Friday, June 7, 2013

When Depression Rears Its Ugly Head

I'm under a bit of stress.  The kids are out for the summer, which means I'm not interacting with other moms (or other humans) on a day-to-day basis.  I didn't think I'd miss it.  With Husband and I sharing a car, my days are pretty monotonous while he's at the office.  I play with the kids.  I pick up toys.  I do the dishes.  On and on it goes.

Some days are packed with work.  Here's a sample of my days, a la Wednesday: Get up, make and serve breakfast, do the dishes, do laundry, make bread, make and serve lunch, more dishes, more laundry, mow the lawn, break up fights between the kids, serve dinner, do the dishes, more laundry.  By the time the kids went to bed, I was exhausted and frustrated.  I had gotten some bad news about something I was looking forward to, I felt isolated without my daily interactions with other parents, and I was stressing about an upcoming vacation (travel gives me anxiety attacks).  I was feeling really, really down.  I pushed myself through the days, knowing from experience that if I just kept going, the horrible feeling will pass.  I'm no stranger to it; I struggled with depression and high anxiety as a child and teen.  Both problems just about disappeared around the time I met Husband in my late teens.  The less I was home, the better I felt.  When I left for college, I never really returned to my parents' home to live.  Husband and I were married at the end of our junior year.  Anxiety and depression evaporated (mostly).

Occasionally I get just stressed enough, lack just enough sleep, have just one too many things to do, my hormones are just ever so slightly out of line and it happens.  Depression and anxiety show up at my door with their dirty laundry and asking to crash on my couch.  It's different than just feeling sad or overwhelmed.  It's a deeper feeling.  Husband noticed and kept asking me what's wrong.  I kept trying to explain that I felt depressed, anxious and somewhat isolated, but not having experienced such things, he didn't understand.  I tried to tell him that sometimes I just feel this way and it will pass.  He wanted reassurance that he had done nothing wrong and struggled to find a reason for my feelings and what he could do to make it better, aside from getting another car.  After being asked one too many times, I looked at him and said, "Do you not see how dead these fish are?"  He laughed because he understood the reference.  [If you don't, in short it means he was trying to help me "solve" my feelings, but it doesn't work that way.]

Let me remind you that we have a pretty active sex life.  When Husband suggested we have our intimate time, I'm not going to lie.  It was hard to get in the mood.  Then it was hard to stay in the mood.  It was very difficult for a couple of days.  Husband was very understanding and offered to skip any activity.  I decided to give it a shot anyway, knowing how difficult it is to get back in the groove once a few days have passed.

I know this feeling.  And I knew it would pass.  I handled anxiety with breathing exercises and waited for the depression to end.

Today we had to go to a work function for Husband where I chatted with some of his workmates and (Oh, thank goodness!) a woman I knew from the kids' school.  Just the talking about nothing in particular made me feel so much better.  When I got home, I got some exercise in.  I made plans to get together with a friend next week at my house.  By 7pm, I was feeling much, much better.  Back to my normal self.  I'm thankful that I don't live with depression daily, but only have it for a few days at a time when I'm particularly stressed.  My libido is back, I'm laughing again, and I've even made peace with going traveling.

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