Monday, March 16, 2009

Depression Update

For many months (years?), if you, dear reader, were to stop by my blog, you would find --at least weekly --stories of my struggle with depression. You would have read how I conquered Post-partum Depression in 2007 through exercise, diet, and vitamin supplements. You would have read how in 2008, the depression came back with a vengeance, and I realized it was not post-partum. You would have read, back in November, how I finally decided to do something about it, and how in December I had some amazing eye-opening experiences. I still, every once in a while, write about my therapy. But not much. In fact, these last few months have seen a severe lack of Depression posts --something I've really liked, actually.
Many of my readers (maybe you, too?) have told me time and again how much they appreciate my honesty when it came to depression and how it helped them to finally admit they were having problems themselves. I also think it helped them (you?) to see that it's more wide-spread and they (you?) were not alone. I like this! But at the same time, I felt like my depression was starting to define me and my life, and I'll be darned if I'm going to let that happen. I am more than my Depression. I am more than sadness and pain, and I refuse (refused?) to live that way and allow my "Debbie Downer" posts (and mentality? Emotions? Apathy? Expectations?) keep me from being happy.
But things have changed a bit. So, here's an update on my Depression:
1. I'm not sure if it's gone completely, but for some reason, the pregnancy has rid me of all the depression symptoms!
2. I have decided, along with my therapist and doctor, to take hormonal BC after this baby is born to see if it's simply the hormonal levels (estrogen and progesterone and all that hormonal stuff). Along with it, I'll do the exercising/diet/vitamins --just to be safe.
3. Therapy, mixed with these pregnancy hormones, has cleared my mind and taught me more about myself and the way I think/react/feel in the last two months than in the last two years (10 years?).
4. I told my mom on the phone that I could tell I was better (100% better) because I have been able to do something these last few months I haven't been able to do for years: I can actually finish things I start. I don't begin my day with a list and a desire and then give up before I'm even a 1/4 of the way through it, only to mope for the rest of the day (or wallow, or pity myself --pick your poison). Last Friday, I started the day knowing we needed to get the entire house clean (bathrooms, basement, bedrooms, kitchen, laundry, etc.).
And I did it.
I knew the kids needed to help me, and I should teach them how.
And I did.
On Saturday, I started the day with the resolve to have the family help me clean the yard (weeding, pruning, gathering garbage, sweeping, cleaning, etc.).
And we did it!
I can't tell you how great it felt to be in control of my actions. It was a huge plus to also realize my apathy was gone.
5. I still have down days --even while pregnant I can feel my monthly cycles affecting me (why is it that I still have PMS even with no M? Huh? Not fair!). But instead of putting me out for 2 weeks out of 4, it's lasting about 2 days, tops. The best part is that I allow myself to take these days "off" without feeling guilty or panicked (or wallowing, or pitying, or moping), which has given me permission to relax when needed. What a blessing!

These changes and improvements are wonderful for several reasons:
1. We're getting into a groove that has created familial happiness. I can't believe how true the adage is: When Mama Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy! I'm tellin' you, dear reader --it's true. Absolutely true. My family is HAPPY. And I know it has a lot to do with me! That kind of power is amazingly humbling --and as Brandon said, "comes with great responsibility" (name that movie!). Which, ironically, is exactly what the Prophets have been telling mothers for quite a while, you know...
2. Our house is clean!
3. I'm teaching the children more and more responsibility, whereas before I would let them get away with stuff (I was too tired to deal with it). This is good because Brandon starts school in a month and our lives are going to be upside down for a few years. If I can be on top of stuff and get the kids involved now --before it becomes hard --then we will be good to go.
4. It's just awesome!

So, there you go! My depression, I'm sure, is not gone forever, but I'm not afraid to fight it anymore. Neither will I let it get as bad as it did. I can't! I won't! Because now I know the other side, dear reader, and the contrast is unbelievable.
**By the way, I'm 20 weeks along in the pregnancy, dear reader. My ultrasound is this afternoon! Hopefully the little cutie won't be prudish so we can find out what we're having. I'll be sure to let you know!

**One more post I wish I would have written. Read it here.


Anonymous said...

It's always a nice bonus when the hormones use their powers for good instead of evil.

I'll be eagerly awaiting the ultrasound results! Good luck!

Julie P said...

So excited to hear the u/s results!

Cardalls said...

That movie would be Spiderman with Tobey McGuire. I am so glad things are so much better around your house!

Annette Lyon said...

Way to go!

Amanda D said...

I'm so glad to hear such a happy update! Now, I can't wait to hear the results of the ultrasound. I'm guessing it's another boy!

Cristy said...

You go girl! And by the way people, she looks so good and cute pregnant! Seriously glowing.

Grandma Rozla said...

Cheryl, I'm so glad to hear that you are feeling better - mentally and physically. I've been praying for you! You are awesome and an inspiration to so many! Good luck with the ultrasound. Hugs to you from me

Julie said...


Be sure to update us on your ultrasound! I'm happy for your happiness!

Love love you!!

Susan M said...

The pill has always really helped me with my PMS. Also eating regularly. If I didn't eat right I was a basketcase.

Can't wait to hear about the US!

Summer said...

I'm so glad things are going well for you right now. It's so refreshing get a break from the mental crud once in a while