Coming out of the darkness — a very personal post

Wow, isn’t that a leading title!  And yet that’s where I find myself at right now.   See that beam of light at the end of the tunnel?  I think, possibly, maybe I’ve reached it!

So, what’s this blog post about?  It’s about depression, recognizing it, admitting it, and working to get beyond it.  If you aren’t ready to think about that, feel free to leave this post now and come back for a later post that is much lighter in topic; but this is something I feel compelled to share.  Perhaps my sharing will help someone else on their journey.

Sometimes our  biggest battles are not the ones we face publicly, but rather the internal ones.   The small, little, consistent, draining, overwhelming sensations that start out just  a day or two here and there and then, like the snowball rolling downhill, build and build and build, until it’s impossible to make a decision without agonizing over it and everyday starts to look the same with no highlights, just a continual grey.

The title of my blog has always been Sodypop’s Creative Journey.  Yes, JOURNEY, over the years those of you who have followed this blog have known almost everything that goes on in my world as I believe everything in our world contributes (or detracts from) our creativity.  And you will have noticed I’ve been more MIA than present for a long while.  While I’d like to say that I’ve been busy leading this wonderful, creative, full life; I would be lying to you.  And one thing I won’t do is lie about my journey.  It ain’t all sunshine and roses, but it is all part of who I am.

All my life, I have battled depression, it runs in the family and I’ve watched it firsthand with others.  So you would think I’d recognize it in it’s earliest forms.   Most of my life I have been able to recognize it, and through sheer bull-headed determination have battled through (or appeared to).  There have been periods without it, and there have been periods where every day I have had to forcefully choose to look at the bright side of things.

Over the last 10 years the battle has gotten harder and harder to fight.  Back in 2003, after my dad passed on, I crashed emotionally.  I still remember a cousin of mine coming up to me at dad’s funeral and commenting on how strong I was, little did he know, I was running on pure total drain.  I wasn’t strong, I was unable to feel and that side of me that is logical took over and controlled “normal” actions while my emotions shut down.

Soon after I got back home I had a Dr’s visit for a post cancer checkup for myself; and my Dr. recognized my depression.  Which I was in total denial about at the time.  But I knew I wasn’t “feeling” things and when he prescribed an anti-depressant, I took it with the “can’t hurt” mentality.

Well, it almost did hurt!  I don’t handle meds well, and within a couple days, while I was sleep driving (that’s what I call it); I ran a red light I never saw and almost got myself t-boned in the driver’s door.  Thank the heavens for a wonderfully ALERT, reactive driver that I ran in front of who had good brakes!  That was the last of the meds I took and after that, I completely refused to take any at all.   (sheer stubborn-headed determination to beat it myself took over).

And life continued on, with ups and downs, but all the while not really engaging with either people or in life.  There were periods of creativity, followed by extremely dark periods of anxiety and depression.  A few health issues down the road, and physically I “should” have been better; “should” be feeling my best; and yet the dark cloud was there and growing.

Over the last several months, as my cholesterol meds were increased, the clouds grew bigger and stronger and more in control; until just making the decision what to have for a meal required all my effort.  Or what clothes to put on; and heaven forbid if something changed a plan and I had to make an adjustment, I just couldn’t do it.   My poor husband, even just having to decide where to go out to eat was so overwhelming that I’d choose to have a bowl of cereal or not eat instead of choosing a restaurant.

And eventually I started to see just how dark things had gotten in my mind and began looking for a way out.  No, not out of life itself, but out of the darkness.  And I did what I always do, I turned to science to research the what and why.

In my research, I discovered that a decreased seratonin level in the brain can be a contributing factor to depression, and tends to be genetic.  Aha, the light bulb sparked!   Further research led me to discover that my cholesterol meds, the same ones responsible for keeping me heart healthy, can also decrease seratonin levels!   The light bulb started flickering!!!!!

I followed the scientific research a bit further, did some more research with a couple medical conditions I must live with and my depression; and eventually settled on a “safe for me” course of treatment for the depression.  Since I started this course of treatment a couple weeks back, I am returning to the person I once was.

No, that doesn’t mean I don’t have dark days; but it does mean I recognize them and adjust accordingly.  And yes, there is a light at the end of the tunnel!  I am coming out of the darkness, hoping never to return.

Now, I’m NOT going to tell you what my course of treatment is, that is something that you must research for yourself, with your own biology and doctor in mind.  I will tell you I am not on “meds”, but am taking supplements to balance what my body does not naturally produce enough of.

My post is mainly to express that depression should not be a thing we hide from and cover up.  It’s not a “mental weakness” or a “character fault” as some through the years have implied.  It can be simply a chemical imbalance in the body which left untreated compounds like that snowball.

If you recognize yourself in the post above, please, don’t ignore it.  Life can be so fun and full when our bodies are properly balanced.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a lot of things to do that I’ve been letting go for the last several months!