Shell

I wish I could explain it to people. I try. But you don’t know unless you’ve experienced it. Being pushed off a cliff into the depths of despair.

It can happen regardless of your life situation.

I am happier than I ever have been in my entire life. I have a wonderful life and yet I am depressed.

Really depressed. Not “I’m so depressed my favorite show was cancelled.”

No.

Lying-on-the-floor-staring-at-the-ceiling-while–you-sob-uncontrollably-depressed.

It’s very common with chronic illness. It bound to wear you down being in pain all of the time. I have been on an anti-depressant since shortly after being diagnosed with lupus. And with my recent back surgery, the pain has been endless and seemingly insurmountable.

I know some people think depression is a weakness, that life is sad. That you should be able to buck up and pull yourself out of it.

There is no pulling yourself out of this.

It’s horribly dark and so hopeless and scary.

I just felt empty. Hollow.

I’ve known for a while that my antidepressant wasn’t fully doing its job.

For YEARS my psychiatrist has been trying to get me off of my current antidepressant because he didn’t think it was right for me. I kept saying no. Why rock the boat? I deal with so much medical bullshit and so many other medications that the thought of transitioning to a new medication did not appeal.

Looks like my body made the decision for me. Three days before Christmas.

Ho fucking ho.

As I said, it felt like I had been pushed off a cliff.

And then suddenly, I was drowning.

I was paralyzed. Couldn’t get out of bed. Didn’t want to eat. Couldn’t help with the kids at all. My whole body hurt. I couldn’t think straight.

Luckily, I am married to the ultimate human being and have a superhero bestie who came bearing vegan ice cream sandies and laid in bed with me while I cried. She may as well have been wearing a cape.

I finally got my doctor on the phone, explained the situation and med changes were quickly made.

And now I wait. And experience all of the quirky and horrible side effects that come with transitioning off of one medication and onto another.

***The above was written December 22***

Today is January 6 and just YESTERDAY did I start to feel like me again. I showered and actually left the house. I smiled genuinely for the first time in WEEKS and it felt SO GOOD. I can not even explain the feeling. I was jubilant. I felt free.

I debated whether or not to even post this. While talking to Meg though, she helped me realize it’s not something I’m ashamed of and if anything, posting this will educate someone or help someone else feel like they are less alone.

PS – If you do happen to know someone who is struggling with depression, do not, under any circumstances say anything like this to them “But you’re pretty and skinny. What do you have to be depressed about?” Because you might get punched in the teeth.

5 comments:

little irish | January 6, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Hey chickie! I was wondering where you've been. I'm glad you are starting to feel better. Hang in there and remember we love you!

Meg | January 6, 2012 at 6:28 PM

What an amazing entry. You write so beautifull and articulate the pain and isolation of depression so well. And you're still hilarious - loved the last line. (What do you have to be depressed about?? You're pretty, skinny, AND funny!) Kudos to you for being brave enough to face the beast head on and battle courageously. I love you - depressed, not depressed or otherwise. You'll always be you; I'll always be able to recognize you, even when you are left just an empty shell. Spring is around the corner and I have a feeling a new beginning celebration is in order!

Anonymous | January 9, 2012 at 8:22 AM

Oh Em... I am so sorry you had to go through such an atrocious low, depression is so cruel! I'm just glad to hear you are seeing some light again. You are one of the strongest and bravest people I know, you keep fighting for things most people take for granted. You are amazing and very loved. Stay strong and keep fighting, the world is better with you in it.

Hugs,

Katie

Confessions of a Mother, Lawyer & Crazy Woman | January 29, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Emily - I am a little late to this blog post party, but I just wanted to reach out and say that I (as is so often the case when you write, which you do so well) 175% understand. So, I will not placate with "Am so sorry!" or "Feel better!" or anything to that effect. But I KNOW the pain you've felt and know it is hard ... so I will tell you that you are strong, brave, and awesome and that there is light around the corner. I hope the distance to that corner is shorter, rather than longer ... Sending you love, light, and healing thoughts. - J

Emily | January 29, 2012 at 4:54 PM

Thanks for your comments, ladies. They mean more than you know. Depression feels similar to death in that people are afraid of it. Afraid to say something for fear of saying the wrong thing or just fear period.
Thanks for saying something.
XO