Monday, July 4, 2016

Depression - Down But Not Out

I think my depression really took hold when I started having miscarriages, a stillborn child and then pumped full of hormones during a couple of failed IVF rounds. Somewhere in there I had a beautiful baby girl but found it almost impossible to bond, probably from fear of losing her. I should have been over the moon but felt like I was at the edge of sanity. I was exhausted and sad but battled on anyway. My baby girl suffered from colic and cried almost every waking moment, she slept only a few hours at a time and was a fussy babe. I tried to be the best mum I could be but what I should have done was allow someone to come in and help me. My husband was, and is, clueless. He offers what he thinks is great advice, it really isn't, but I don't like to hurt his feelings about his rudimentary advice or get into a fight over what I'm feeling; so we avoid the subject.

It seems depression is genetic in my family. My mother, grandmother and two aunties suffer(ed) from depression - one of whom was sectioned under the Mental Health Act, she eventually got out once they got her on the right medication and she stopped ranting and clawing at people. Meanwhile, she lost her kids and one even changed his surname when he got older. My own mother has been on anti-depressants for as long as I can remember - at least 40 years. It was in later years that I started to realise the effects of those anti-depressants on us, her family. My mother became distant and less empathetic especially with her kids. It was as if she felt neither sad nor happy. She often became nervous, anxious and then a full-blown agoraphobic. My siblings and I suffer from the 'loss' of our mother who seems to live on another planet and only orbit ours. 

When my daughter was a year old I took her to the UK for three weeks to visit her grandma (my mother) but during our time there we saw grandma once, even though she lived 10 minutes away. I tried to arrange meetings, visits, lunch, etc. At one stage for four days in a row she didn't answer the telephone and the rest of the time made up excuses that she was busy, tired or sick. And it is a sickness, it's just so very hard to deal with.  I know she loves us but she just can't be 'there' for us. I believe the medications have taken her. I can not blame, I just feel bereavement.

Many years ago I remember feeling incredibly sad and calling my mum to chat and discuss how down and depressed I felt and she almost seemed pleased, smug and relieved. She said, "yes, well you would it runs in the family." It was at that point I decided that I would not be going on any medication because it really didn't seem to help my mother or her relationships with her loved ones. I decided to ride the highs and the lows. The highs are great, the lows are painful and lonely. I say lonely because it is very hard to talk to anyone about my bouts of depression. I'm thought of as being very together, witty, smart, capable, fun; so how could I admit to anyone of having moments of such choking darkness that at times it is hard to breathe or think. I should tell everyone because I really do feel it's more common than we imagine it's just the social stigma attached to depression and mental illness that is so ignorant and unrelenting. I refuse to pretend any longer. I'm not going to drown my friends with my woes but I will let them know that I suffer and if by being more open it helps others to feel less isolated; then that's great.

I have come to terms with my mother's illness and admire her strength and courage to battle on. Having lived it I understand it.

Many ladies have asked about LWDLIK group meetings but I was loathed to start a ladies group where women are lording their first class travel and handbags over each other. But the thought of starting a help group for women going through depression and seeking help really appeals to me and I know if I can help others it will help me through my own dark spells.

So here goes I've started with a Facebook page: Depression - Down but not out
Feel free to pop by and share.


  1. Girl, I had no idea. Depression runs in my family too - mostly on the Finnish side. My great aunt was in her 30's way back when the medical solution to depression (or "women's hysteria") was a lobotomy. She had one and spent the rest of her days (into her 80's) in a government-run institution. Things have improved, but there is still negative connotations with depression.

    I was on anti-depressants for a year and a half after 2 tragedies struck me back-to-back (the murder of the love of my life followed by the suicide of a dear friend within months of each other). It sent me into a tailspin I couldn't get out of. Everything was dark. There was no joy in my life. For months, I would cry even just leaving the house. A doctor prescribed antidepressants. My own sister told me that I was stupid for buying into the idea that medication could get me through depression; in other words - suck it up and stay tough. It's easy for others to say that, but they're not going through what you are. I believe that the antidepressants got me through that horrible time. They stabilized whatever it was so that I could cope.

    I think a lot of people have gone through bad depression and even the closest people around them don't know how to recognize it or how to deal with it.

    I'm a crappy friend for not going to coffee with you, by the way. That's all part of support - just the reaching out and touching other people's lives in a positive way. I'm not into the "look at my bag/shoes/car" BS either. If you can't be real, you're not worthy. :) You, my dear, are real.

    Thanks for sharing your story. WE love you!

    1. Love you too. It is so weird, and then not, that we hardly know each other but derive such pleasure and support from our messages. Kindred spirits. I am grateful for your empathy and kind words. We will get around to that coffee one of these days xx

    2. You are a star. I'm sorry you had to go through all that:O( I believe it does make you stronger. Anti-depressants are an absolute must in most cases and doctors will prescribe them readily. But what if we could all be more honest rather than pretending they've never been there. Since being more open I've come across other sufferers and it's good to be able to talk freely.

    3. Eeeek! Lobotomy. Holy crappola, we really have come a long way.


Always great to hear from you :O)