I’m not even really sure where to begin, but I thought it was important that I write a little bit about what’s been going on with me for the past year. I have somewhat recently started my ascent out of a deep dark place – depression. Last spring after experiencing some sort of virus that was complicated by my fibromyalgia I suffered some EXTREME fatigue. After weeks of wondering how I could possibly take care of my children I finally broke down. This accumulation of anxiety and stress lent itself to 4 days in bed, nurtured and cared for by my wonderful husband and mom. Depression, no matter what its source, is a dark place to be. At my worst, even the presence of my beautiful children wasn’t enough to pull me from its depths. For many who will read this, depression just isn’t something that can be understood. I get that and accept that. But for some, even if it’s only one person, a sense of familiarity will ring true. And this is why I write. If the loneliness that is depression can be relieved even just a little to someone reading this then it will be worth having put the words down for all to read.
This past year of struggle was also heightened by the complicated nature of caring for a child with special health care needs. For me, Chloe’s rise out of constant crisis left me with a bit of post-traumatic stress. I was just exhausted and fatigued from all the worry and constant state of heightened fear for Chloe’s health. When she was better, I suffered from two emotional problems: 1) what to do with myself now that she was better and my psyche had adjusted to living in constant stress and 2) the decrease of adrenaline once the heightened stress subsided, leaving me open to the post-traumatic stress. So take the physical virus, the emotional component of caring for a child with special health care needs, and the constant financial stress related to Chloe’s care and you have the makings of a perfect storm.
So many times over the past year I sat down to write, but each time the darkness overtook me and the words just didn’t flow. Or they did, but they were from such a sad place I didn’t dare post them. I write now, as the storm passes and through the clouds I can once again see the glimpses of light. I can look into my children’s eyes and feel warmth and true joy and laugh ALONG with them. I can feel hope for my family AND myself and know that everything is going to be okay again. I can know with confidence that Chloe is going to be okay, at least for now and that the simplest cold is no longer going to threaten her life. I can watch my older children rolling around with her on the floor and not worry about how they’re going to handle the stress of yet another trip to the hospital. I can accept and enjoy the comforting embrace of my husband or the sweet tender kiss on my cheek from my mom. I can FEEL the warm hug from the sun as it shines through my window. I can laugh. I can cry. And most of all I have hope again. I feel lucky to once again emerge out into the light.
I hope that if anyone else out there is struggling with depression that they will know they are NOT alone. And that every struggle we face, in the end, makes a stronger, better people.