Monday, October 03, 2005

Exposed

I've been in a bad way.
A deep funk.

Most days, I can claw my way out of it and be okay.

For the past 3, it's like I've been clawing with bloody stubs. I've made no progress out of the pit. It's been dark and scary where I've been living.

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This isn't new to me. I know... some of you are shaking your heads, trying to refocus your eyes on what you're reading. "Stacy?? Depressed? No." It's true, though. All my adult life, I've battled this demon called Depression. I've treated it several times... just enough to get over the hump and until I'm on an upward climb again. My Mother lives with it but doesn't treat it. HER Mother treated it off and on; her manic depressiveness caused a great deal of hurt to her children and everyone else around her. I refuse to be like either one of them. I WILL treat mine.

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The problem with me is, it takes me too long to recognize the signs. I'll live with them for a long time, handling them as they come up, expertly hiding the symptoms for months on end. I don't want the world to know. I don't want ME to admit that I'm hurting. There's no REASON I should hurt. There's no reason that this rage should well up in me like it does. There's no reason that it takes every ounce of can-do to drag myself out of bed in the mornings. I have a perfect life. I really do. I feel huge guilt for being depressed. Makes no sense, I know. I. AM. NOT. DEPRESSED.

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And yet, I am.

And that r e a l l y pisses me off.

Last week, I finally broke and decided to do something about it. The first step was admitting the problem. The second step was taking medicine for another problem I've been in denial about. I hoped that the Synthroid, which should regulate my thyroid, would also regulate my seratonin. Who knows, right? It's all hormones. I should mention here that the Thyroid Disease is also a gift from my Mom and Grandma. They both fought with synthetic thyroid all their lives. My Mom still fights it. She's been on the medicine for almost 30 years, and still can't regulate her thyroid. She has Hashimoto's Disease, and the worst case of Grave's Disease that most have ever seen. I wonder. What HAS all this fake thyroid done for her besides give her grief and send her back for blood work every few months? I do not want to start that cycle. And yet, I don't want to be sick, either.

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So I started taking the Synthroid last Tuesday. My last night of normal sleep was Thursday. Since then, I've only had a cumulative 12 hours of sleep. I toss and turn in the dark, making up tunes to the background rythym of the ceiling fan.... counting the headlights that dance across my ceiling from the street below... before finally giving up and coming downstairs. I surf the net, but don't have the mental energy to respond to emails or to post on the message boards I love. So I lie down and watch MTV and VH1, surfing between them to avoid the hip hop crap that makes me so cranky... hoping the music will eventually lull me to sleep.

I wonder if the Synthroid is causing the insomnia. I wonder if the Synthroid has sent my depression spiraling out of control. Or is it the acknowledged FACT of the depression that gave it freedom to expose its ugliness?

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When it gets really bad, I avoid people. I don't answer my phone. I hide from the mailman, just in case he wants to make small talk on the front porch. I don't make eye contact with anyone, especially when they ask, "How are you?"

"I'm okay," I lie.

I pretend to have headaches so I can go to bed.

I get really angry really fast over really stupid things.

I resist hugs, kisses and kindnesses.

Last night, against my will but not having the strength to protest (because they were trying to help), I went out with Cara and Kristi. When the waiters began singing Happy Birthday at the table next to ours, I almost came undone. They were loud and off-key and obnoxious and it went on forEVER. Then the tears welled up in my eyes. TEARS! Over a stupid SONG that a few months ago, I'd have joined IN with.

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Nothing pisses me off more than crying. It's funny, really. I cry really easily over stuff that has nothing to do with me. Movies? Books? Sermons? SONGS? Oh yah. I cry. But when it's personal, I'll sooner turn purple and pass out in my soup before I'll shed a tear. And when I MUST... when the tears can hide no more, I'll only cry in secret. In the shower with the water at full blast... on the street with my legs at a full run... in the car with the radio blaring at full volume. Then I dry it up and return to life. Pissed. I hate to cry.

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Which is why tonight was so very, very strange. I needed to go to Walmart for life's most basic necessities... cat litter and toilet paper, both of which we were completlety out of. Plus, I needed to get the kids out of the house, cause Darren's Monday Night Football/Bible Study group was meeting at our house. It took every last ounce of mental energy in me to find my bra, put it on, gather my checkbook and keys, and get us out the door. As we left, Dale was coming in. "Oh crap," I heard myself say, when I realized I'd have to speak to him. I met his hug from the side, mumbled "I'm okay" when he asked how I was, and made a beeline for the door. I didn't want anyone to see the tears that were already spilling. Mostly, 'cause I wouldn't be able to explain them. I had no idea why they came.

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Twenty minutes later, I was in the cat litter aisle. I just stared at it. My chin was quivering. Dani watched me, then looked at the cat litter, then looked back at me. Poor thing. She had no idea what to do. But she guessed right. She grabbed the cat litter and put it in the cart.

Two aisles over, I grabbed bath soap and dropped it in the cart. Then I looked for toilet paper. Up and down the aisles... and back. Couldn't find it. My cries were audible now... stifled bursts of breath, caught just before they exploded into sobs. And the tears were hot on my cheeks... not just balanced on my lower lids anymore. Now they were freely flowing. The boys watched me, their eyes like saucers. Dani stood a safe distance away, a look of terror and confusion and "What the heck" on her face.

Then the clasp gave way. The little mechanism that keeps the sobs at bay collapsed under the pressure, and there in the middle of Walmart, leaning against a display of Lever 2000 Pure Rain and Aloe Vera, I mumbled, "I can't find the toilet paper," and the sobs erupted. Big, ugly, air-gasping sobs. Tears dripping from my nose sobs. Snot running down my face sobs. It was an ugly cry. The boys, bless their hearts, didn't move a muscle. Shoppers gingerly went about their business around me. Dani came from behind and rested her hand on my shoulder, which made me cry harder. She'd never seen such a thing, and I knew it was probably scaring the living CRAP out of her. Yet, she acted with such grace and maturity, and even in my whacked out state, I was proud of her.

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Within minutes, I was fine. I was able to finish our shopping and was even able to hold a normal conversation with Dani. I thought it was odd, how calm I felt, and how suddenly it had happened. Later, at home, I told the story to Darren. He said quietly, "We were praying for you. At that same time... not long after you left... before we started our Bible Study.... we prayed for you."

At first, I wanted to be offended. Why had he told them? IS nothing sacred?? All of the Monday night shoppers at Walmart had to see me in The Funk, but at least none of them KNEW me. WHY had he shared it with people I love? WHY?

"What'd you pray for?" I asked.

"Actually, I didn't," he answered. "Dale did. I asked if we could pray for you, but Dale did the actual praying. And he just asked for release. That you could be released of whatever's got a hold of you."

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Ah. Release. Yes, that's what it was.
I didn't know it then, but those hot tears and ugly sobs were the release of months and months of bottled up anguish and fear. I felt so calm afterward, because I was FREE of it.

Sweet, sweet release.

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Has this made you uncomfortable? I'm sorry, and yet in a selfish way, I am not.

In my very first blog, I wrote that I wanted you guys to hold me accountable. I was talking about my writing. But now, I'm saying it again. I want you to hold me accountable. I know the name of this demon that plagues me: Depression. And I know the weapons I have at my disposal with which to defeat it. I just have to be willing to go into battle. I need you to remind me to get out there. For I have been called to fight.

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I have no idea who reads this these days. When I started it, it was for a few close friends. Seven days ago, Liz added a counter for me, and as I write this, it's up over 700. Who knows... maybe those 750 are Cara checking and rechecking 100 times a day! But maybe there really are that many of you out there. If you're reading this and don't know me, know that the girl you just got to know isn't the Real Me. And for those of you who know the Real Me and are shocked that you don't see her here... just know this. I'm here. In all my nakedness, with my raw wounds exposed, in a funk even I don't understand... I'm still here. I promise.

10 comments:

Melissa in AUS said...

Dear Stacy,
You wonder if it's Cara checking in 100 times a day? Nope, it's me :) I find your blog (I find that word lacking for what you do here), uplifting, hysterical, thought provoking, emotional, loving, "normal" and comforting. Veronica gave me this link the week after she returned home from her visit with me. I checked in periodically to see what you were up to, then I started getting "addicted" when you went overseas. What you wrote and the way you wrote/write it made me feel like I was actually there and feeling those feelings with you. I loved seeing the photos of the glorious countryside (and you can imagine the look I got when, a short while after, a story came on t.v. about the castle that "belonged" to your family (forgive me my ignorance, I can't remember the name). I recognised the photograph from your blog, and I was trying to explain to my husband "that's Stacy's family's castle, or at least it was blah blah blah"
"yar-huh?" he says "Stacy who?"
"you know," rolling my eyes as if he's a complete imbecile!! "Cowtown Stacy!"
"yeah, right" he say "have you hit the wine early tonight dear?"
"forget it" I say
Back to the point... Ever since becoming addicted, I check in here at least twice daily. You may have written something overnight (my overnight) you may have written something while I was hanging out the washing - you get the idea...Each time I see a new post from you, I almost clap my hands with glee!!

I feel for you with your struggle, my Aunt suffers with Manic Depression, and I hope that you return to your "old self" soon.

On a lighter note, I hope those darling boys of your enjoy their books when they arrive :)

Elaine said...

Hugs, Stacy! I'm sorry you're grappling with this. But at the same time, I'm GLAD you're grappling with this. Because the fact that you're fighting with it means that you're moving forward, instead of continuing to be squashed by it.

Let me know if you need Jerry and me to call and sing badly for you again. We'll be happy to do so. :)

Love you!
Elaine

Rhonda said...

Ah, Stacy. I read your blog often and never comment, but felt compelled today.

I have battled depression, too. It really got me after my second child was born. I look back at pictures I took during that time and there are a LOT of my kids sitting on the couch, watching TV. I could not get myself moving. I spent most days just sitting, getting nothing done. Those were dark days.

{{HUGS}} to you. I wish you well and my prayers are with you through this journey.

Cara said...

I love you Stacy! You are a sweet and precious friend. I am here for you. Just a phone call, e-mail, IM message away. Know that I am praying for you too. Our Lord cares! He wants for you to find His joy again. I know you will. I am ready for days of crying, sitting staring at walls or laughing our heads off. Know that I am here and lifting you up to the Lord. See you tonight!

Nancy D. said...

To sound like a cliche....

The first step is recognizing the problem.....

And you are absolutely correct. Crying is BAD. There shalt not be any crying.

In baseball or otherwise.

Surely it is written somewhere....

Well, now it is.

Here.

Love ya babe!

Veronica in Aus said...

Stacy,
I check in here most days. I don't always comment but I love to read your posts.
This particular post had me crying with you. So much of what you have written sounds exactly like a very dear friend of mine who also suffers from Depression.
I am here for you, like I am here for her. I don't fully understand what you are going through. I do know that it took great bravery to "blog it". One step closer to healing I think.

Weezie said...

Stacy,
Thought I should finally come out of 'lurkdom' and leave a comment. Now I don't feel like I'm snooping and intruding so much! lol
Like I told you yesterday on the phone (sorry again about catching you at a bad time :)...forgot that it was your cell number I had), I also go through periods of depression and it SUCKS!
I was so moved by your words that they brought me to tears and I was literally sobbing sitting here at my computer. I knew I just HAD to call you! I don't get in these moods very often and I am a very positive person, but once they do hit...they HIT!
Please know that you are not alone and anytime you want to call your friend way up here in the "Great White North" of Canada, just pick up the phone and give me a call...and you know I'm a nighthawk, so you don't have to worry about the time! lol

Weezie

Anonymous said...

Stacy,

Ditto to what all the others have said. I too am blessed to come here and read your soul sharing stories. For people like me, sharing your soul with others is very difficult -- if not impossible at times. I'm not sure why talented people like yourself have to suffer so but it seems that it is often true. Maybe it's so they can share more openly about their feelings with others just like you do.

If it helps, please know that I love you and your family as if they were my own. And that's because you share so freely.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do. I have been feeling very guilty because I'm not coming to Texas. I really wish I were coming now so I could hug you in person.

Take care and please call me if I can do anything! I mean it!

Nana T

Martha in CA said...

It took a lot for you to "out" yourself. And that, my dear friend, is HUGE!!

Things can only get better from here, but you've gotta take care of you!! Talk to your doctor. Talk to us. None of us can "fix" anything, but getting stuff out of your head is a great first step.

Love you bunches.

Kelli said...

Stacy,
I just found your blog through Laura's temp board.
I am sitting here reading this particular entry with tears welling up in my eyes. I've noticed you haven't posted very much on ScrapShare and have often wondered about you. I just figured you were busy with your scrapbooking.

I am so very sorry that you are hurting. I do know what it feels like. It sucks. Totally.

Just know that your blog has given me whatever it is I needed tonight. It has touched me in such a way, I don't know what to say.

Hugs to you, Stacy. You will be in my prayers.

Kelli (kellisue)