The Blanchard Bunch

The Blanchard Bunch

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Great Depression

Like millions of people all over the world, I suffer from clinical depression. Most days I don't even think about it; I just take my medicine and go on about my day. Occasionally, I'll feel a little down and out of sorts and in need of a little "me" time or an extra hug or two from Todd and the kids to set things back in order. For the most part, my depression is very controlled and I can happily go about my day and just be me.

However, a couple of times a year, I get hit with a debilitating bout of depression and I just want to curl up in bed and sleep for hours on end. I don't want to be around ANYONE and I certainly don't want to talk. Everything upsets and irritates me and I feel like crying all the time. Things I normally wouldn't even notice become huge issues to me. Normal activities and conversation are impossible. Life is impossible. Unless you've been there yourself, I don't think anyone can truly understand what this feels like.

The answers to the usual questions about my depression can be summarized in one word: NO.
No, talking about it will not help.
No, I don't know what caused it; if I did, I would fix it. 
No, you can't fix it for me. 

Todd has been through this with me for many years now and understands (as best anyone can) what my needs are when I have these bad days. He no longer takes it personally when I say I need to be alone, or don't want to talk, or just want to sleep. Derrick is pretty good at understanding this as well, because he too suffers from depression. Our other children, God bless them, have no experience with this and don't quite understand what's going on. 

It's hard to explain why you *can't* be Mommy right now to your children, even if it's only for a few hours. Daddy is right there with them and the big kids are truly self-sufficient, so it's not like they are left alone wondering what's going on. Todd does a great job of running interference for me, and tries to explain that there is no need in them getting cranky or ugly about not being able to talk to me for a little while, but not everyone listens. They are kids, after all.

Yesterday, sadly, was one of those debilitating days. I was able to do the bare minimum to get through the day, but even that was a struggle. Just being around other people, including my wonderful kids, made me edgy and irritable. I tried taking a nap in the morning hoping that when I woke up, I'd be in a better mood. No dice. I got a little bit of housework done and then ran a couple of errands with Sissy. While we were out, I realized that was NOT a good idea and sent a text to Todd letting him know that when I got home, I would be needing another nap. He was great about it and made sure the kids didn't bother me; instead, they all watched a movie together and got to hang out and enjoy each others' company for a while.

Sissy kept trying to figure out if she'd done something to upset me or that had gotten her into trouble. I assured her she hadn't and that it was "just one of those days for me," but she still worried about it. (When the kids have done something that's really made me mad, it takes me a day or so to calm down enough to be able to nicely talk about it with them. I refuse to be ugly to my children just because I'm upset with them, so I take the time I need to calm down and be logical and polite, as long as it's not something that needs IMMEDIATE action. Everyone is better off for that cooling-off period.)

Amanda couldn't quite grasp that I needed to be left alone and wanted to tell me about her day, ask me questions and just go on like it was a normal day. Todd explained to her a couple of times that I needed to be left completely alone and she needed to not text me or try to get me involved in a conversation of any kind. I'm pretty sure she took it personally, rather than seeing it as something that was requested of everyone in the house. She will, however, have to come to terms with it and realize that when I'm in 'that place' there is nothing anyone can do but leave me alone until I'm ready to be with people again.

The little girls knew that Mommy didn't feel good and needed to be left alone. They understood and were happy to cuddle with Daddy and Sissy and watch a movie together. Derrick came to my room and asked me if I was hibernating. I told him yes, because I was in a bad mood and didn't need to be around people. He gave me a knowing look, hugged his cat and went on back to his room.

Through it all, Todd was his usual supportive self and made sure everyone was taken care of and I was left alone. I'm not saying this is easy for him, but over the years he's become a bit of an expert at it. I'm certain he deserves the Father and Husband of the Year Award for putting up with all of us and doing it in such a loving way.

I do wish there was something I could do to insure that I never had another one of "those days" again, but there's really not. I've been there, done that with pretty much every medical option. So, for now, it's all about teaching the rest of the family how to cope without me for a couple of days a year. We'll get there. Eventually. 

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