Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Truth. It hurts.

I wrote this the evening of April 30th in an email to a friend (sorry, the formatting is a little weird. It looks fine as I type it):

I'm calling my doctor first thing tomorrow morning to discuss my current
bout of depression.

It's funny; I've known I've been depressed for awhile now, but I was hoping
to "get over it" after the pregnancy was done, and to "wait the winter out"
and see how I was in the spring. Well, I DID get better once the pregnancy
was over, or at least I thought I had. I mean, I now have these two
beautiful little girls, and I can look at them and experience so much joy!
I mean, any time I'm feeling down, I can just tickle one of my girls or
snuggle with them, and it goes away. But I knew that underneath all the
joyful MOMENTS, there was this long lasting dull depression that wasn't
really going away. But there was still spring on the horizon, so I thought
I'd wait it out a little more.

I discussed some of this with Armondo, telling him that I felt like I might
need to go back onto anti-depressants, and his immediate response was "How
much is that going to cost?" We're not exactly in the best financial
position right now due to him taking a bunch of time off when Peach was
born, as well as owing thousands of dollars in income tax, so when he said
that, I immediately felt guilty for "wanting" to spend money on something.
And while he was home, I was trying really hard to implement a budget for us
to follow while we struggled through this rough patch, and he would make me
feel like I was "punishing" him or something by not letting him buy a CD one
week 'cause we had already spent the budget for that week. He got the CD a
couple of days later, but he still whined about how he's "working so hard
and isn't even allowed to spend any of (his) money."

But then he left again for fishing. And the paranoia started to kick in
again. I have these horrible thoughts of "bad men" hiding in closets and
hurting my children. I have sticks in their windows that have alarms in
them, so I can hear if anyone tries to open their windows, but still, I'm
paranoid. It takes me hours to fall asleep at night sometimes due to the
fact that I'm "scared" and/or I'm thinking about our financial difficulties
or thinking about Armondo dying out on the sea, and how, exactly I'd react and
deal with the loss-to the point of "rehearsing" the whole thing in my mind
over and over and over.

Then there's the whole "my house is going to catch on fire in the middle of
the night and how am I going to get all the animals AND my children out of
the house in time" story line that haunts me all the time.

Well, the other night, I decided to take fate into my own hands and actually

I spent over two hours laying in bed thinking about it. I would pack the
kids and the dogs up for a trip to my MIL's house, and let the cats outside.
I'd pack a bunch of the kids' favourite toys and a few important things of
mine, and make sure that the other important things like jewelry and papers
were all safe in our fire box. Armondo has most of his favourite things with
him on the boat, so there wouldn't be too much he'd miss that wouldn't be
replaceable. Then, the plan was to turn on a stove element, lay a roll of
paper towel on the element, put a bottle of cooking oil really close by and
leave the house.

In my mind burning down the house would solve a couple of problems, the most
prevalent would be to solve the rat problem in the crawl space, and we'd be
able to get money from the insurance in order to renovate the house, which
we've been trying to bit by bit but just can't afford to complete. (our
bathroom floor is rotting out, for instance) Also, we'd re-build or move to
a new house, which would hopefully have all new electrical, which would
"solve" my fear of the house burning down in the first place.

The next day (April 29th) I talked on the phone with one of my friends and
told her I wasn't feeling all that great, and that I *thought* I might be
having some emotional problems and that I might need to see a doctor. I
deliberately didn't tell her about my plan to burn down the house, 'cause I
WAS STILL PLANNING ON DOING IT, even after a night of rest. I didn't want
to tell anyone, 'cause I wanted it to look like an accident, and I didn't
want anyone to rat me out.

I went about my daily routine, and while I was bathing the kids, I started
to read through my insurance policy to make sure we were actually covered
enough to make the whole thing 'worth it'. I had rehearsed in my head how I
would react when I got home and saw the house burned down, deciding that I
wouldn't 'act' at all, but would rather just let my natural emotions take
over. I planned my words carefully though, so that I would never actually
"lie" to anyone. I would say "What do you think caused the fire?" to the
firemen, and then I'd say "Oh, I KNEW something was wrong when I left town!"
and I would say things like "It's all my fault!" and everyone would think
I was telling the truth, which I would, indeed be doing.

So, partway through reading the insurance policy, I started to realize that
I was actually, completely crazy. As in NOT SANE. Sane people don't plan
to burn down their houses.

I put the kids to bed and tried calling my father, who I knew would listen
to me, and not immediately call social services. I was scared to talk to
anyone else. He didn't answer his phone, so I started to panic. I couldn't
tell anyone what was going on with me, 'cause I was so scared that they'd
think I was going to hurt my children and they'd get taken away from me, or
that "they" would take me away to a psych ward and my children (one of whom
is still breast feeding) would be put into "care" somewhere. I couldn't
risk that.

So, I talked online to a friend who is currently in Japan teaching. She was
pretty good at "listening" to me, and getting it all out made me feel
better. It was telling someone that I was going to burn down the house that
made me throw that plan out completely. I mean, I couldn't exactly burn
down the house after I TOLD someone about it, right?

While I was online last night, I looked up the symptoms of post partum
depression. I don't really have any of the symptoms that are specific to
PPD, as in wanting to hurt my children, but I DO have almost all of the
symptoms of regular major depression and an anxiety disorder. It was sort
of scary reading the symptoms, 'cause I knew I was depressed, but I didn't
realize how CRAZY I actually was. When I started to read about how hearing
'voices' was a possible, very dangerous symptom, I all of a sudden realized,
that I had, indeed been hearing voices, and had been for a long time, but
didn't even really think anything of it. HOW CRAZY IS THAT?!?! The
'voices" I had been hearing though weren't telling me to do anything, or
really saying anything at all. I never made out any words, it just seemed
like I could hear people talking on the other side of a wall or something.

On the first of May, I went to the doctor and she put me on anti-depressants. I've taken them for a few days now, and I can't say whether they are working or not, but the fact that I'm being pro-active about what's happening to me has made me feel a bit better. She wants me to take them for two weeks then return for a visit to find out how they are working and if we need to adjust the dosage or type of med. Currently they are making me nauseous and very hungry, mostly for fatty snack foods, which isn't making me feel all that great about myself. I think I'm sleeping better now though, as I'm not staying awake for hours thinking about how messed up everything is. I feel more in "control" of what's happening to me now, which, really is good, 'cause the feeling of being out of control is what causes me to lose it in the first place.

My good friend Tricia came and stayed with me for two nights this week, which was totally awesome. She was here while I adjusted to the new meds, and she helped to take the edge off by entertaining Cherry, and even let me get an extra nap in! She is an awesome friend.

I don't know where to take this post now. I guess I just feel like if I tell my small corner of the world what I'm going through, that maybe it might help someone else out. Talk to your doctor if you're feeling weird. And do it before you have a breakdown.


dillyweed said...

I'm so glad you decided to tell someone about your thoughts.
And you are NOT alone with this. So many of us have endured similar anxieties and bouts of depression. Just keep taking each day one at a time.
And keep talking to someone.
Hugs to you!!

debambam said...

I'm sending big hugs your way love. As someone who lived with a depression sufferer, and has a sister who had postnatal depression, I can honestly say I know how hard posting this must have been for you.
Like dillyweed said, you are NOT ALONE...there are many support groups out there, mums to talk to, friends to help and listen...
I'm thinking of you mate..I really am.
Take it easy ok.

Maidink said...

Depending on the anti-dep, it can take up to two weeks to "truly" kick in. But if YOU are feeling better, then that's what really counts, not if the meds are doing their job.

I'm sorry I wasn't there for you last week. I've been where you were MANY times and I can relate to how you are feeling.

You know how to reach me if you need to talk (or chat or whatever).

Sarah said...

Thanks for posting all that... I'm glad it appears that things have turned the corner. I'm thinking of you... and I know what it's like to think you're going insane.

Erin said...

Oh, I'm sososo glad you went to the doctor. Call me if you ever want someone to talk to - depression sucks. Been there, done that. *hug*

Michele said...

real wisdom is knowing when to get help. i think you are wise.

Evan said...

I probably shouldnt say this, but you are Canadian right and I hear that they have an Aussie sense of humour, so... That was a good post, cause I laughed when I read bits of it, it was funny your reharsal of what you would do in the future down to the exact emotional and vocal response to possible scenaroes.
Anyway, I have no idea what to say may be advice for you other than my first thoughts were you might be bored without adult company. Needing something to think about. hey geees, I'm not a mother so not sure.
But I'm hoping everything is good right now, youre courageous for blogging this.

Brian Lavery said...

That's quite the post Cece. It's got to be really tough with Armondo working out of town. I think you are doing an amazing job holding the house together and looking after the girls. I was on anti depressants for awhile, and although I don't like what they did to my libido they really helped.

Alex Elliot said...

I'm so glad that you talk to someone. I can't even tell you how many moms that I know, including myself, that have had depression.

Fidget said...

big hugs to you... I have been in that hole. I fantasized all the time about driving into a tree or over into a ravine.

EAT PROTEIN, Fill yourself up with lots of protein and you wont have room for the fatty stuff those damn drugs will make you crave.

I hope they help