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February 1, 2010
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warning!! long read ahead…

on february 26, it will be 6mos since i began treatment for my depression.  this is a pretty exciting month because the next time i see my psychiatrist, i will be re-evaluated on my progress and he will determine if i need to continue with my medication or if he can start to wean me off.

to be honest, i’m a bit nervous about being taken off the meds; i don’t know how i’ll react or if i’ll relapse.  what will happen to me in the next couple of months?  how will i react being off the meds?  will i go back to The Bad Place?  will i be able to cope?  these are some of the thoughts that have been going through my head and while i try not to think about them, i am a little concerned about what might happen if he decides to take me off of zoloft.

things have been a bit hard with kayla lately – her sleep is way off and i don’t know why.  i can’t seem to figure out her pattern and while i would normally go nuts and try and find an answer (my pre-med days), i try and go with it and just enjoy whatever time i have with her after she wakes up.  sometimes i get frustrated because i think she needs more sleep but i guess she’ll sleep when she needs it.  right now she’s so excited about life; learning and talking, running and exploring, laughing and screaming… i guess there’s just no time for sleep in her books!

looking back at the past 6mos – well, all of 2009 – i think i’ve come a long way.  i found an email that i sent to a select group of friends when i was first diagnosed.  i remember writing that email and feeling that although email wasn’t the best way to tell them what was going on, i needed to tell them in order to begin my recovery.  i also only selected a few people to tell because at the time, i was uncomfortable with my depression and felt that i sort of had to hide it from others.  so i chose to tell some and not others; for no particular reason – i just felt more comfortable that way.  it wa s a pretty long email but it only took me minutes to write because there was just so much going on inside of me i was bursting at the seams.  re-reading this, it brings tears to my eyes that i let it go on for so long and i hurt the people i loved.  i’m going to post it for memory-sake and to remind me how far i’ve come:

hi everyone,

i know it’s been a long time since you’ve heard from me (most of you) but i just wanted to drop you all a note to say a few things and tell you what’s been going on.  believe me, this is not the way i want to do this but i’m not sure when’s the next time i’ll see you or we’ll all be together and really, i don’t know if i have the strength right now to tell you guys in person.  no, i’m not dying anything but i am going through some really tough times but before i tell you, i just want to preface this by asking you not to tell anyone who is not on this recipient list.  not to say that i’ll be the topic of discussion amongst you or you have nothing better to talk about but this is a very private matter to me and i feel that you guys are my close friends and while it may seem that i intentionally excluded some of the girls/people in my life, i just feel more comfortable telling you guys who are on this recipient list.

since kayla was born, i’ve had a hard time with parenthood; i mean a really hard time.  at first i thought it was the baby blues and maybe a mild case of postpartum depression which i thought was normal so i didn’t say much and just kept on going… i’ll spare you the details but let’s just say that things were not good.  things started to look better when she turned 6mos and i felt a little more normal so i came out more, had some play dates and things were pretty good for a few months.  but since march of this year, things took a turn for the worst.  again, i’ll spare you the details but things were worse with me, my marriage, my family and overall, i just wasn’t in a good place and being the stubborn person i am, i continued to ignore these feelings and just kept going.  this is why many of you haven’t seen me or kayla and i feel so bad about that because i want her to get to know you all.  so about 2mos ago, things just started to crash – or more like i started to crash – and my health was failing, my mind was failing, i was burning out and my family was falling apart.

my family staged an intervention because for months, they’ve been begging me to get help – to go to the doc or see a therapist or do something- anything so i can feel better.  it has been really hard especially on my mom and mario because they watch me wither away and they see how anxious and nervous i am all the time; afraid to say anything in fear that it’ll set me off.  i feel so bad that they are also suffering as well because they want to help me but don’t want to stress me out so they say nothing and also bottle it up inside.  once in a while it’ll turn into a big blow-out when something bad happens and i freak out and that’s a very bad thing because they shouldn’t have to suffer with me.  it wasn’t until i recently ended up in the hospital with abdominal pain so bad that i couldn’t even pick up kayla or stand up straight that made me realize that i need to do something about this.  the abdominal pain is gone but i’m still physically and mentally not well.  i’m sure some of you who have seen me recently have wondered if i was ok because of the drastic weight loss.  i’m 111lbs when i used to be around 125/130lbs and i can’t seem to gain any weight no matter how much i eat because of the stress and my doctor is very worried about it.  because of this, i think my body is starting to react in a bad way – the weight loss, headaches, i can’t seem to cope or deal with small things that happen, i have very low tolerance for things and i get angry a lot.  i’m not sleeping nor do i have an appetite and i have to force myself to eat most of the time.  i was never like this pre-pregnancy and i’m not sure how i ended up like this – a crazy, neurotic, over-anxious obsessive, frightened, pessimistic person.  the thing that surprises me the most is that i’m scared of everything now.  not with my life or ghosts or anything like that but i’m scared of things that may  or may not happen on a daily basis.  like if kayla doesn’t sleep well or if she doesn’t eat well and i’m constantly worrying about the bad things that may happen tomorrow or the next day.  this is so embarrassing for me to even admit all of this but part of  my therapy is to be honest and open so this is what i’m doing.  it feels like most of the time there’s this huge black fog in my brain that isn’t allowing me to see things clearly or understand certain situations or deal with things that happen.  i used to be so confident in everything that i did, in every decision i made but it’s like i’m a shell of my former self.  i have a hard time remembering things, understanding things and it’s so embarrassing that i have to ask for an explanation multiple times because my brain just can’t compute things the way it used to.  i even have trouble following simple instructions…. it’s like my brain has been eaten away or something.  i really don’t remember when was the last time i went out and actually had a good, worry-free time where i actually enjoyed myself.  most of the time i’m trying to fight off the anxiety and despair that seems to run my life.

i went to see a psychiatrist today and have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder.  i am crying as i type this because i never thought that i would end up like this – having kayla was the best thing that’s happened to me yet often times i find it hard to enjoy parenthood and it kills me that i can’t understand why i feel this way.  she’s such a good baby regardless of how badly she eats or sleeps; is always happy and laughing and cheerful, rarely cranky fussy or whiny and i know it’s me, not her.  i am blessed with a baby who rarely complains about anything yet i just can’t seem to adapt to motherhood.  don’t get me wrong – i love her so very much and wouldn’t give her up for the world but because of this depression or whatever is messing with my mind/hormones i just can’t get beyond the darkness that seems to have seeped into my life.  there’s a bunch of other feelings so horrible that i can’t even say to you because it’s so awful and it even appalls me that i even feel them.  my therapist says that i may have been genetically predisposed to depression although i’m not sure if depression runs in my family and that the pregnancy may have triggered this which is very common since pregnancy can trigger a lot of things.

the reason why i’m telling you guys this is because i miss you.  i feel so disconnected from everyone, every thing and i feel so alone.  i used to feel a great connection with all of you; that we could talk about anything and everything but now when i see you (those that i’ve seen so far), i just don’t know what to say anymore.  please don’t take offense to this – this is by no means any of your fault – i know i haven’t made the effort to reach out to any of you and because of that, because of the walls that i’ve put up around myself, because there are days i really feel such utter despair,  i’ve totally isolated myself from you that i don’t know what’s going on with you guys anymore.  i don’t want that to continue.  i want to feel close to you guys again.  the thing is, when you’re drowning and barely keeping afloat, the mere thought of going out or being social is so exhausting i just don’t have the energy to do it but it’s a vicious cycle – i don’t want to be social but when i’m alone, i feel worse yet i just don’t know how to get out of it or stop it.  there are good days and bad days – the good days are when i sometimes emerge from the fog and go out or see/talk to some people; the bad days are when i pretend to be normal and it looks like i’m ok but i feel really bad and hopeless and the really bad days are when i hide from everyone and everything and i am a complete zombie just mechanically doing what i’m supposed to be doing as a mother and person.  lately i’ve been having really bad days but i try so so hard to make my brain snap out of it so i try and do things that feel normal – go on the computer, watch tv, read.  most of the time it doesn’t really help but i need to do something or i feel like i’ll just go insane.  i’ll be honest and say that most of the tweets you read were my sad attempts at seeming normal – i really don’t know why i feel/felt the need to put up a front and make it seem like everything is ok.  i guess nobody wants to seem like a failure however, i never used to care what others thought about me and most of the time i don’t but with this depression, for some reason, i am embarrassed that something like this has taken over my life and is something i can’t control.  i’m not making excuses for my anti-social behavior nor do i want pity – i’m just being honest with what’s been going on.  i don’t feel sorry for myself but i’m trying hard to take the steps to get better – eating better, slowly trying to make plans to go out, taking time for myself, seeing a therapist, going on medication.  i know it’s going to be a long hard road because i never thought i would be battling depression and this sinking feeling is horrible but i need to do something so i can be there for my family and friends.  i really don’t know how mario hasn’t yet cracked from the pressure or how he puts up with this on a daily basis.  not only does he have to deal with shit at work but he rushes home to help me any which way he can and i know he’s really worried and stressed out about me and my health.  half the time i’m barking out instructions or yelling or very irritable but he just keeps his mouth closed and does whatever i say because he wants to offload some of the burden i’m feeling.  i know if i don’t do something about this, my marriage is going to fail.

writing this email this has been extremely hard to say to the least because no one wants to admit they’re spiraling out of control.  much of what i’ve been doing lately is trying to get a grip on my life and make it through each day.  those who know me know i keep my business to myself and this email makes me very uncomfortable, vulnerable and exposed but i want to get better and feel better and feel normal so i am reaching out to you guys and letting you in, as hard as this is for me right now.  i hope the meds will help and i hope that things will return to normal soon.  in the mean time, i hope you all understand that this isn’t the way i wanted to tell you but felt it was the only way i could.

i can’t believe how different i feel; like a whole new person.  since then, i have a new perspective on life – i realize how short life is and i try to live each moment as best as i can.  i try and spend more time with friends and family.  i tell everyone i love them.  i love every minute with my monkey.  i am far from perfect and i’m not trying to be perfect; i’m just trying to live my life to the fullest so those dark days never come back.

what really helps is this blog.  i love blogging; it’s so theraputic and cathartic for me.  i have been on a roll lately; probably beacuse i’ve had all these thoughts/emotions/words/things in my head that have been bottled up for so long that they’re just gushing out.  i typically write up to 3 times/day; sometimes i schedule the posts to spread them out, sometimes i don’t.  there’s so much more i want to write about but my carpel tunnel is starting to come back (not a good thing) and DH also gets annoyed sometimes that i’m on the computer instead of spending time with him (i can see his point).

anyway, point is i’m feeling so much better and i am proud of myself that i have the determination to get better.  battling this depression was one of the hardest things i’ve ever done and i feel like a stronger person because i am winning the fight.  here’s a nice picture i just found on my computer.  it was taken in october 2009, just a few months after i started treatment and when i started to feel the meds working.  although i look tired (i probably was), this was the day that i actually wanted to go out and see my in-laws (who did not see me for most of 2009).  i can see in my face and eyes that i was more relaxed and more like my old self.

me and kayla; Oct 2009

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