Thursday, January 16, 2014

AM~Erica is Better

So anyway...

The last few days have been difficult in my depression struggle. (reminder case you want/need to read it)

Though I don't get the onsets very often, it's hard when it does hit. And I've had it last for weeks, but usually maybe a day or two.

After this 3-day span, I can finally say that I feel better. Started getting a few upswings yesterday...and I think it finally took hold. YEA!

I find that when I blog about my current or former struggles, it's actually very therapeutic. Not only does it record like a journal about my struggle at that point, but also how I feel, etc., and there's a couple of other benefits that go along with it:

1. It lets others who struggle know that they are not alone in their battle. It also allows me to gage if there's something in the air when others step forward saying they've been feeling the same things right at that moment, too. And it helps give them a reciprocal gage on their feelings, too.

B. It keeps this illness in the forefront & allows those who do not have the struggle to know what the rest of us can go thru. It's hard when we hear things from non-sufferers that just say it's in our heads, we just have issues, and what a sin it is...and many other harsh misconceptions. Gosh those are awful...and it continues to tear down those of us who do suffer.

I will tell you some of what has helped me:

Talking about it.
Believe it or not, just stepping out to kick a hole in the stigma has been part of my own personal therapy. I haven't been on meds for a long time. I'm so thankful for that. But I also feel, in my own battle, that I go thru this so infrequently that I really don't need the meds around. They would expire before I might need a third dose.

Helping others thru it.
Bizarrely, I am (usually) still in OK shape to help someone else going thru it at the time, or to just be an ear about their struggle. It's like forming a support system with those who know what you are going thru. It's a strange comfort to know you are not totally insane feeling the way you do.

A solid support system.
When I hit my lows, it is so hard on my family. My kids want me to carry on, but my hubby tries to understand. I do have family who don't suffer but try their best to help me out & try to pick me up. They try to give me my space, but try to involve me. But I realize it can drag them down, too. So, for families who have a loved one who suffers, just please know that (more than likely) you are not cause of an onset...unless you were a real jerk. That can be an onset. But a lot of times, it's underlying triggers that may seem to come out of no where. Please be supportive of them. It's hard enough as it is, but when you start voicing concern that you're the, can it ever drag down the sufferer more. Because they will spiral faster in the vicious cycle of sad thoughts that they have now made you feel bad. Pick a different time to discuss this. Just keep trying to get them to talk, if they want to. Don't push. Just love them. They love you, too...but it's difficult in an episode to appropriately let you know. Sometimes they think they are showing more than they actually are because they have clouded thoughts. Don't take it personally. That's important to help in the upswing moments.

Boy, do I ever pray.
And I attempt to pray a lot. At least how it goes in my comprehension during that time. But I always keep an open line with God. I hate closing any's my own thought that we should be in constant contact with Him. So, when I hit those lows...I try so hard to talk to God about finding that light...finding that wholeness that I lost somewhere. God doesn't leave me. So I pray it leads to guidance and comfort somewhere.

Now then...the support system is the most important for anyone suffering. The others (along with other smaller things like blogging, trying to laugh, and eating chocolate) are part of my own healing each time. Yours might be different, just try to have that support system of trusted family &/or trusted friends.

A friend shared this video. It's an interesting illustration of depression.
Please take the 4+ minutes to watch & help you understand.

I'd like to throw in here that I never look for sympathy when I put out my own struggle. I feel bad when I get sympathy. It's not being a drama queen or whatever. Remember what I said earlier in the post? It's therapeutic & I hope it's helpful information. Not just for me, but truly for others. Because I get such an outpouring of support from closeted, not-as-closeted, and out-in-the-open sufferers. And I mean from all different levels...

And I want to make it clear that this is an invisible illness. You don't necessarily know who suffers & what they've been thru. In the last year & a half, I have had several come to me privately about their struggle. And don't worry, my friends, you & your struggle levels are totally safe with me. I was in that place for so many years. And I pray for the lot of you often.

And, in that sense, I want to thank those of you who have offered up love & prayers for me. The additional support is amazing. That kind of positive energy is unbelievable.

I also want to thank a couple of friends who were frighteningly on with a couple of triggers I think I had this time. Ones that I had no inkling about me going thru until pointed out.

Now then...I'm not an illness hypochondriac. Just because someone brings it up doesn't mean I automatically have it. But it does peak interest.

And, just for my sake of journaling, and after talking to the greatest of my support system, my hubby, I think there was a combo of triggers that seemed to come out of nowhere, but were actually underlying.

It is not my place to put out there what happened to a particular family, but my hubby had to deal with a ministry situation that was very difficult. I had some ties to a situation like it, and I was discussing my experience with my hubby so he knew what he'd be heading into a little bit more. It involved some grieving. (For those who know of the situation, please respect the family by not discussing the situation. Thank you.) As it appeared, bringing up those memories again may have been part of the trigger. A dear friend, privately, brought up the possibility of this being a trigger...and I was blown away. I never even thought about it because my experience happened so long ago. My hubby wondered if it was a possible trigger, too. Wow.

Also, there was another dear friend who brought up the idea that it could be seasonal blues (aka - SAD). That threw me off since I've never been one to experience it. I know others who have, but this has never been one of my triggers. However, with freshly getting back into a regular routine, the hustle & bustle of the holidays had faded, and the twinkles go's almost like a let down, just being left with the cold & gray of winter with lifeless trees & brown grass. The color is gone...and it can zap you. Believe it or not, my hubby wondered if that was another facet of my underlying trigger.

Have I mentioned talking it out actually helps? It does. It can be weird if you're not used to it, but it does help. I hope it has helped any of you who have turned to me to feel a little better, at the very least.

Now then...deep down, I still have a feeling of wandering. I think I'm headed somewhere in my own journey. I feel led somewhere...but I don't where that is yet. I've had lots of interesting signs of things & just trying to piece it together.

And, for anyone who has these feelings of self-doubt, emptiness, sadness, my friend, Katy, says, "Feel all the feelings." If you need to just let someone know you are in that place, please track me down. If you haven't been diagnosed with depression, but think you might need to be...please go see a professional. Please. To help you get back on the right track for you.

Whew! It feels good to be back. It feels good to laugh. It feels good to...well...feel good.

And I hope this continues to give insight on what a struggle looks like & what you can do to help.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

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