There's somethin' wrong with the world today
I don't know what it is
Something's wrong with our eyes ...
Livin on the Edge – Aerosmith
I don't know if every person who suffers from depression/anxiety/panic disorder feels the same way I do or if their depression started the same way mine did. My depression sorta snuck up on me. It took baby steps, on little cat feet, like fog.
Like the fog, my depression will shift. Sometimes deep and opaque, sometimes barely hovering on the ground. Unlike the fog, it never goes away. I believe mine started after my daughter was born. Back in the dark ages of 1977, post-partum depression was called, “The Baby Blues”. New mothers were thought to be “hormonal” and nervous over the new baby and trying to adjust to a new lifestyle. I was told, in various ways, by family, friends and physicians, to “Walk it off. Rub some dirt on it. Build a bridge and get over it.” The progression was slow and I began to think that what I was feeling was normal. This was the new, not improved version of me.
My mother was a very private person. I never knew what she was feeling. She was mostly on an even keel everyday. Our family motto isn't embroidered on a pillow, it's carved in marble – BE STOIC, KEEP QUIET. (This is why the Scots invented Scotch and a game where you wack the shit out of a little white ball with a stick.) I figured after the first mentions of my feelings and the subsequent responses, I'd better adopt the family motto as law. Since Mulder's family crest is an ostrich with it's head stuck in the sand and IGNORE IT, IT WILL GO AWAY, written in Latin, I really didn't have much chance to get a grip and nip it in the bud.
I guess I wasn't a total loss because I always hung on to HOPE. I hoped life would get better. Both Mulder and me worked and got on with day to day living, such as it was. Each day was a struggle with my internal demons but since I didn't really know anything else at the time, I figured this was the way I was supposed to feel now – sad, exhausted, indifferent, joyless, angry. Really, really angry. We were both still young and even when I was 31 and my son was born, I still had that hope that things would be better in the future. Life did improve, at least for awhile. My depression began to recede. Since I started having panic attacks, I was prescribed an anti-anxiety medication. That worked pretty well. I hadn't killed anyone, the kids were okay. Our financial difficulties were a thing of the past. We had decent jobs that we both liked. I saw the light through the fog. All in all, life was damn good.
But in 2005 the fog came rolling in, not on little cat feet but bounding on tiger paws, like I was London in the summer.
Please note ~ I'm not writing about my battle with clinical depression for sympathy. I'm writing because I hope that if you live with and/or know someone who is waging the same fight, my story will give you some insight in how to deal with them. Pity and sympathy don't do a fiddler's fuck for anyone who is depressed. Knowledge, understanding and education is what the person needs. Learn about depression. Understand that it is, "not in their head" - OH! Hell, yeah!, It effects the brain but it's not "made-up". This is part one of maybe three parts, maybe more.