I’ve suffered from depression a few times in my life. Most notably, twice after giving birth to my beautiful babies, which required medication to help me bounce back to my normal bubbly, happy self. But I’ve had depression before having babies and I’m pretty sure I’m going through a period now that is deeper than just feeling “blue”.
Shortly after graduating high school and turning 18, I moved away from my parents in Germany and across the world to Oklahoma. I lived in a small Army base community for 7 years and moved to the great big Oklahoma City was, believe it or not, a major culture shock. I went from having my parents very close by to not talking to them very often at all. The time difference made it difficult, and that long ago overseas calling was very expensive. When I did call, I called crying and begging to go home. That was my first bit of depression. There were days I didn’t get out of bed, attend class or eat. If it wasn’t for my roommate Rhonda, I don’t know if I would have even survived my Freshman year. She dragged me out of that tiny cell of a room more times than I wanted and forced fun upon me. She was my “happy pill”.
My second bout of depression was during my first marriage. I met him during my first year and I dropped out of college after my second year when I married him. After a few years, I went to see a therapist and he was AMAZING. After a few sessions of me talking about my dead-end job, not having any friends, feelings of worthlessness, and all the other issues in my life, he said, “I’ve heard enough.” He told me I needed to do something for me, and urged me to go back to school and finish my degree. I enrolled in the College of Liberal Studies through the University of Oklahoma. They had classes for working adults on Friday evenings and all day Saturdays. I was a nervous wreck, but I quickly found out that my classmates thought I was funny and I truly was a worthy person. I began to have a life outside of just being married to a man who essentially kept me inside of a bubble due to his own insecurities, and I felt so free for the first time since I met him. School was my “happy pill”.
After Cason was born I was in serious denial that I was depressed. I didn’t see it and didn’t recognize the signs. Even though I was crying all the time for no reason, I had erratic behaviors and mood swings, I couldn’t see how depressed I truly was. It took SEVERAL people, including co-workers, friends and family members, sitting me down and telling me how concerned they were for months before I finally went to my doctor for help. I thought I had failed as a new mother. I had all the feelings of being a terrible mother. Modern medicine is a wonder. After several dose changes…I became a new woman. Lexapro was my “happy pill”.
After BrookLynn was born it didn’t take very long to recognize the symptoms myself. I was out for a run and I had a very brief thought of “I can’t do this anymore.” The very next day I called my doctor. I continued running, eating healthy and taking Lexapro, and once again I began to feel my normal bubbly self. Lexapro again was my “happy pill”
Lately, I’ve been feeling off again. I don’t know if it’s because I had ankle surgery in October that was extremely painful and kept me from running (I’m feeling blah about myself). I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t get the much-anticipated bonus at work this Christmas that gives us a cushion around the holidays. I don’t know if it’s because the Oklahoma bipolar weather can’t decide if it going to be warm or cold. I don’t know if it is because OU’s football season is over. I don’t know if it’s because I had been sick since the Thursday before Christmas and I spend my last two vacation days in bed with the crud instead of at the movies with the babies and doing all the things I wanted to do and essentially not getting much of a holiday/vacation from work. My hope is now that I’m finally feeling like I can breathe again I can start working out, continue to eat healthier and get my happy self back. If not, I’m going to have to find another “happy pill.”