Thursday, November 6, 2008

stuff lately (with an update)

One of my friends recently posted that she's been having issues with comments not getting through, and that she resolved it by switching the format of her comment form...I have noticed the same lack of comments too (I participated in two blog carnivals this week and didn't get a single comment on them...) so I made the switch too and it seems to help! So sorry if you've tried to comment lately and it hasn't gone through, but we should be good now!!
On a personal note, I've been having a rough time lately. I've had problems with varying degrees of seasonal depression for as long as I can remember, and then when I started having miscarriages the grief brought on long-term (non-seasonal) depression. Each new pregnancy brought me out of it, each miscarriage dropped me back in, and each dip seemed deeper than the last. In the first trimester of my pregnancy with Bear, (which was even in summer) I was suffering from some of the deepest depression of my life. Hubby and I would sit down each night and he literally had to help me think of one thing from the day to be happy about--I had the whole world to be happy about and I couldn't find any of it.
Thankfully, in the latter part of my pregnancy things turned up. In spite of a January delivery date, I had neither seasonal nor post-partum depression. Last year when we moved to Alaska (with the long dark nights in winter) I was worried about SAD, but again, I had no problems at all. I thought that perhaps that period of my life was over and that I was finally free of depression... but alas, that is not the case. In the last month or so I have been sinking again. (The timing of it--coinciding with my recently returned fertility--makes me wonder if it's hormonally linked.) I feel down in spite of all my efforts to keep busy, be productive, and do things I enjoy. No amount of successes seems to make up for the days I neglect to make a decent dinner or the nights my son gets mad at me. I am insanely jealous of my friends and family who are pregnant. I am lonely. I go to my weekly knitting circle, sew things for my etsy shops, knit, and chat online with my friends...they all seem to help in the moment, but nothing lasts. At the end of the day I again am having to sit down with my husband and have him help me think of something to be glad about. I wanted to spend the month of November sharing lists of things I'm thankful for, but the truth is that I have been having a hard time finding anything to be happy about. I know there are things, and when someone points them out to me I do recognize them...but I struggle a great deal to think of them on my own.
In short, I am depressed right now. I cling to your comments more than you know--it's a much-needed reminder that someone out there cares. If I seem a little obsessive--posting daily (or more), checking my email 4 times a day, and crying on days when I didn't have lunch ready on time for my family...well, please just realize that this is me not coping very well. I know all the stuff I am supposed to do; it's just really hard to care enough about anything to do it.

I guess I go into all this for the same reason that I talk about my miscarriages: just to say hey, there are a lot of people out there dealing with this. It may not show on the outside--it may not even show to those who are right around us--but that doesn't make it any less real, or any less important.

So I come out and tell everybody how I'm depressed, and within hours I have 10 comments. Maybe I should be depressed more often!!
Thank you all so much. I realized today, after writing about how much I crave comments and feedback, that you probably could already tell that about me...after all, the title I put on my followers is "people who love me" and I changed my comment form to "__ people love me enough to comment." It all makes me sound a bit needy, doesn't it?! But you have lifted my spirits (for now at least), and I thank you.
I ended up having quite a nice night at knitting circle tonight (I got to the armpits of my sweater, so now it is starting to look like a sweater instead of just a tube!!), and I had a remarkably good hair day in spite of neglecting to braid it last night, and I made yogurt tonight which always makes me happy...and tomorrow is Pie Night (if you don't know what that is, well, you'll hear about it this weekend, I promise!) Things are feeling much more up at the moment. That may or may not mean anything for tomorrow, but hey, I'll take all the good moments I can get. ☺
To those of you who responded to my comment about hormones...the more I think about it, the more I realize that I think my depression is related directly to my menstrual cycles. I have had my hormone levels tested before (when I was going through the recurrent miscarriage testing), and from out here I don't have a way to have them re-tested...however I'm going to read up on some things and may look into supplementing. I think it's very likely that my depression set in at menarche, was gone during the amenorrhea of breastfeeding, and now has returned with my fertility...


TopHat said...

Would you like a virtual hug? {hug}

Katrina said...

Sorry to hear about your recent emotional struggles! I know about seasonal depression, postpartum depression, and postmiscarriage depression, too. And I, too, think they are hormonally linked. If you weren't breastfeeding I would suggest trying St. John's Wort, but maybe you've already tried that. It seemed to help me. But, last time I had problems with depression (and just feeling like my hormones were out of wack in general), what helped me the most was when I started taking Estroven. That got me back to feeling good and normal again. I think balancing out my hormones like that helped me conceive, whereas before I couldn't. Why do female hormones have to be such tricky business?!!
Anyway, I'll add you to my prayers and will be thinking of you! I'm glad you have such a good husband who helps you.

Becky said...

I'm sorry to hear you're having a rough time.

You will be my first blog friend to ever hear this, because I still have a hard time talking about, but I miscarried a little over two years ago. Fall is a bittersweet time for me now. I wanted to thank you though, for being so open about your struggles. That helps me.

Becky N. said...

"Stuff lately". Good title. That about sums up my depressed days, too. I have so many days like that, too. Especially the darker, drearier types of days- one of the big reasons I count Washington and Oregon out of bounds for relocation possibilities. I just don't think I can handle that sort of environment anymore, now having experienced much sunnier weather. Anyway... I hear ya. I'm so sorry that you're in that sort of depressed cycle, but you're not alone. Two days ago I was checking my email every 5 minutes, hoping someone had sent me *something*. Yesterday we had a fend-for-yourself dinner, and today we had nachos for dinner. So much for the nice healthy, in-season, made-from-scratch type of meals I was *planning* on making as much as possible, huh? Oh and let's not forget today's snack - big ol' donuts from the grocery store. A miracle that I got to the store at all, but I just had to go and ruin it by buying donuts.

Anyway. Again, I'm sorry. I know it must be even harder living in rural Alaska, where there are so many fewer people and entertainment options on top of all that less-sunlight thing. That's a lot working against you. I think you're doing pretty amazing, considering all of that.

I'm sure this isn't much of a helpful comment... but I know what it's like to live for comments, so here you go! I hope things look up sooner than later.

Emily said...

I'm sorry you're having a tough time :( I think you may be onto something about the hormones. I noticed that my anxiety and depression issues are the worst just before a period, and just after pregnancy, both times when your progesterone levels drop off dramatically. I also noticed that during pregnancy, when progesterone levels are highest, I have no problems at all. I started taking vitex, which helps to balance the progesterone levels, and I have noticed a BIG difference. I would suggest you start by studying up on the hormone cycle, and try to balance where you might be having a deficiency.

I met you once at the park during a playgroup when you were here for a visit. Everyone here speaks so highly of you that I am sad I didn't really get to know you! Well, we can still be virtual friends, right? ((hugs))

Emily J.

Brutus said...

*Hugs from Washington*

Have you thought about light therapy? It's supposed to help (though is not proven by the FDA). I have a friend who sits in front of her "happy light" every day.

Might be a good place to sit and sew/knit?

(this is Leah, by the by, writing from my "Squid's" blog ID, since I don't have my own)

Brooke said...

My family tends toward depression, and it has really made an impact on EVERYTHING. I don't have an answer, but I think finding something that helps is important. Big hugs!

Jessica said...

Here's another virtual hug: ((hug!))
You know if I were there I would squeeze you tight!
Does it help to know you're not alone? I haven't had Seasonal Depression (hence the reason we're still in WA), but I was having some issues back in March and it turned out that my testosterone levels were super low. I checked the label of my birth control pill and it said right there that it could cause depression! I quit the pill and felt much better within about a month.
You can be happy that you didn't have to suffer from postpartum depression. PD scares the bejeebies out of me! I just try not to remember the scary thoughts I had after LaMar was born. I asked my husband for a blessing because I was seriously in fear for my children's lives. I ended up staying with my mom for two weeks before I felt confident enough to care for them on my own. They say it gets worse with each baby, so I know I'll need to set up a super support system before it sets in next time.
The good thing is, depression will go away. Whether it's seasonal, changes with your cycle, or even if it takes some counseling, you will eventually feel "normal" again. I find it helpful to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel, as well as my blessings here and now.
Here's one blessing you have: All of us who love you and those who have come to appreciate you through online messages! You are a wonderful person, a strong woman, and God loves you, too!
You are in my prayers.

Cathryn said...

I'm so sorry you're going through this rough time. I know somehow you'll get through it, but I also know how hard it is to be in it.

Mae said...

Depression sucks. I get so frustrated because I think I'm usually a pretty optimistic person, but sometimes nothing matters. And I don't like that I feel that apathetic. And it makes me even more mad because I KNOW I have a great life. But it just doesn't seem like that.

For me I believe it's very strongly linked to hormones. I was finally diagnosed a couple years ago with dysthymia and medication helps a lot. But as I'm sure you've read on my blog, I also go to counseling. I think that is SO important.

Hang in there! I have no advice on how to improve it because if I did, perhaps I wouldn't be depressed myself. Oh wait, one thing I've learned is don't "should" on yourself. You want to make lunch on time for your family, you want to have a nice clean house. But let's face it, you don't HAVE to. Only you can decide what you SHOULD do instead of what you would like to do. From what I've heard of your family, they love you and know you do an outstandingly awesome job and go way above and beyond. Anyone who does cloth diapers goes above in my opinion!

Thanks for blogging about depression. There is such a stigma about it that it drives me crazy. And as you pointed out, there's SADS, there's post-partum, there's post-loss and trauma. And then there's just, "I feel crappy for no reason other than I feel crappy." And that is acceptible and we shouldn't be embarrassed about it. We are still strong, capable people.

Mae said...

I would be interested in what you find supplement wise. I PMS horribly, only not TV Sitcom style (you know, the mother going psycho, screaming, throwing things, and then weeping...). I turn in on myself. The world is coming to an end! I'm such a loser! There's too much to do!

On another note, years ago I tried taking Evening Primrose Oil on the advice of some friend of my mothers. Um, it closed my throat off. (That's my little anecdote for proving to people who don't bother to do any research ...obviously not you...that natural doesn't automatically make it safe.)

alisaterry said...

I sew and do crafts with my happy light, but that only effects the physical reasons for depression. Try finding a scripture or quote that uplifts you and tape it to your bathroom mirror. Also, citrus sents are anti-depressant. Bergamot is my favorite. I add it to unscented lotion. Usually there's no one thing but a combination of things that bring on depression, so lots of approaches help.

TopHat said...

I'm going to agree with the hormonal cycle thing. I was crazy in and out of depression in highschool- it let up in college when I was out of my parent's house, but I was still very very very emotional. Once I got pregnant, my hormones evened out and I enjoyed a little over a year of depression-less bliss during my lactation amenorrhea. Unfortunately, I've gotten my cycles back (though they are non-ovulatory) and I'm back into up and down. My DH and I kid around that pregnancy solves so many health struggles- depression/anxiety is now added to that list for me!

Carrie said...

Hey J,
I suffer from SAD too and I know how you feel. Thanks for cheering me up when I have been depressed. You have been such a lifesaver since I moved to Wyoming as has your blog, so keep on bloggin' and I will do my best to comment!

Kimberlee said...

As someone else prone to SAD (and anxiety) my thoughts are with you. It is so hard. I have been dreading winter.

mr.brighton said...

I love you baby and I'm trying to make it hope to help out. Dumb Masters Degree...

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