Taking Back Control

Posted Sunday, January 9, 2011 by Kally83
I’ve dealt with depression for just about as long as I can remember. It was at its worst in high school (like for most teenagers I imagine). I hated myself and depended on emotionally abusive relationships for my self-esteem. I could literally spend days in bed sleeping because life just wasn’t worth getting out there for. Despite the scars on my arms from my poor attempts at dealing with my emotions and the countless times I sat in the ER drinking charcoal to sop up the bottles of ibuprofen I’d downed in the hopes of ending this existence, I was never ACTUALLY diagnosed with anything. Nurses would begrudgingly stop in once in awhile to make sure I was drinking my libation whilst speaking to me in tones that told me in no uncertain terms that I really didn’t deserve to be there since my wounds were self-inflicted. I’d have a quick chat with the hospital counsellor or psychiatrist and after promising to seek help, they’d kick me to the curb. Maybe this is the down side of universal health care. Maybe it was (and is) the taboo that is depression. Maybe it’s all in my head (hardy har har). Regardless of what it is, to this day, I still deal with mental health issues.

A few years after I finished high school was when I “found Jesus”. I’d be lying if I said that it was no help. Finding a spirituality that made me feel like someone special did wonders for my self-esteem and I’ll always be thankful for those years of my life, even if I still allowed people to walk all over me and use my delicate state as a means of controlling me. It’s not God’s fault, it was those cruel enough to use religion as a form of manipulation.

I was still walking that path when I met Boo. By the time I met him, I had become an entirely different person. I was confident. I had managed to get myself a decent job and was renting my own apartment. I had dealt with a few hiccups but overall, I was a much happier, healthier person.

I was diagnosed with post-partum depression after Munchkin was born. My doctor was quick to put me on an anti-depressant and make a follow-up appointment or two to see how things were going. The drugs did nothing but make my stomach horribly ill and inflict me with more mommy guilt for putting drugs into my breast milk. It was around this time that I discovered yoga. The church that I had attended always looked down on yoga because of its spiritual connotations. This made no sense to me so I started practicing yoga daily and my symptoms improved drastically.

Life got busier as Munchkin got older. By this time I had moved away from Christianity and started following my Pagan path. Then I found out I was pregnant with Bean so although I took prenatal yoga classes once a week for a term, I didn’t keep up my daily practice. I did ok throughout my pregnancy but in the few months following his birth, my depression came back with a vengeance but this time it manifested in completely new ways. Actually, looking at it now, they weren’t really new. You see, I’ve always had quite an imagination. Boo forbade me from watching all those cop/investigative type shows because all they did was fuel the fire. He knew that I worried that there was someone hiding in the shadows of the basement but what he didn’t see were the morbid thoughts/scenarios that would go through my head. Truly, if I put any of my real thoughts onto paper, I would put Stephen King to shame. Actually, pick the scariest, most graphic novel/movie you’ve ever read/seen and multiply that by a thousand. Those are the kinds of things that go through my head at some point every day. Add to that a genuine anxiety that those things are REALITY and you have my life.

I found a couple of those surveys online that you can do to get a basic idea of what potential disorders you may suffer from. I know, it’s a bad idea to go looking for those things and start self-diagnosing because we always assume things are worse than they really are but to tell you the truth, in reading the answers I got, there was “nothing new under the sun”. I’m not silly enough to presume that I actually HAVE 6 of the 10 personality disorders that it “tests” for but it certainly reminded me that what I think and feel every day is not necessarily normal.

This being a new year, I’ve decided to attempt getting help again. My GP is a bit of a pill pusher so I’m hoping that I can by-pass the meds and have her refer me to a psychologist who can decide whether meds are what I need or if I need to change my lifestyle (or both if necessary). I have everything anyone could hope for...a loving husband, two beautiful sons. But it’s so hard to enjoy them when my brain is fried from constantly “seeing” them in accidents, or kidnapped or “insert horrible event here”. I think it’s about time to try and take back control of my own mind. Wish me luck!

2 comments:

  1. Aisha

    you a definitely not alone, i try really really hard not to watch horror movies, the news or anything that will stick those images in my head. Zombie movies are the worst because i then begin to panic at what would happen to my family if i'm not there (ugh) i have begun to practice yoga again, read daily, attempt meditation, i did for years talk to someone, and that helped (then the insurance ran out, ahh US health system how i love you :p ), do whatever you need to but do know your not alone at all. and Congrats on even admitting there is a problem, most people never even get that far.
    BB

  1. Aine O'Brien

    Oh yes, I remember worrying all the time when my kids were little. When they were about to go to summer camp I'd worry for weeks about what could happen to them - to the point of exhaustion and then I'd stop because I was just too tired to think about it anymore. I think (this is just my opinion) that when things are good for people like us, we can't believe that something won't come and take it away. I think it's a good idea to go see a doctor/therapist. Maybe contemplating the whole idea of cycles of life, the constancy of change, etc will help you realize that panicking/worrying/obsessing will not stop the thing that is constant - change. I found accepting that we are powerless to control everything helped me stop obsessive worrying.

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