desperately struggling?

I believe part of the answer to that question lies in understanding what clinical depression is. Everyone of us experience sadness in this life. In fact sadness is a very natural and even vital part of our mortal experience. However, when referring to depression, specifically that of severe depression, being sad or down is just a portion of what the sufferer experiences.

Although much is still to be learned about depression, many studies have revealed chemical changes within the brain of a clinically depressed person. These chemical changes or imbalances in the brain, affect a persons mental, emotional, and even physical well being. Sufferers of depression don't just feel down or sad, we feel physically ill, helpless, worthless, hopeless, guilty, and yes sometimes even suicidal.

I believe one of the most difficult parts of depression is feeling so alone in your suffering. Because of the stigmas still associated with mental illness, people don't talk about it like they do with other trials. Everyone needs someone to talk with, especially in times of personal despair.

I also believe that depression is still misunderstood by many. Because all of us experience times of sadness, the term "I'm depressed," can be used very lightly. When the term "depressed" is used, I would suggest that the majority of people understand that to mean that the person is feeling down, like we all do at times, but they will likely feel better in a day or two. They just need to toughen up.

Since every person understands what it means to feel sad or down, I feel that many overlook what it truly means to be clinically depressed. In fact depression sufferers are not just suffering from a bad day, they are suffering with a serious medical condition.

Why is it serious? There are several reasons. Depression can have life changing affects on not only the sufferers, but also on friends and family of those who are ill. Relationships can be severed or even destroyed because of the awful affects of the illness and the misunderstanding of those who care most about them. Depression is one of the leading causes of debilitation in the United States. And, of course the most frightening and serious complication of depression is suicide.

For those who are in the midst of this great battle against depression, I offer to you my hope and my reassurance that even in times of extreme sorrow and hopelessness, you are not alone. There is one who will never leave you alone. At times you may feel that you have been abandoned, but I offer to you these words of hope from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, an apostle in the LDS church.

"I speak to those who are facing personal trials and family struggles, those who endure conflicts fought in the lonely foxholes of the heart, those trying to hold back floodwaters of despair that sometimes wash over us like a tsunami of the soul. I wish to speak particularly to you who feel your lives are broken, seemingly beyond repair.

To all such I offer the surest and sweetest remedy that I know. It is found in the clarion call the Savior of the world Himself gave. He said it in the beginning of His ministry, and He said it in the end. He said it to believers, and He said it to those who were not so sure. He said to everyone, whatever their personal problems might be:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” 2

He is saying to us, “Trust me, learn of me, do what I do. Then, when you walk where I am going,” He says, “we can talk about where you are going, and the problems you face and the troubles you have. If you will follow me, I will lead you out of darkness,” He promises. “I will give you answers to your prayers. I will give you rest to your souls.”

Do you—or someone you love—face disease or depression or death? Whatever other steps you may need to take to resolve these concerns, come first to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Trust in heaven’s promises. In that regard Alma’s testimony is my testimony: “I do know,” he says, “that whosoever shall put their trust in God shall be supported in their trials, and their troubles, and their afflictions.”

When He says to the poor in spirit, “Come unto me,” He means He knows the way out and He knows the way up. He knows it because He has walked it. He knows the way because He is the way."

I know the heartache of depression. I know the feeling of being completely abandoned, even seemingly by the one who loves you most. However, please know that He has not left you alone and that amidst your personal trials, He is fully aware of both you and me. You may not have the capacity to fully recognize this when plagued with the terrible affects of depression, but I have a firm testimony and knowledge that He is by your side, just as He always is.

Again from the words of Jefferey R. Holland:

"We cannot sign on for a battle of such eternal significance and everlasting consequence without knowing it will be a fight-a good fight and a winning fight, but a fight nevertheless."

I plead with each one of you to continue your fight. Even through the darkness, pain, and despair, don't give up and don't give in.