Monday, August 18, 2014

If it's not one thing, it's depression

2014 has not been the best year. To be honest, from almost the minute it started I've been saying how much it sucks. And apparently after 8 months, my body has had enough.  So here's the rundown.

January
  • A friend's little girl passes away. Having never met her, it still hit me hard. My heart was just broken for them. It was then that I began to come home from work (skipping the gym), and get in bed. 
  • My friend passes away. I've experienced loss, but this one hit me hard. I think because it was the first loss where it was my friend, someone younger than me. This is when things got really bad and I would go to work, come home, get in bed and cry. And cry and cry.
  • Not going into details, but was forced to face some demons. NOT FUN. 
February

  • I got offered a job and made the hardest decision ever to leave the job I'd been at for 4 years. SO. MANY. TEARS. I don't handle change well. And that was a TOUGH one. 
  • Started a new job. I heard somewhere that is one of the most stressful things someone can go through. 
March

  • Not going into details, but there was a bit of boy drama. Yikes. By this point all I really could do was laugh. So at least that was good. 
April

  • Grandpa fell and was put in the hospital on life support. The night before I was taking my middle schoolers on a retreat I got a text from my mom saying that I had to go down there that weekend. The doctors would take him off sedatives long enough for me to say goodbye. I had no idea how I was even going to do that. I burst into tears at the realization that he would never officiate my wedding. Meltdown central. (Spoiler alert: He miraculously started breathing on his own, the internal bleeding stopped, he got to go home shortly after. YAY FIGHTER GRANDPA!)
May

  • I had a MASSIVE meltdown. The stresses of working ALL THE TIME, never being home, trying to plan Vacation Bible School and the summer trip all hit me at once. Mother's Day after working I went to my parent's house. I walked in the door and my mom asked how I was and I burst into tears. We decided then and there that SOMETHING had to change because this was not good. The following Wednesday I put in my 2 weeks notice at the job I had been at for just 3 months. Can you keep track of my life? I can't. 
  • Okay, so not totally terrible but I turned 30. 
June

  • Vacation Bible School! Stressful but I did it. And without crying. 
  • Triathlon. Woah. That was stressful. And exhausting. And I was super sad afterwards because I didn't do as well as I had hoped. 
  • Trip to Seattle. Had 3 adults and 11 teenagers. And I was in charge. (Eek!) As if that's not stressful enough.... my grandpa's health had deteriorated. Just days before I left I was told that there was a big chance that he would die while I was on the trip and my mom said if that happened, she wanted me to stay on the trip. Ultimately I wanted it to be my decision, but I wanted to be the one to make that decision. So I prayed and prayed and prayed. Day 2 of the trip I got the call that he had just 2 days left. We hadn't even made it to Seattle yet. I didn't know what to do. I was torn. I ultimately decided to stay with the group- they were so great and supportive. But for the most part, I wasn't REALLY there. I was trying so hard to be the fun Jessica (Bestica) they deserved and while they definitely let me grieve and even grieved with me, I didn't let myself grieve while I was around them. Day 6 of the trip I was hanging out with my cousin who lives there. My uncle came to hang out with us as well and told us that my grandpa had passed away. It seemed surreal at first and as the days went on, I just wanted to be home and be sad. The night we got back I went to my parents house where pictures of my grandpa were EVERYWHERE. And it all started to hit me. I talked to my dad a little bit, and I went upstairs and just lost it. Completely sobbed. The next morning I woke up with a fever, feeling AWFUL, stomach hurt, I threw up (which I haven't done since I was 12!) and just felt horrible. From that point I was scared to eat, didn't really have an appetite so pretty much just lived on applesauce, cottage cheese and fruit. 
    The last picture taken of Grandpa and me. RIP. <3 
July

  • We got word that a relative was diagnosed with a fatal disease. This year sucks. 
  • I continue to not have an appetite. I'm not working out because I don't eat and the cycle continues. I'm gaining weight despite eating one meal a day. (As it turns out that may or may not be called starvation mode)
August

  • Still don't have an appetite and it's starting to concern me a little. I go on vacation to California to meet my new baby niece (hooray something good happening!) and the eating thing becomes more apparent as I'm around people who eat more than once a day. I eat once and am STUFFED for 9 hours. And after 9 hours, it's not even that I'm hungry. I just feel like I'm not stuffed and think "hmm... I should probably eat something." I started having dreams about my friend who passed away (2 dreams in 3 nights). Dreams that she's alive again and we're explaining to people how that can be. Then I had a dream that I went to the doctor about my health. My last 2 days there I was in this funk. I was so sad but I wasn't entirely sure why. I went into the shed one day and just cried. Feeling inadequate and worthless. I couldn't explain it. 
I started to panic about what was wrong with me so I decided it was time to go see a doctor. Luckily I found one that is open on Saturdays so this past Saturday I went in. But first I turned to WebMD which told me a million things like cancer, hepatitis C, Grief Reaction, etc etc. Logically I told myself it was probably grief reaction or stress, but then there was the little part of me that thought it could be something worse.

I went in. They took my vitals (guess who SHRUNK 2 inches. not fair!) and asked me a couple questions about what had been going on. I was pretty sure this all was in relation SOMEHOW to my meltdown I had upon arriving back home and finally being able to get all those emotions out. And right as the lady is walking out the door she says to me "Have you ever been treated for anxiety or depression?" "No." I say... and she walks out. And I feel like I've just been hit in the face.

Anxiety? Depression? Me. NO. WAY.

The doctor comes in and we chat a little bit. She examines me a bit. We talk about depression a little bit and has me take a questionaire. My score was a 6. A score of 5-7 indicated mild depression.

So there you have it... I have mild depression.

As soon as I left the doctor's office, I burst into tears. And I spent the rest of the day either crying or just watching tv or lying in bed. Or napping. Here's the interesting thing. So Andy Grammer just released a new album (Magazines Or Novels. Go get it. It's phenomenal) and one of the songs on there is called "Remind You" about when people go through hard times. It's amazing. Totally what I need right now and I just listen to it over and over again.

This whole thing has been really interesting because the diagnosis came as a complete shock to me. Never in a million years did I ever think I would go through depression. But looking back at everything I've gone through lately, is anyone really that surprised? And after getting the diagnosis, more things keep popping up that were signs but I really just didn't know it. (Example: One day in California my brother asked me what was wrong and said I seemed down. I chalked it up to "just being tired".) The last time Andy Grammer was in town I actually didn't go. Given... it was the day after I got back from California, I was tired and had a headache. But I think that's kind of a clear sign that SOMETHING is up. Right?
Me at 3rd Street Promenade- somewhere I've always wanted to go and yet I kept telling myself I should be more excited. Should have been my first clue...


My doctor wants me to start counseling, which I'm working on finding a counselor. Talk about depressing.... The first one I heard back from is $110/SESSION! Sweet mother. In addition I have a prescription for celexa. I am still not 100% sure if I am going to fill it or not. She said ultimately that is up to me. It's a low dosage, but if I go on it she wants me to stay on it for at least 9 months and go in for a "check up" after 2 weeks to see how things are going. I've heard really great things about meds, but I've also heard that they just make you numb. So I'm not sure yet what I am going to do.

Things have been moving pretty slow for me the last couple days. I've had to tell my family, my bosses and co-workers which isn't an easy thing to do. But it's important they know what's going on. I attempted to go work out today. Didn't get through the whole thing but it's a start at least. I need to get my life back on track. Back to the old Jessica. Which is funny because when I told my parents they said I didn't seem sad and my dad said "just cheer up!" Pretty sure he was joking there because we all know that's not how it works... Apparently that's the thing about depression. It sneaks up on you and sometimes it doesn't even show.

You may be wondering why I'm blogging about something so personal. One of my fears in telling people is that I'd be judged. That I would be viewed as weak or that something is wrong with me. And for the most part, that hasn't been the case. And so just like I did with my weight loss journey, I thought documenting this could help hold me accountable but also help others see that depression is something that so many people go through. If I can help alleviate that stigma for one person, then going through this crap might actually have a silver lining. All I know is I just want things to be better. It's going to take some work, but I'm a fighter. And luckily I have an AMAZING support crew behind me. As I head down this journey I will try to update on my progress.

To better days....
~Jessica~


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