Wednesday, April 20, 2011

PYHO: DEPRESSION: WHEN IT HAPPENS TO SOMEONE YOU LOVE . . .



I'm pretty sure I've never talked about this on here before.  For a long time, I never talked to anyone about it.  It was too heartbreaking.  And scary.  But recently, someone I care very much about has been having the same type of problems, and it's brought all of the memories flooding back. 

In September of 1998, I lost the best friend I've ever had.  My Grandma.  She meant the world to me.  And then suddenly she was gone.  And I was lost.  Then, the next month, after trying for almost a year, we found out I was pregnant with Jason.  Then, the NEXT month, my husband started experiencing SEVERE depression.  A lot of things happened all at once, and I think it just HIT him, pretty hard.  And he kept spiraling out of control, and there was nothing I could do to help him.  I was working full-time in customer service.  And I went from answering almost 400 calls a day, to being lucky to answer 100.  Because I was on the phone with him.  All day.  Every day.  He was crying all of the time.  I was crying all of the time because I didn't know how to help him.

I have a degree in Psychology.  I'm supposed to KNOW, at least a little bit, what I should be doing for him.  But I didn't.  I was clueless.  And he didn't want anyone to know what was going on.  So for awhile, it was just him and I trying to fight this battle alone.  Finally, after a few weeks he decided that we needed to tell my parents, because *I* needed someone that I could go to.  So we told them.  And as usual, they were very supportive.  Of both of us.  The day I married Ryan, he became a part of their family.  No questions asked.  I'm sure they thought we weren't "right" for each other.  Every parent questions the person their child is going to marry, right?  But they knew I loved him, and that was all that mattered to them.  So he became their other son.  And they were SO great.  Not only were they worried about me, but they worried about him too.  I'm not sure I ever thanked them for that.  So just in case I didn't, thanks Mom and Dad.  You helped me more than you'll ever know.

He finally started meeting with a Psychiatrist, to put him on medicine, and a Psychologist to talk to her about his feelings.  And let me be clear, in my opinion, one does not work, without the other.  IF you have severe enough depression, you NEED medicine.  But you also need the counseling.  (Even if you think you're a "big tough man" that doesn't need to talk about your "feelings", YOU'RE WRONG!!!  It's your feelings that got you here in the first place).  He started "intense" group therapy that he went to every day for about 4 hours a day.  He continued meeting with the counselor, I met with the counselor, and he continued meeting with the Psychiatrist until they found the right combination of medicine to help him through it.  This process was still going on even after Jason was born.  There is no "quick fix."  (There was a lot more than that, but this post isn't really about the "act" of the depression, it's about what it's like for the other person).  

We had a really tough few months.  Months where I wondered if he was going to get out of bed the next day.  Months where I wondered if *I* was going to get out of bed the next day, because I was so drained.  And so exhausted.  And I went through all of the emotions.  For a long time, I was so ANGRY with him.  Here I was, pregnant with our first child.  This was supposed to be such a happy time.  And I couldn't really focus on it, because I was so worried about him.  How could he be so selfish?!  (I never said I was thinking rationally.  I WAS pregnant after all)!  And I was sad.  And I cried a lot.


I don't know what he went through.  And honestly, I don't WANT to know what he went through.  But he doesn't know what I went through either.  I know it's harder being on his end, but it's not easy being on my end.  I saw the person I love turning into someone I'd never seen before.  He's always been more of a "glass half empty" person than me, but this was more than that.  This was the glass is empty and I can never fill it again!  And I was useless.  I couldn't "fix" it.  And I should have been able to.  Why couldn't I fix it?  Why wasn't I smart enough and aware enough to see it coming?  He cried all the time.  I cried all the time.  I honestly didn't know how to help him.  I TRIED being supportive.  But then I just got frustrated.  I kept thinking, why can't he see the GOOD things?  Why does he have to keep focusing on the negative?

I am 40 years old.  And to this day, that experience is the hardest thing I've ever gone through in my life.  He talks every once in awhile about going off the medicine because he thinks he's better now.  And he may be.  But honestly?  I'm not willing to take that chance.  I can't, and I WON'T go through that again.  We KNOW what it's like.  And we know that him being on the medicine keeps it from happening.  So why tempt fate?  Why mess with a good thing?  I won't do it.  We have 3 kids now.  Three kids that are amazing and smart and funny and our whole world.  Why mess with that?  I already thought I was going to lose him once.  I'm not going to do it again.

20 comments:

m&msmommy said...

I know how you feel! Seeing someone you love go through something SO hard is awful,and yes, its terrible for them, BUT it's also awful for you to be on the other side. I wish more people understood that part about depression/anxiety/etc. it not only affects the person but also those that really love the person!

Came to your blog from PYHO. Thank you for sharing this! :)

Shell said...

What a hard time that must have been for you both.

Amy said...

You're right to keep Jason on his medicine.

I had a brilliant, bright, funny, beautiful daughter. She's bi-polar with personality order non-specified. On medication, she is a wonderful person to be around. Of medications, she likes to self medicate. With illegal drugs. And over time, the drugs and the disease have killed off my loving, funny, smart child.

I'm glad y'all survived and came out on the other side. It's a hard road to walk.

Kimberly said...

I can't imagine what either one of you went through, but standing by each other during the hard times is amazingly admirable.

Coming by from PYHO and glad I did!

MamaRobinJ said...

Coming by from PYHO to say that it's good to read this. I'm currently in his position, and my husband is in yours. It's so tough, and I worry about him. I'm getting help but it's been a really long road and it's not over yet.

A friend of mine commented today that caregivers go through the same cycle as the person being cared for - sometimes it's okay and sometimes you have nothing left to give.

Thank you for sharing this perspective.

Adrienne said...

That sounds like a tough time for you. Hopefully, he's feeling better these days! And how nice to have supportive parents. Stopped a little late by from PYHO.

Renee said...

When you love someone so much, it's heartbreaking to watch them hurt. I always feel like I can make it better. Oftentimes, it feels like a personal failure when I can't.

My husband is just now starting treatment for bi-polar. We have been on one heck of a roller coaster ride for years now. I'm glad he's getting help, but I know the real work is just beginning.

Thanks for sharing your story. I'm glad I found you as us caregivers need support and comfort too!

As hard as it is, your strength will get you through!

The Jammie Girl said...

Kudos to you for being such a strong woman. No, it's not fair you had to do that while you were pregnant, but now you know you can get through pretty much ANYTHING, and I know from personal experience "That which does not kill us makes up stronger.". Thanks for sharing.

Handy Man, Crafty Woman said...

Thanks for sharing this story. People need to read this; it's so hard for the spouse of a depressed person.

Stephanie in Suburbia said...

I hope this doesn't sound trite, but he is lucky to have you. I can not imagine going through this, PERIOD, but when you are pregnant and starting a family, that must have been just so overwhelming. And leave some residual fear for everyone. But clearly, you are an amazing force and presence and he's just really lucky to have your support.

Branson said...

Depression is definitely hard on both partners. Thanks for sharing your story!

Morgana said...

once again, my eyes have been opened to how my husband must be feeling right now- my depression keeps creeping back in. I'll have to do something about it- for him.

Jessica said...

I went through this with my husband too and I completely know how draining it is on you. I can relate to every word of this post. Every word. Don't think that what you've been through is any less important, or exhausting.

Diane @ OhDiane said...

It's really hard to see someone you love go through this. No matter what he thinks, you should keep him on the medication if that what the doctors recommend.

Making It Work Mom said...

Wow! What a tough time for you.

I agree- there is no reason to take any chances. stay on the meds.

#commenthour

Terri said...

Wow... brought tears to my eyes. I've been in your position... it's tough. And before we came out on the other side, I found myself struggling with depression as well. But, my husband and I held up... and we hold each other up. I wish you the best of luck.

Celia said...

thanks for posting. speaking as the one who was once depressed, having someone there to support you means the world!

in my case, i hate medication and it turns me into a zombie so i gradually took myself off. i was/am lucky to be able to try keep my mind away from anything which puts me in that stage. i still have medication to take as needed if i/my (now) fiance feels i need them. maybe this is something your husband can try?

regardless i am so happy that you have your darling back, and three kiddos to keep your house full of fun! :)

Mama Spaghetti said...

That sounds amazingly difficult. You must be a very strong person to get through something like that, and I can only imagine how much stronger your relationship is after having weathered something like that.

Mimzy Wimzy said...

Coming from a family where for the most part all the female members on my moms side of the family have suffered from depression at some point in their lives, I can relate. I have a bi-polar daughter. She turned 18, moved out, stopped taking meds (used illegal drugs). She is currently pregnant and we will have to consider having Children and Youth look into having her baby taken away from her when it is born.
Wanting your Husband to stay on his meds is a wise choice. Without them, he wont be who he is now.
#CommentHour

Jocelyn said...

Thanks so much for sharing your story. I'm hoping things take a turn for the better soon.

Stopping by late from #commenthour