Depression is a Downer

I am going to tackle a subject that should not be hidden or dismissed. Depression. One of the many mental illnesses that affect more people than we know. It has affected me.

I have been struggling with depression for more than 35 years. Probably since my mid twenties. At the time, I didn’t realize what it was.

My ex-husband is a narcissist. His parents had him on a pedestal which he loved. He expected the same treatment from me. I was an introvert and had no self confidence. He used that. He tried to control and manipulate everything I did. Everything I touched, he would take and “make it better”. It got to the point where I didn’t try anymore. When it was for myself, I would hide it and not show him. There were times I cried myself to sleep.

As heĀ  climbed the ladder of success, things at home got worse. I was never given any credit for anything I did. Nothing I did was ever good enough. He always changed whatever I touched. It was especially horrible with our children which I always tried to hide from them. He was a good father when the children were young but once they started gaining independence, he changed.

I was threatened so many times to behave or he would take me to court and “clean my clock” or leave me with nothing. I was so intimidated and felt so worthless. So many nights, I would feel myself being sucked into a deep, black hole. There were nights I wished I could die. But, not once, did I think of ending my life. That was not up to me. That was for God and I would not go there.

It was during my children’s teenage years where I went to my family doctor to ask for help. I was told I had depression. My family doctor prescribed an antidepressant. There was one psychiatrist for our city (population size 600,000) in Canada. I would not be able to get an appointment with the psychiatrist for at least one year. Did I want to wait or just start on the antidepressant the doctor could prescribed. I went with what my family doctor recommended.

I finally found the courage when we moved to the States to leave my ex. I truly struggled with the decision. Every time the ex went on a business trip, I could breathe. The day before his expected return, I would start to have the shakes and I would cry. The straw that broke the camel’s back was an order that I was given before our son’s wedding. I couldn’t live like this anymore. I was seeing a therapist who gave me coping skills. But it wasn’t enough.

With the diagnosis of cancer, I was able to see a psychiatrist who has prescribed the proper antidepressant for me. The antidepressant has helped. However, when my oncologist started me on the estrogen suppressing medications, I am not certain if it was both the Anastrazole and the Letrozole or just one of them that put me into such a deep depression that I could not stop crying. Every night I would be sobbing. Such a deep, black hole that I was being sucked into. I couldn’t control it. I couldn’t stop it. I felt helpless. This wasn’t me.

There was never a day I couldn’t get out of bed. I could still perform everything I needed to do for the day. Seeing my horse was the best thing I could do for myself. However, the relationship with my husband was unraveling for me. I felt stupid, ugly, fat and undeserving of such a handsome man. I was falling apart. I was praying every day to God for relief. I wondered why this was happening. Was I seeing things that just weren’t there? I prayed and prayed.

One day, I started an argument with my sweet, wonderful husband. It just erupted out of me. I didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t know why I was doing it. I went upstairs to sob. I hurt and that black hole was sucking me in. I sobbed so hard and prayed. Slowly, I composed myself.

I sat up. It was like a switch had been flicked off. The black hole disappeared. I could breathe. Quite literally, the sun came out. If you have never gone through something like this, it is difficult to explain. It is a feeling of calm that comes over you. The tears are gone and I could breathe.

I know when I walked back downstairs and gave my husband a loving kiss, his eyes were pretty wide. He must have wondered, what the heck? I sat down beside him, took up my knitting and watched the television with him.

The next day was normal and I thought, I want to feel like this every day. How can I have this happen every day? I want to feel normal. God did hear my prayers. For over one month, I was being dragged by depression into the black hole. God pulled me out so I could see the sunlight.

Depression is a horrible illness. Trying to cope with it without medication or seeing a therapist is impossible. I believe in God but I know I need the medication as well. Just like a diabetic, they put their faith in God, but they need their medication to live. Hiding your depression is not healthy. Getting help for it and understanding that you need coping skills is vital.

Depression would not ever lead me to suicide. It has for others. I can understand it. But I would never do it. I have too much to live for. My husband. My children and grandchildren. My dear, sweet friends. My pets. And God. People with depression need understanding and compassion. That is all anyone could ask.

Where is God in all of this – My Cancer Journey

I wonder about me, at times. Well, maybe all the time. I wonder about my faith. I wonder about me being a good person. I wonder where is God in all of this.

I pray but not every day. When I do pray, it is for everyone around me. I don’t pray for me. Even though I am now facing cancer, I still don’t pray for Jesus to cure me from this cancer. But I do pray that Jesus stays with me through all of this because I know I can’t do it without Him.

I seriously don’t think I have the right to ask Jesus to heal my cancer. I don’t think I have the right to ask that because I know God has a plan for me and do I have the right to alter that plan, whatever it may be? I don’t know. I struggle with this.

I pray for my friend who has just discovered she has multiple sclerosis. I pray that God is with her and helps her. I pray for my children and that God keeps them all healthy and safe. I am proud of all my children. They fill my heart with love. I pray that God keeps Bill safe and heals him. Bill has issues and he cannot handle them on his own. I did not think I could love a man as much as I love Bill.

I pray for all those who are hurting and sick. I pray for victims of disasters and storms. I pray for this world. I can’t believe how horrible we humans are to each other and animals. But when something evil happens, there are kind people who do not think of themselves and step out to help others. I am encouraged when I hear and see those reports.

My praying is sporadic. Not consistent. Not every day. Then I wonder if God hears me when I do pray. Some times it feels like He doesn’t. Although many people say that He doesn’t answer right away. His timing is perfect. Does it say that in the Bible? Where does it say that? I really struggle with that because there are times I have thought that God hates me. Why do I feel that? I don’t know. I really don’t know.

Emotional. That is what I am. I go from being certain that I will beat this cancer and everything will be fine. Then the roller coaster of emotions takes me to the very bottom where I hear the whisper of I may die from this. I let myself ride the roller coaster because, at times, it is just so draining to fight it all the time.

I do feel blessed. I have so many friends that are praying for me and thinking of me. I cry when I think about all the people I love. I feel I don’t deserve it. I look at Bill and wonder how he could love me. But I know God is with me because every once in a while I will feel His hand on my shoulder. I feel that He is there and this fills me with determination. Whatever I have to face, I know I won’t be alone. Yes, I have my husband, children and friends who are with me. But in the deepest darkest moments, God is with me.