When the Curtain is Raised

In the aftermath of depressive episodes, life doesn’t return to simply normal. It’s more of a new normal. Each visit the mind takes into the world of depression, it changes us in subtle ways.

I feel as if I lose a part of who I was. In some instances, that’s a good thing.

Maybe I shouldn’t be speaking for all who have experienced depression, because I haven’t studied this subject, except for my own reference–I don’t claim to be any sort of expert. I can only write about what I know to be true from my experiences.

For all of you with excellent memory banks, you may have read some of this before, however, I’m discovering more each day.

In my 20’s I saw a quack of a psychologist who was of no help, so I self-medicated with alcohol to escape the torment in my head. I was very uninhibited, and mean spirited. I had an opinion, and everybody had to hear it. I lost those parts of my personality, and I’m glad. However, I had more confidence during those years, and I lost that as well.

During my 30’s I was raising 3 children. I no longer used alcohol. In order to make it through each day, while trying to raise three well rounded kids, I spoke to my regular doctor about depression. I was given anti-depressants and mechanically went through life. Some of the medications made me a complete nut job, but most of them turned me into a machine. I was successful raising 3 well rounded kids, but I lost my spontaneity, and my sense of adventure.

During my 40’s I was raising teenagers. Oh, how much I wanted to self-medicate with alcohol at times. Instead, I continued taking the anti-depressants which kept me stable but mechanical. I didn’t lose much during this time except my kids finally turned into adults, and I survived the first time they drove off in the car, alone. I survived the rebellion. I survived.

I had nothing more to lose at this point. I had lost my confidence, my spontaneity, my sense of adventure, who I thought I was.

So, here I am in my 50’s. After 30+ years of struggle, I’m truly getting the help I have needed all these years. Perhaps the world of psychology has been evolving and we understand more about depression and anxiety? I don’t know, but I am so THANKFUL for the therapist I have, and my cocktail of drugs.

This last trip to the dark side, I seem to have lost my ability to contemplate any issue. During depression, we isolate ourselves. For the last 30 years, I had responsibilities, so I functioned. I didn’t live, I moved through each day, looking forward to bedtime. Then I had to get up and make it through the next day.

I have found my sense of humor, but something I’m waiting to reappear is — well — thinking. I quit reading articles about current events. I stopped watching any sort of “news” entertainment.

I quit feeding my brain.

I miss reading or hearing something that provokes thought. New ways of looking at things.

In the place of thought provoking material, my mind hovers over the fear of relapsing, therefore I feel as if nothing of interest comes from my mind.

I am so sick of observing my own thoughts. I’m sick of trying to recognize symptoms, and triggers of anxiety, and letting them move through me. I have a new way to cope–a new way to breathe–but the anxiety is still there.

A couple of personality quirks I have maintained, are impatience, and perseverance. Well, procrastination is still very much prevalent, but I’ll deal with that eventually.  😉  I’m bored with myself, and I want to leave all this crap in my head behind.

The one positive thing that has come from this last trip, most days, I no longer have to exist until bedtime. I look forward to each day because I learn some little tidbit. It’s enough to keep me moving forward.

Even though impatient, I look forward to the day I have become successful in handling my thought processes, and quit looking over my shoulder for that stinkin’ depression to return.

I’m learning to accept things as they are. I will always struggle with depression, and will always be on medication.

That’s okay. I’m not who I was, and that’s okay too. I believe I can build my confidence, and find my sense of adventure. The spontaneity may not return unless I can conquer that rotten anxiety….but that’s okay.

I’m okay. I’ll be okay.

Don’t give up!

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About April

I'll come back to this when I find out who I really am. I've been through some extremely rough patches but they have made me a better person. I blog if my brain is functioning first thing in the morning.
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19 Responses to When the Curtain is Raised

  1. aviets says:

    Thank you for sharing these thoughts. I agree – you’ll be okay. Better than okay! -Amy

    • April says:

      What started out to be a small post kind of grew. This is the first time that medications haven’t created a zombie of me. I’m very clear headed, but still feel fragile, if you know what I mean. I’m looking forward–a great thing.

  2. mewhoami says:

    Excellent post, April. Don’t give up. That’s the key. With each dark day, there is something to learn. Even if it’s small, it’s still a step towards a brighter day ahead. You had me cracking up with your statement about wanting to self medicate when your kids were teenagers. I only have one teenager, so I can’t imagine dealing with three.

    • April says:

      Teenagers want a mom seriously lock themselves in the bathroom, but you don’t dare because you have to keep one step ahead of them. My youngest was my biggest challenge.

  3. revgerry says:

    Wishing you sunshine. I learned that my symptoms, the sadness and fears, were lying to me. When I was overwhelmed with either one, I looked for reasons in my life. There were no reasons, my neurbiology was whacky that day, and I learned to just treat the symptoms like any other “ouch,” knowing they would heal. My enemies were
    * the voice which said. “it will always be like this, it always was before, I can’t stand this much longer.”
    * the tendency to be addicted to the feeling, in some way it was my friend.
    So happy you have found a good therapist who understands. Yup, wishing you sunshine.

  4. I feel happy to read, that you accept your life, as it is, even you know, something will never change or maybe it will, but this is also okay for you.
    It is tough to go through depressions, but if we can see the light, it helps a lot.
    Irene

    • April says:

      What’s that saying? That which does not kill us makes us stronger? I’m thinking I can hang in there. Maybe keep talking about it to help others, and eventually, there won’t be such a stigma attached to depression, and the treatments will be even better. Now I just have to tackle that fear of the inevitable–but I know I will come back out on the other side.

      • Good to know, that you mind in this way April.

        When we help others, we do also help ourselves with our depressions. I like you try to avoid all the stigma about depression, it is very important to tell, that all can have a depression, and some people get several of them. Other needs medication for life to live.
        But all will have good times too.
        Irene

        • April says:

          Exactly. There are many people who suffer in silence. Regular people who go about life like anybody else. I’m one of those….or I was until my sister died. Slowly, I’m coming back to regular life. I just have to accept that is may not be exactly as if I want (because of the medication), but the alternative is not an option any more.

  5. Tracy says:

    While I don’t suffer from depression, I am a recovering alcoholic and do have anxiety (which was why i drank in the first place). So much of what you describe is like what’s in my head when I’m not working on my sobriety and serenity…but spending too much time in my alcoholic brain. Even after 22 years that yucky thinking is still there. I think there are many parallels between the two. I wish you lived closer! I think we could be good friends! We could tell each other to stop thinking so much and then go on an adventure!!!!

    • April says:

      I have an article rolling around my head about depression and addiction. I just don’t want to post about something I haven’t experienced–even though I used alcohol to make it through the rest of my day. When I get it all sorted, in my mind I will post.

      I have met a lot of great people on WordPress. Makes me want to travel the world and meet everybody in person.

      This Spring? I’m pushing my limits, and I’m going on a zip line tour. It’s something that was on my sister’s bucket list. She always wanted to visit me here in Georgia, so that’s where I’m going to do it. If you want to take a vacation, I would be happy for the support! 🙂

      • Tracy says:

        I know, me too! It’s a pretty amazing place here at WordPress! You go girl!!! Zip lining! I admire you!!! And a great way to honor your sister! I’ll let you know if I’m up for that kind of adventure!!!!

        I believe there is a connection. Alcohol is used to dull and numb many feelings and conditions. It can often lead to depression too. They often go hand in hand. For me it was the crippling anxiety. But of course the drinking only made it worse… I just didn’t want to admit that back then. I still struggle with it…and menopause has increased it tenfold:-)

        • April says:

          Ugh! Menopause. I haven’t had too many of the symptoms except insomnia, and I guess depression can go along with it. I understand the anxiety. In fact, I think my doctors kept diagnosing me as depressed, when it was really my frustration over anxiety. That quack psychologist told me I was a manic depressive, which I guess is Bipolar I–which my new psychologist suggested I have, but seriously, I don’t fit the description. If I hadn’t been on anti-depressants all those years, I don’t know what I would have done. Even though I experience episodes of depression, the main symptom I have to deal with is anxiety.

          So….I’m hoping I have the strength to do the zip lining. I will keep telling myself that if my sister could do it, then so can I. I’ll post pictures 😉

          • Tracy says:

            Anxiety is tough. I had a great therapist who really helped me with it. I also try to meditate! Ha…I try but my mind is always on overdrive! I’m lucky if its quiet for a few minutes.
            You can do it April!!!! I know you can! And once you do it…you will feel so exhilarated and proud of yourself that you’ll probably want to try sky diving next!
            I’ve gained 1000 ponds during menopause, anxiety, insomnia, wicked mood swings, and higher cholesterol! I just love menopause!!!!!

            • April says:

              I’m not sure what is worse, anxiety or depression. I do have a wonderful therapist who has helped me conquer a lot of the silly (I call them silly) anxieties. I know I can do it, I won’t know unless I try.

              • Tracy says:

                Exactly! So you at least have to try:-)
                I think they are both difficult… I have friends who suffer from depression… And it’s so hard seeing them suffer. I also have friends who have paralyzing bouts of anxiety. I’m glad you also have a good therapist! They can be hard to find!!

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