Saturday, September 07, 2013

Do you know what 2:30 feels like?

On a lazy Saturday, Allyn was watching football and the kids as I straightened the house. I walked by the TV just as the 5 hr energy commercial came on.  For some silly reason, {insert roll of eyes} it's one of a handful of commercials I find myself watching when it comes on....

This time as I watched the grayscaled lady pour her cup of coffee - it clicked.

That was me. That's how I felt. GRAYSCALE is how I saw life as I unknowingly struggled with a health issue for over 17 months post Clark.

I functioned but life lost it's color..I laughed less. I never considered the struggle I experienced as diagnosable. Depression. Afterall, I felt happy and relaxed for the first 4 or 5 months of mommy hood. Then as if someone was dimming the lights, life slowly dulled to grayscale. It was gradual enough that close friends didn't notice.

 Family photos Fall 2010 
 {six or 7 months into my depression}
6 months into this ordeal, I had several health issues/mixed with just feeling off for so long that I did some research out of desperation and wondered if I had a progesterone issue. I finally mustered up the courage to call the local Dr's office. The nurse told me I could make an appointment but the Doctor would probably not order any testing till I had 2 or possibly 3 more miscarriages. She said it wasn't likely that I had any problem with my progesterone. I accepted it for some reason without my Emily style questioning. I hung up the phone and filed what she said in my head. Looking back, did I fall through the cracks? I know I felt stupid for being so convinced something was wrong with me.

Without realizing it the ability to see beauty was squeezed out of me. Over the next 17 months I would slowly take down every pictures and decor in my home??? I sensed I enjoyed my son less but assumed he was just a hard toddler.
  • loss of pleasure in daily activities
I became a perfectionist.  I was mostly mad at myself, but Allyn took an unpleasant brunt of my frustration. He could do little right in my depressed/stressed mind. That man has an incredible amount of patience. Amazing man. He graciously endured a lot.
  • depressed mood-tearfulness
  • anxiety 
  • feelings of worthlessness or guilt, with no reasonable cause.                             
I was unable to multi-task. I remember my laundry always being a constant issue and finally asking small group to pray that I could get it done. Seasoned mom's came along side of me and said "this week, just focus on doing one load a day"

But it didn't work, nor did it stop there...

I couldn't sort Clark's toys or clothes
Or the linen closet.
Or the recipe box that fell off the counter and dumped all over the floor...
The multi-steps involved in making a grocery list, loading clark (only 1 child!) into a car and then grocery shopping paralyzed me
Getting out the door for women's Bible study - it would fall apart EVERY time.
Time was also an issue - I literally could sleep12 hrs a night + nap any time clark went down. 
  • extreme fatigue or loss of energy.
  • sleep problems
  • difficulty concentrating and making decisions.                                       

I remember reading the blog of a dear friend who had lost a precious baby that year...and found tears streaming down my face because I had no idea why I was such a mess and related to some of her emotions. I was terrified to admit to her when she asked how I was that I too felt like I was dying on the inside. After all, I kept saying to myself what's "wrong" with your life, Emily? I finally chalked the struggle up to what people around me would say in a sincere, affirming and kind way "Motherhood is hard"
  • hopelessness
  • feeling empty inside                                                                               
It was late Summer 2011 and one of our favorite missionary couples came to visit us. I remember where I was sitting when I surprised myself by answering her question of how I was doing with the words "ok, but I might have had post partum depression". Truth is for some reason I had googled it that week, but had not said it aloud to anyone yet. This wise woman listened for a few minutes and then her words literally turned me towards a pursuit of recovery.

"Emily, let me tell you my story. After my fourth child, I also...."

It was the first time a strong Christian woman not to mention seasoned mother told me she had taken meds for depression and was still on them. After all, who talks about depression in Christian circles? What struck me was how this woman had come down to the decision of valuing her children more than the stigma that came with taking meds. Our stories had striking similarities, and she gave me two simple steps of advice - try the nutritional/natural med route first, but then do whatever it takes.

As warped as it may sound, part of me still wanted my struggle to be spiritual. I knew I lacked personal discipline, focus and passion for God - Christian kids know how to fix those problems (wink). I made an appointment with our counselor at church.  30 minutes into the session, after we talked through some spiritual lies and strategies I had created to function she stopped the session saying she suspected a physical/health issue that I needed to get checked out before going any deeper into the spiritual side of it. She scribbled down the name of a chiropractor who specialized in the specific field she wanted me to check out.

When the chiropractor called me with the results of my hormone test the list of unbalanced hormones within my body was a huge piece of the puzzle. Within 2 weeks under the care of this chiropractor, 17 of my 22 symptoms disappeared. boom. gone. The crazy thing is that during those 17 long months had there been a depression-solving-solution as simple as the "5 Hour Energy for the 2:30 feeling" - would I have taken it? My understanding of depression and what I thought of people who battle depression was skewed. When you spot someone who is depressed, how in the world would you tell them??? Lots to still process.

Depression. Gray scale living. I know what that feels like. 

A gift. Though unlikeable and uncomfortable to accept, it was a gift in my life. I am changed.

Experiencing life again in full color, also a gift. 


W.C. said...

Emily, thank you for your honesty. So many struggle silently. Made the stigma be removed!

W.C. said...


lydia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lydia said...

Love you. So thankful for doctors, friends and counselors who can help us when we can't see what is going on!