Friday, November 03, 2006

From Darkness to Light

My first bout with depression was during my senior year of high school. I was in a zone/funk/episode of life that was really all-encompassing. I was trying to figure out my next step in life; where to go to college, what to study, who to be. I was so low and so down, I knew I was officially depressed. I was busy and I didn't have time to do anything about it, but just wait it out.

I finally broke out of it when I attended the All-State Chorus. I auditioned for a solo and did not do my best. I was used to being overprepared and nailing auditions all throughout high school, and I was just off, for this audition. The choral director who was leading the Honors All-State Chorus just looked at me and said: "You can do this." And so I did. And she gave me the solo, even though others sang it right-on the first time.

The rest of the weekend she paid me special attention and really brought me out of the depths of despair, right back onto the path that I needed to be on. I consider my experience with her a defining moment, and she probably doesn't even know how she affected me. I thanked her in the acknowledgements of my album, for those 2 days of inspiration. Thank you Sandra Snow.

My second bout with depression happened this past summer. I got home from California and I never recovered. I blamed it on jet lag for a few weeks, but my sleeping became increasingly off, I never felt rested, I was agitated and anxious all the time. I blamed everything on my kids. I could barely function. My worst point was around the beginning of September and I just stood and sobbed for no lucid reason. My husband was patient but did not quite know what to do with me. I was desperately trying to figure out what was wrong. In theory there was nothing for me to be sad/agitated/upset/tired about...I could see quite clearly that I had a blessed life, beautiful family, amazing opportunities, but the reality was just not paralleling that.

I reached out to a friend. The email went like this: I think I'm depressed, how can I know for sure? She sent me a link to a test on the web. The scoring went somethingn like this: 0-10 sad, 11-25 sorta sad......54-over SEVERELY DEPRESSED. I scored a 62. When she heard that, we made a phone appt. (b/c she lives out of state). She talked me through it and made things a lot clearer for me. After that phone call, my good days started outnumbering my bad ones. I started to find genuine joy in my life again.

For a while there I was blaming a lot on my two challenging children. I was only seeing them 1-dimensionally: Kids with Needs that I cannot fulfill. Now the light is shining again, the merkiness is clearing, and I can see them in all their dimensional glory: 32 flavors, and then some. The other day I found myself saying their names over and over again in my head, and quipping about what great names those are, and what great girls they are to go with those names. I am so glad to be back and fully present with them again, and I am so grateful that they loved me all the while.


wendysue said...

I think phone calls can do a lot. I had a particular friend dealing with depression/anxiety, and we set up a calling system. One friend would call in the morning, one in the afternoon and me at night. It let her know that we cared and kept her talking about it and working it out (as well as some good meds that were working) I'm glad your in the light again.

Rachel H said...

You are blessed to have been able to get out of your depression so easily. I experienced something like that after my hubby finished his schooling and we had moved to a beautiful new house in Virginia, and had virtually the perfect life going. A sweet little girl and everything! She was about 1 when it hit me, and I became quite seriously depressed. After some amazing counselling, and a low dose of zoloft, I came out of it amazingly.

I learned, while I was on the medication, that my emotions are many times completely unrelated to my real life, and that knowlegde became very powerful. Now I know that when I am starting to feel those emotions come over me, I know that they are JUST emotions, and that my life is still the beautiful thing that is always is, and I am able to keep myself from spiraling down the drain, as I used to. I actually ditsract myslef from dwelling on the feelings, and then they pass a lot faster. Staying busy helps too.