For four years now I have not been myself. First there was a pregnancy which brought exhaustion with it and left me at less than my normal self. And after the birth of that sweet boy, I was left with health problems – low progesterone became the eventual diagnosis – which brought along depression and anxiety. I struggled against it and against the fucking US healthcare system for years trying to fix myself. I wanted to find the root cause of the problem rather than just medicating my brain’s chemicals. I absolutely see the time and place for anti depressants, but since I was having two periods a month at the time, that was obviously not the right time for that choice. I will never forget the doctor who, after reading my blood test results, informed me that my thyroid was fine so I should just go take this anti-depressant – completely ignoring my fucked-up menstrual cycles!!! It cut like a knife, that one. It was sexist (even though she was a woman herself), and social-classist (surely if I had been more than “low income” I would have been more worthy of her time an attention, or at least more able to afford proper care in the first place) And to this day I hate her for it.
Eventually things began to get straightened out. I begged my dad for money to get blood tests and medication and my cycles began to fall within the normal range and my moods began to even out. Except for the anxiety which clung tight and held on.
I regret that my children have suffered all this time – my daughter’s entire memory and my son’s life has been spent within my suffering. Either I cry or I snap, but neither makes for a good mommy. Of course, there have been good times as well. I am a pretty cheerful person day to day, and we have a lot of laughter in our family.
Sometime last fall, I started having concerns about getting an ulcer since my stomach was sick all the time from worry. I saw an opportunity to get regular acupuncture care and I jumped on it. Over the last year my cycles are finally what I feel is regular, but the anxiety has not left me for good, and the depression – after a heavenly hiatus thanks to the fish oil – is back with a vengeance.
And I am just done. I feel like I have made a huge effort over the past years. Each time something didn’t work, or that I’ve had a setback, it chips away at me and, by this point, I am just crumbled almost to nothing. Too weak to go on.
Six and a half years ago, the simple act of having children gave me myself - I woke up to life. And it’s been hard and wonderful work to build myself a skeleton out of steel; strong and beautiful. But a skeleton by itself is death, I need muscle and blood and oxygen to make myself whole. At at this point, I have none of that. And I am willing to work hard on myself to fix these problems at the root, but the fact is that right now I have no strength. I need some help. I need a freaking break.
And so I turn, finally and without regret, to anti-depressants. I have not yet begun them. I am in the middle of researching and discussing with my doctor which will be best. We are also working on some other things, like blood tests and possibly food allergy testing, to get to the bottom of the problem. But, in the mean time, I hope to be able to have the chance to build myself up again. I have hopes that, if I can just spend some time gathering strength, I can truly delve into finding the cause and solving the root of the problem. Of course, if the root of the problem turns out to be simply that my brain chemistry needs help, well, I am OK with that as well.
Bring on the sanity!