If there is one thing that my GP, child health nurse, psychiatrist and psychologist all seem to agree on, it’s that I really didn’t express much emotion during my last depressive episode. They all cite this fact as one of the reasons why I slipped through the cracks for so long, and things got as bad as I did before receiving adequate help.
They are probably right. When David was only a few weeks old I visited the child health nurse, talked about Master D for the majority of the session, only asking for some resources for post natal depression at the very end. “Are you feeling depressed?” the nurse asked, clearly surprised. I told her yes and filled out the Edingburgh scale for her. It was only after seeing my score that she became concerned, urging me to see a GP that very day. I remember her telling me that I didn’t look or act like someone who was depressed. I wondered what a depressed person was supposed to look or act like.
Months later, in the midst of a mixed state, I poured my heart out to a community psychiatrist. Telling him how I thought the police were after me, that I was considering drinking toilet cleaner, that I simply couldn’t go on. But actions do speak louder than words. It wasn’t until I broke down and screamed at him that he believed I had a problem.
My weeks in hospital were a baseline of emotional detachment with occasional blips of insanity which invariably resulted in me being medicated and escorted to my room. I was off or on. I was quiet, off in my own little world. Or I was falling back to earth with a thud, and screaming with the pain of it all.
The thing is, it wasn’t that I didn’t feel pain, I just didn’t know how to express it. How can you express a deep intangible pain? Where do you even begin? “I feel depressed” just doesn’t seem to cut it. Because of my attitude, and the way I described how I was feeling, people didn’t seem to take me seriously. The more my attempts at asking for help were unsuccessful, the less inclined I became to talk about it. It just seemed like a no-win situation.
At some point in hospital my medication was adjusted so that my pain went away. It was incredible! I didn’t feel anxious anymore, I no longer felt depressed. There is so much that you can achieve when you aren’t weighed down by depression and insecurities. The best thing was that although my negative emotions were dulled, my positive emotions soared. I feel happy and excited so much more than I used to. I don’t know whether that is due to the medication, or simply because there is more room for positivity now my negativity has been dealt with.
But in the recent weeks I became a little concerned. While at first the absence of negativity was freeing, now it felt a little…odd. I never felt upset – even when I had a good reason to be. I never felt stressed – even when I should. On one occasion, shamefully, I even picked an enormous fight with Hubster. Just to see if I could feel upset. We fought and shouted he stormed off, and I sat there screwing my face up trying to cry. Nope. Nothing! While Hubster fumed in the bedroom, I went back to my book.
This week I talked to my psychiatrist about this, and she recommended that I reduce some of my medication, particularly since I haven’t had any problem with depression. So I cut down my dose and forgot about it. Until last night.
Last night Hubster and I had a little argument. Nothing too upsetting. But as he stood outside, talking on the phone I suddenly burst into tears. Now I’m not talking a little sniffle, I’m talking loud, messy, gut wrenching sobs. Alarmed, Hubster raced inside and tried to calm me down. But I was unstoppable. I cried about all the things that I never had a chance to deal with while I was on the medication and couldn’t feel. I mourned the lost time I felt I had, I cried for what I had been through. I cried for purely selfish reasons. I sobbed and bawled, and GOD it felt good.
What’s more, I slept better than I have done in weeks.
Like a storm after a drought the air is clearer now. Although I’m scared I will feel to much again, I’m relieved I can feel something. I guess it’s a balancing act, trying to find a steady point between the two poles. And I’ll get there. I know I will.