A Determined Walk Toward Slow Hope: An Update on Depression

Sep 17 2013

This is not a real post. I am far, far too giddy and drunk on I Am Responsible for ZERO Kids Right Now to write a real post.

But it is an update of sorts. An update on depression in disguise. And anxiety. And finding a way out.

An encouragement, hopefully. And a determined walk toward slow hope.

Because, you see, Greg and I are away. Away away. From home. On purpose. For 40ish hours, we’re away, and I can go potty whenever I want. What’s more, I bet Greg isn’t going to lay on the floor outside the bathroom and stick his fingers under the door and say, “MomMomMomMomMommyMom” or ask “ARE YOU DONE YET?” or holler “MY BROTHER JUST PUNCHED ME IN THE PENIS.” He probably won’t yell that even once. And I’m not sure I can adequately express the kind of jaw-dropping, drool-inducing, mind-blowing bliss that comes from that knowledge.

And can I just say? The fact that I’m happy about this trip? The fact that I’m looking forward to being away from home? The fact that I think I may actually enjoy myself? That’s a miracle right there. A medical marvel. Because I did not feel like this a few months ago. Not even a little. Anxiety had backed me up against the wall with a hand around my throat and it did not let up until my doctor told me it was Depression in Disguise and I started the long road toward health. Again.

The road to mental health is always long, and I just hate that. I step back on the road and I want a supersonic jet or a bullet train or a Formula One race car to pull alongside and offer me a ride. I want to bypass the journey and arrive at the Perfect Mental Health destination NOW. But nooooo. It’s never like that. Never ever. I step back on the road to mental health in my scuffed tennis shoes with my underused muscles and the only way forward is one foot in front of the other in front of the other in front of the other. And onward to infinity.

Sometimes it looks like no progress at all. Especially with the inevitable medication changes and being aware of my feelings and having to stay engaged in the process. Blerg. But then one day, maybe months and months after finding the road again, I look up and realize I’ve walked or jogged or crawled quite a way. I realize that, while I can’t see my destination, I also can’t see where I started. I realize I’m headed out on a brief trip with my husband and I’m not just going through the motions. Not dreading being away. Maybe I’m even eager to go.

Crazy.

Or maybe Not Crazy, to use the technical medical term.

Now, it wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine getting ready for this trip.

I had to do certain things.

Like update our will.

And clean.

And I’m never sure which of those things I hate worse.

My parents are staying with the kids while we’re away, so we picked up just enough this weekend to upgrade our house from the Pit of Everlasting Despair to I’m So, So Sorry You Have to Stay Here. I’d feel worse about all the beds that are unmade and towels that are frayed and children who are unbathed except the house looks approximately 20,000 times better than the time I was pregnant with twins and my water broke prematurely and we bolted from the house in the middle of the night leaving my in-laws to babysit preschoolers and sop up amniotic fluid. So, you know; the house isn’t that bad. It’s all about perspective, right?

The truth is, I’ve tried 3 different combinations of medications since starting treatment again in May, and I’m not exactly the palm-to-the-forehead, BE-HEALED kind of better. I sent a message to my brother and sister-in-law last week titled “We’ll Be Gone Next Week… MAYBE FOREVER” and I opened with “In light of our upcoming trip (read: imminent deaths), I need to clarify some things about our will.” So, you know; Hello, Anxiety, my old friend. But when we hugged and kissed our kids good-bye, I didn’t experience soul-crushing sorrow, either. Or dread. Or defeat. I would say, in fact, I could breathe. So Hello, Progress. 

I may not be out of the dark yet. I may not be standing in full sunshine. But the moon has risen in the dark, and it’s full, and it’s bright, and I can imagine the sunlight on the horizon. For now, that’s enough.

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A determined walk toward slow hope.

And enough.

……….

P.S. I guess this turned into a real post after all. Shows what I know.

P.P.S. I’m not too proud to ask for your prayers or good wishes for this time away. For rest for a weary mama. For air to breathe. xoxo

Image by Roger Hutchison used with permission:
you can find out more about Roger’s art at The Painting Table.