When I wrote a few weeks ago about how I felt out of control, I explored the tip of the iceberg that was about to hit me. I talked about how I was unable to complete anything, how I was giving up on my task list, how I couldn’t find the stamina or energy or brainspace for any kind of productivity. I talked about it like that was all it was.
But the reality is, this wasn’t–isn’t–about my to-do list.
For the longest time, I’ve felt…blah. To put a technical term on it. I’ve felt lifeless, uninterested/uninteresting. I’ve felt like the best use of my time is to lump (yes, that is now a verb) on the couch. Even my old standby pleasures (blogging & TV) haven’t been holding my interest. My to-do list is just a symptom of that problem: I can’t get interested enough to do any of the things I need to do. Or I get paralyzed by how much I need to do and how much energy that is going to take and so I don’t do them. I’m unproductive, with no attention span, and feel like even accomplishing the basic tasks of the day is a big enough accomplishment.
Oh, I’ve occasionally wondered if it was something BIGGER than just stress. More than just being tired. In the end, though, I never gave it enough space or attention to really find out myself. I told myself that my problems aren’t that bad, I’m just tired/a parent/making excuses/etc. “It’s nothing that everyone in the word doesn’t go through, I’m just not handling it as well. Snap out of it.”
It wasn’t until I read someone else’s post (posted, by the way, the same day that I wrote about being out of control) that included her symptoms of depression that I really allowed myself to think that this might be more than the typical overworked mom thing. Because I saw myself in her description the way I hadn’t seen myself in a while:
Here are the symptoms of major clinical depression, as I have it, for anyone who might be curious: I get overwhelmed by things, I become very unproductive. I crave repetitive, soothing tasks, or things that require no attention span whatsoever.
When I read that, it’s like a light bulb that had been flickering for a while finally went on. Because all of that? Every last one? That’s part and parcel of how I’ve been feeling for, oh, at LEAST the last 6 months. And to think that that could be more than just stress? That it could be depression? Was eye opening.
But I’m not sad.
Or, at least, not the kind of sad that I apparently mentally associated with depression.
And I’m not having panic attacks.
Because a racing heart and nausea are apparently the only symptoms of anxiety that come to my mind.
In my head, I never made the connection. I never made the connection that everything else, from the difficulty concentrating and completing tasks to the lack of interest in things that I used to enjoy could be stemming from something more than just “stress.” And “parenthood.” It took someone else saying “hey, these are my symptoms” for me to make that mental leap, to think…well…maybe?
The next day I called a doctor. For once, I just did it, instead of just thinking about it. Because I really needed to know. I needed someone else to tell me. I needed the definitive call:
“Ginger, it sounds like you have depression and anxiety.”
And so here we are. I feel like the biggest cliche to ever be created (oh look, another mommy blogger who has depression & anxiety*), but there you go. In some ways, it’s almost *funny* that it turns out I didn’t know I had depression and anxiety. I’ve been reading blogs for a long time, and my first blog addictions were women who were opening up and sharing about their struggles with those exact things. I’ve been reading about depression and anxiety in women & mothers for as long as I’ve been reading blogs, and so the fact that it SURPRISED me? Blows me away.
I’m still working through what this all means. So far, I have a therapist, some techniques to practice for the anxiety, some “homework” like get some exercise, get some sleep, and, (gulp) cut down/cut out caffeine. We’re putting the medication discussion on hold for a little bit to try some of these other things (and while we get to know each other/she gets to know the ins and outs of my head), but it’s a possibility.
But mostly, I’m working through how to take this knowledge and change things. I’m not sure yet, but at least now I know where I’m starting from.
*Edited to add: I don’t feel like other people are a cliche when they go through this. Just in case that’s what it sounds like. That’s just how *I* feel about myself. It’s the same thing I face when I say I’d tell someone who was thinking about death all the time that they should talk to someone, but that never occurred to me. So, it’s just how I’m viewing myself not how I view others. Part of what I need to work on, I know.No tags for this post.