Sunday, June 2, 2013

What's wrong with me?

I am in the grips of one of the worst depressive episodes since Noo was born. I feel completely without control of my feelings. One minute I feel happy, the next I am bawling my eyes out. I don't understand what I am experiencing. I'm scared and I don't trust myself.

My mood has always been erratic. But not this erratic. Friday morning I woke up feeling fine. I made plans! I had fun things to do... without kids! This should be awesome, no?

I declared it to the world on Facebook and Twitter:

Not long after I posted these messages I was standing in the kitchen about to grab something for breakfast when I felt that horrible feeling stir. It first makes itself known at the pit of my stomach. An icy emptiness gnaws there until it rises up burning its way through my chest making each breath catch in my throat. Then that horrible tingly sensation makes my nostrils smart until finally that wretched feeling reaches the back of my eyes that seem to swell with the sheer pressure of emotion until it must be released in the form of tears and sobs.

I was trying to fight the overwhelming urge to howl when my dad walked in to find me standing there staring at nothing in particular on the ceiling while attempting to catch my breath and will the tears to stop.

"What's wrong darling?" he asked, face filled with concern.

"I don't know, dad. I just fucking don't know."

My dad grabbed me then and held me so tight. I was able to cry into his towelling robe covered shoulder, muffling the sound of my anguish so Noo, who was playing in the next room, couldn't hear. As I heaved through the episode, I braced myself waiting for it to end.

Each outburst of tears is like a contraction during labour; it rises up to a peak then starts to subside until it is done and over with until the next one. But these episodes are not predictable. Just like my posterior labour with Noo, the contractions are not evenly timed, the length of each burst of emotion can last for two minutes up to 20 minutes...

What is happening to me?

Yesterday I forced myself to get dressed to go and meet my best friend. I'm so glad I did because being with her made me happy. We caught up on the usual stuff about our kids, life in general and our moods. My best mate has suffered from severe anxiety most of her adult life too.

My friend said I looked really well. She commented that it looked like I'd lost weight, my makeup looked awesome and I sounded like I was really organised with how I was managing Noo and Mala.

And that is the weird thing. One minute I can seem totally fine. I'm there in the moment and I feel content, happy even. Until - boom - I'm breaking down again.

Just after I got back from going for coffee. Not long after I'm bawling!

After I left my friend I went to get a stack of blood taken. My thyroid, iron and other various vitamin levels are being tested to see if I do in fact have an underlying physical issue going on.

Later that afternoon, not long before my sister was to arrive, I sat quietly at my laptop on the dining room table. Dad had taken Noo for a walk to a playground nearby so everything was quiet for a moment. My mum was sitting about 5 metres from me. I stared at my screen. I could feel the emotion building up inside me again.

I whispered to mum, "it's happening again, I'm about to cry".

"What is wrong? You've just had a lovely morning and you're about to go out with Yolanda for the night." My well meaning mum tried to reassure me.

And then the waterworks started all over again.

I asked her to just listen to me as I tried to explain everything that was going on in my mind and through my body. Whatever was going on was not a reaction to any particular situation. It is a chemical change in my brain. I truly believe that.

Yolanda arrived and I managed to slap on some gladrags, some lippy and we made it out to the wonderful Vivid Festival. Sydney was at its best Friday night. I love this city with all my heart and soul. Her beauty fills me with such joy. Being by the Harbour can actually fill me with a sense of euphoria and, despite my current woes, Friday night was no exception.

But I still cried. At dinner explaining everything to Yo I struggled to fight the tears. My sister has such an amazingly insightful and wise soul that she is able to soothe me very quickly. She has her own shit going on (as a career woman extraordinaire!) but she never belittles me or  makes me feel my problems are any less than hers.

Crikey! I'm crying again.

My poor family. It must be so hard for them to feel so unable to make my shit go away. But they are doing a wonderful job at trying to alleviate the pain as I ride through this trough.

Please, Universe, bring me another peak soon!
(But not too high otherwise other labels might be stuck on me.)

Thank you for reading.



Bree @ Twinkle in the Eye said...

Have you thought about catching up with your GP?

claire said...

I can't even imagine what you are going through. Virtual hugs from me xoxo

Paula Kaye said...

I am so sorry for what you are going through and I wish you peace.....SOON!

Teegs_88 said...

One of my things to work on with my psychologist at the moment is to do the opposite to what I *want* to do. My goal at the moment is to do one thing a day. It can be something as simple as making sure I get dressed for the day at some stage or something like taking Dyllan out to the park. As long as I am pushing myself. I did it yesterday and when it got to the end of the day, I actually felt like I had accomplished something.

I think sometimes when we have mental health issues we can tend to over analyse our emotions, instead of just letting them be. It's easier said than done though. I hope you are feeling better soon and you are able to get your new script tomorrow xx

Dorothy @ Singular Insanity said...

I'm so glad you have such beautiful friends and family to support you at this time. And at least you're able to cry, even though I'm sure you don't think it's a good thing. I just seem to get angry and irritated and anxious and have no idea what is going on. I hope you are able to get out of the hole soon. Big hugs.

Grace said...

Big hugs, Vanessa. We're here supporting you through this. Every step of the way xxx said...

Hi Bree, yes, I'm in contact with my GP and psychiatrist on a regular basis. I'm on day three of my new antidepressants so hopefully I have finally turned a corner on this thing! V. said...

Thanks heaps Claire, it really means a lot. V. said...

Hey Paula. Thank you so much. I feel peace is on the way in the form of my new medication! V. said...

Hey Tegan. I'm so with you on the pushing myself to do things I don't want to do. That's why I was so pleased with the fact I got dressed up for the day and saw my friend and my sister. I was really able to enjoy those moments. In between times I cried. My new medication seems to be helping already so I'm really hoping I've turned a corner on this thing! V. said...

Hey Dorothy. Yes, I am so lucky with my friends and, particularly, my family. So much of my guilt when I'm unwell comes from not being able to be the best mum for Ned. As a sole parent, as you know, the responsibility is so great to be their one true rock. When that rock starts to crumble the kid(s) notice it and their own sense of security can be hurt. I'm happy to say though that my new meds are starting to help and I got through all of Tuesday without a single tear! Here's to the upswing! V. said...

Thank you Grace. This community has been amazing in helping me feel less alone through this horrible time. Sharing and talking my way through this has been key to my survival. Thank you so much. All the 'virtual' hugs have been amazing. V. said...

Ah, resilience. It is one of those characteristics that I'm always putting myself down for not having enough of. But I've come this far and survived so I guess I must have some resilience. My life has always been a series of deep peaks and troughs. This trough has been one of those lowest since my breakdown in 2007. I'm crawling back out of it now so a warm sense of relief is sweeping over me, replacing the dread and fear. I'm going to pop over to your blog to check out what you've written about it. V.

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