Thursday, November 6, 2008

How to Keep Going...

...even when you would much rather curl up in that dark hole with a small light and all your knitting and your dog and never come out.

I have a friend that I know reads this blog. This is in direct response to something they are going through these days, but I do not know if the person is clued in to their own behavior enough to recognize what I am going to discuss. If they do recognize it, maybe they will thank me, maybe they will stop talking to me, but it needs to be said.

So this is intended to be a huge dose of get your head out of your butt because you are not the only one that has ever gone through anything like this, will go through anything like this, that there are worse things that could happen and if I can do it you sure as h* can.

I have 'formally' suffered from depression for over 6 years now. I say formally because I had to really hit rock bottom (as in almost suicidal) to realize that I did not want to follow my brother down that path. Note that I do not state that I am no longer suffering from it.

I've had three different therapists over the years. Been on meds and have been med (at least anti depressants) free for over 5 years. I do not believe you can treat depression with therapy alone. The meds can help. That said I won't take them any longer than necessary either. In my case they are not a solution, merely a means to one.

I do not believe that being depressed gives you a free pass to be passive about everything that happens to you, to just take whatever life throws at you, or to whine about it.

Even today, it is a struggle to get out of bed in the morning. I do not want to face the day. It is so much easier to just stay in bed. This in spite of the fact that I love my job, even when it is driving me nuts. I love my husband, even when he is driving me nuts. I have a few choice good friends that are worth getting up for as well. Depression is not logical, but neither can it win.

Every day that I manage to get out of bed and get on with my life is another battle won.

Some people would say I don't have anything to be depressed about. I have a lovely home, a husband that loves me, more animals then I ever thought I'd get to have, a good job, and some very dear friends.

Again with the not logical. But they don't know my history, where I've been, what I've gone through to get to where I am today. It is not something you can just get over, but it is something you can learn to deal with rather than letting it control you. But you have to WANT to beat it, not just deal with it, or use it to hold pity parties.

Then we talk about dealing with physical pain. Unfortunately this is also something I'm well versed in. For the past year+ I've been in constant pain more than 75% of the time. Some days it's better than others, other days it can prevent me from getting out of bed, but I do it ANYWAY. The surgery I had earlier this year did not completely solve the problem. But I get through it. I keep going and for the most part I believe no one has any idea just how much trouble it can be for me to stand up straight some days.

I go to kickboxing to help strengthen my muscles. I'm eating better to get my weight down so it does not make things worse. Granted I hide it from my doctor because the only way I'm being cut open again is for a C-Section or a cochlear implant thank you very much. But if it gets to the point where the getting out of bed cannot happen, I'll go back. I'm not totally stupid.

It can be debilitating, but thankfully those days are few and far between, much more so since the surgery in February.

When I think about giving in to pain and being a cry baby about it, I think of two things. My sister Anita and now my nephew Danny.

My sister Anita has a rare bone disorder that has results in multiple surgeries, mostly in the lower extremities over the course of her life. I cannot believe she walks without pain. But she walks and rides her bike 5 miles a day and she keeps going. I don't know how she does it. But she's one of the most upbeat people I know and the person I want on my side in a fight, because she doesn't give up.

I just recently (last week in fact) got in touch with my sister Chris after a long time of not speaking and found out some very scary news. My 18 year old nephew's left leg was crushed from the knee down in a motorcycle accident in June. He almost lost his leg, heck he almost lost his life. In fact, even right now it is still broken. I don't know how many surgeries he has had in the past five months, but I do know he just finished learning how to walk again ON A BROKEN SHATTERED LEG. And I talked to him.

I am so proud to call this young man my nephew. To him it is no big deal. He called his mom the day of the accident from the ambulance and was so upbeat she thought he was pulling a fast one till the paramedic came on the line. This is just something he has to handle and get through. He sounds great (so much like his father it is scary) and if you did not know what he was going through you would never hear it in his voice. He is a good egg and I am so glad he is still with us.

Life is to be lived, even if the very act of living is sometimes a chore. But you get through it, you bounce back, you get therapy if you need it, meds (legal please - hehe) to help, a different therapist if your current one is a whack job that is just using you as guaranteed income, you suck it up and you move on.

Yes some days will be worse than others, but some will also be better. Look forward to the good ones, rather than dwelling on the bad ones.

And in spite of my pain and my depression, I am happy to be alive, to be here, to have each new day that has been granted me. Because it is one more day to live and get it right.


CTJen said...

Thank you for saying this. I have been battling with Depression lately myself. Here's to getting out of bed every morning anyway. :-)

Anonymous said...



Toni said...

Thanks for sharing and the reminder to keep on keeping on! We all (not just your friend) need to be reminded occasionally.

DK said...

Well said, my friend, well said.

Hang in there. Hold tight to the important people (and critters). I find that if you're looking right, it always gets better, even when it gets worse.

Do remember, though, that sometimes you have to take a moment and honor what you're going through. One of my most useful lines as a therapist, in response to some rationalizing statement or devaluing statement or "I know I shouldn't feel X or Y because of Z," is "True, but that doesn't make it suck any less. And that's okay." Sometimes life does indeed suck. Which doesn't mean that you should wallow in it, or throw a big pity party, but sometimes you have to give credit where credit is due. I.e., good for you for persevering.