Depression: My Story
By Rebecca White
What is depression? Depression is a serious medical illness; it's not something that you have made up in your head. It's more than just feeling "down in the dumps" or "blue" for a few days. It's feeling "down" and "low" and "hopeless" for weeks at a time. It is not something you can just pull yourself out of! It is not something that you can just shake off.
For many people one tiny thing can set off a huge depression attack. I have suffered from depression now for 8 years. I guess, to be truthful, I have dealt with depression my whole life but just didn't realize it till the incident I am about to relate to you.
8 years ago my husband Brent was in the military, he had been having problems with his health for a little over a year and the doctors all said it was in his head and that they could find nothing wrong with him. Our oldest sons were only 1 and 3 at the time. I kept telling Brent to get a second opinion but since we had military insurance and at that time it wasn't as flexible as it is now, he didn't want to go get a second opinion. We lived in a nice apartment and I loved our life. Although I was homesick a lot of times it was the life we chose, and so I was happy until this incident...
I woke up one typical morning, got up to pack Brent's lunch and wake him up for PT (physical training) - it was 5:30 in the morning. He wasn't in bed, which for him was very unusual, but I thought he may have just needed to use the bathroom and I missed him getting out of bed. I walked into the kitchen to start making our morning coffee, and realized that the TV was still on. I then started looking for Brent and found him in a coma on our bathroom floor.
I couldn't get a response from him and I panicked. I got the boys up, threw them in the car and then dragged my husband from our bathroom to our van to get him to the hospital as fast as I could. Now why didn't I just call the ambulance? To be honest I didn't think about that; all I wanted to do was get him some help.
When we got to the hospital he was still in a coma, the doctors couldn't figure out why he was not responsive. They pulled me and my sons out of the room he was in and told me to find someone to watch the boys and get back to the hospital as fast as I could - and to call his family as they didn't think he was going to make it.
I was thrown - our perfect, safe life was in just a few short hours going to change. I can deal with some stress but the thought of losing my best friend was more than I could bare. I ran with the kids in both my arms to the payphone, to call the only friend I had at that time and tell her what was going on. She told me to bring my kids to her house and she would watch them.
I then drove the 20 minutes back to our house, dropped the kids off at her house, ran home and called his parents. During that time I got a phone call from his captain that the doctor had called him to tell him to track me down, as my husband was dying and they didn't think he was going to pull through. I screamed, I cried, I just didn't believe this was happening to us!
I got back in the car and smoked cigarettes to try to calm down. We had quit smoking a month before this, my friend had given me her cigarettes while I was at her house. I rushed into the emergency room and the doctor met me out in the hall way and was asking me all sorts of questions - of course I didn't want to take the time to answer, I wanted to get back to my hubby, my world, my best friend. The doctor told me that his sugar levels were 950 and that he really should have died sometime during the night but he was a fighter.
Finally he let me go into the room, where Brent was and I leaned over him, pleading with him to not leave me, pleading with him not to leave his sons. He opened his eyes and the only thing he said was, "I am mad at you, you were smoking," then he went back into his coma. Of course the doctors then pushed me out of the way and started trying to get him to respond to them, they then told me they were taking him to ICU to work on him and get him on a heart catheter.
48 hours later he was awake and was responding to treatment. They had found out that he was a type 1 diabetic, although they still don't understand how he got it since no one in his family has diabetes and Type 1 is not the kind you get because of your health or your weight - you are usually born with it and diagnosed with it while you are still a kid.
After he was released from the hospital after a 7 day stay I lived in constant worry. I could not focus on anything except making sure he was ok, that he ate and took his medications. For weeks I could not sleep at night for fear he would have another attack. I still have times where I go through that now. In an effort to try to calm my fears I started focusing on things in my life that I could control: my weight, the dirty carpets (we rented so the carpets were very old and had always looked dirty but I was able to live with that till this happened).
I wouldn't do the dishes, my poor kids were always dirty, the house was a total mess. I mean, have you seen those houses that are on tv, that Oprah has shown? Well at one point my house looked like that. I only focused on scrubbing the carpet. I would get up in the morning, look at the kitchen, try to clean it up and just couldn't - my attention would be drawn to the dirt spot in the carpet by the kitchen entrance. So I would go out to my cleaning closet, get out my bucket and scrubbing brush and start scrubbing that spot. I would still be there scrubbing hours later when Brent came home for lunch.
My poor sons, I love my sons with all my heart but I will admit for the first month Brent was home from the hospital, if it hadn't been for my mom and my MIL they wouldn't have been clean or fed. I looked at them and didn't want to deal. When I was scrubbing the carpets I was zoned out to everything! I didn't think, I didn't care. This was so not like me!
Finally Brent knew that something was very wrong with me so he made an appointment for me to see a doctor and I was diagnosed with manic depression and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). They didn't want to put me on medication right away, they wanted to try to teach me other ways to focus my fears and obsessions with out having to resort to medication. But after a month they realized I needed medicine to help me get through this time of my life.
I hate medicine, I don't like taking it, I have a hard time remembering to finish the whole dosage. So for me it was a struggle in the beginning to just take the medication. After a few months the medicine helped me get my life back to where I was able to handle it again.
Why do I tell you all this? Not sure really. I just know that for me it turned my life upside down. Over the past 8 years we have several times that I have had to call the EMS to save my husband. Our world has changed. I live in the fear that we will have to go through this again. When he has episodes I go into a state of worry, depression. I pray that our lives will get back to how they were 12 years ago. No worries, living in our own little world where nothing hurts us.
I still go into states of depression but now I know the signs; I know when I need to call my doctor and I also know now that (for me) I cannot pull myself out of it! I now can share with my friends when I am down and have made up a support line of other moms who know me and know that I suffer from depression, who I can call or email when I need that emotional support that sometimes a family member cannot give.
I started Support for Moms in an effort to help other moms who suffer from depression or need a place to go to voice their feelings. It is my wish that the site and the boards offer comfort and support for all moms from all walks of life dealing with situations that they have no control over. So if you are in need of comfort, support or just want to vent and get life's stresses off your chest please stop by our boards.
Thank you for reading my story and I hope this may help at least one person.