December 29, 2010


I am posting this as there are more and more of you out there that are dealing with depression and for me it is a little new. 

I went through post partum depression 18 years ago when our youngest was born.  I had never experienced it before but I can still remember the weeks of feeling lonely, crying and not understanding why during a very happy time of my life, I was so sad.  I finally called my obstretrician and after talking to me he referred me on to a psychiatrist who made the diagnosis.  I went on an anti-depressant and after it kicked in, I felt like my old self.

Since then I have had days when I was a little blue or sad, but nothing more than an every now or then day.  Until ---- 10 days ago.  I started to feel odd.  I wanted Christmas to be done and over.  That is not me.  I love the holidays and always have.  Then it got to not sleeping well and feeling sad and blue.  I kept telling myself I would feel better after the holidays and the typical holiday stress was over.  But it didn't happen. 

My sadness progressed to some really odd behavior.  I kept compulsively looking at my hair, at least 10 times an hour, being convinced I was going bald. I kept telling myself that my hair hadn't changed.  I was do for a haircut and color scheduled January 3rd.  The cut and color would take care of the dingey, too long hair and it would make my thin hair look good against my scalp once again.  But, no matter how hard I tried I was in the bathroom every couple of minutes looking at my hair from the side, with my head bent back looking at my hair with a handheld mirror and using the mirror on the wall convinced I was going bald.  I had not seen any extra hair in the sink and last month my stylist had even told me that my hair hadn't changed. 

But nothing seemed to convince me and as the days went on the compulsion to look at my hair constantly, along with the sadness, wore on me.  Yes, it was so bad that I would be sobbing in the bathroom and in the evening I would be crying for no good reason.  The entire time I had people, that are acquaintances and don't really know me, comment on my hair and say how nice my hair looks. 

So here I was trying my hardest to deal with the reality that my hair was fine while my mind kept telling me it wasn't. 

Well, today I had it.  I called my doctor and described how I was feeling and what I was doing.  I told him that this was totally abnormal behavior for me.  While I may check my hair throughout the day, once or twice, before going out, I never have checked it about 100 times a day.  As a side note, what exactly was checking it 100 times a day supposed to do anyway?  LOL

He asked a few more questions and told me to go to the hospital lab immediately to have blood drawn.  He had increased the dosage of my thyroid medication earlier this month and perhaps something else was wrong with the hormone levels.  A side effect of my thyroid meds is nervousness and edginess.  Yep - I was experiencing that at a major level.  He also told me that a symptom of depression was OCD behavior so he wanted to get me on an anti-depressant right away. BTW - why couldn't I be a little OCD about cleaning the house - at least then I would have something to show for this out of normal behavior. 

Perhaps it is a side effect of the thyroid medication or perhaps it is Seasonal Depression, I'm not sure.  But when you are crying while you are cooking dinner and then you burst into tears at the dinner table and can't stop crying and don't know why you are crying, and running to the bathroom to look at your hair all the time, then something is wrong.  BTW - you know what my husband did when I started crying?  He started eating faster and then told me to call my doctor today.  Then he got up and washed the dishes.  If this continues I may just start crying during dinner every night.

Later on we did talk more and my husband made some very good observations.  It is winter and I am home entirely too much.  He told me that being home day in and out is not good for anyone.  I need to get out and have more contact with my friends.  I agreed and went one step further to say that I would like to take one afternoon and perhaps volunteer in our church office.  Also, no matter what the weather, he told me I need to go for a walk outside everyday.  Being in the outdoors will help.  Agreed.  It's weird that I had to have someone else tell me what deep down I already knew.  I'm home entirely too much, day in and day out. In the summer time that isn't so bad as it is sunny and I am working outside and see people.  But in the winter, that isn't a good idea at all.

I had the blood drawn this afternoon and will await the results.  Tomorrow morning I begin taking an anti-depressant. I feel better already as at least I know that my doctor acknowledges that my behavior was abnormal and a symptom of something else.  Just having someone acknowledge that what I am feeling is real, has made me feel better.

So ends another post about needing to take care of myself.

5 comments: said...

I hear ya loud and clear. You know, I suffer greatly from depression and ESPECIALLY with the Seasonal Affective Disorder. Ugh. Everyone tells me about walking, getting out of the house etc etc.....but it is just so hard to get the right groove going. Meds definitley are my friend. I could not make it through the bad times with a little help from them....and a whole lot of faith. Hang in there. Call if you need a listening ear.

Marie C said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I too am home way to much & I live in Ak where it is dark & very dreary. Last Feb I was on my way to work, hit blk ice & rolled my car. I was in hosp for 5 days w/both ankle bones shattered in rt foot. I was homebound for 2 months til hubby could build wheelchair ramp. Now, I am home way to much due to PTSD(I cannot be on the road in bad weather or I freak out). So, I understand Martha. So glad you got help as too many people dont and suffer miserably.You are already on your way to feeling better. It may take time tho. The exercise is a great help & I bought a "happy lamp" to mimic sun. It helps too(up here). Thanks again, we are not alone in this journey. God Bless

Martha said...

Thanks ladies. I knew that there would be some people that would understand what I am going through. It just surprised me how it came so out of the blue.

Just want to feel normal again and knew that it was only going to happen by making a phone call to my doctor.

You know the "Happy Lamp" idea sounds like a good one.

Maureen said...

I take a mild anti-depressant, my symptoms dont manifest as anything in particular, I just feel sad or angry or a combination of both, and I dont sleep much at all. My tablets finished about three weeks ago and as I had no time to visit my doctor for a prescription and as I was feeling well I decided I dident need them any longer. Was I wrong !! Within a couple of days I had my big black cloud with me again and was only managing a couple of hours of sleep per night. Needless to say I am now back on my meds and not about to run out again.

How brave of you to write this post, and come clean about your coping skills. I think we Woman suffer badly with hormone imbalances, and because we are the nurturers we feel as if we should be able to manage everything, so when our own health starts to let us down we are not good at seeking help, so well done to you for phoning your doctor.

Chin up.

Martha said...

Well ladies, it does seem that we need to do what we can to take care of ourselves. Last night before I went to bed, I decided that I had to make a plan for today. My plan is to clean up my sewing area so that I can tackle some fun projects, work on a monthly menu plan and put in a couple of movies while I do some hand sewing.

Gotta have a plan. Actually I think somewhere in there will be a couple of cups of coffee and some really good chocolate.

It encourages me to know that I am not alone.