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Monday, March 17, 2014

What do Swizz and Eyeore have in common?

I read this today and realized...
I have a post needing to be written.

I am clinically depressed.  Have been since, oh, about 12 years of age.  
Or at least that's when I was first diagnosed. 
Come to find out it is hereditary...several of us in my family are clinically depressed.  
Some of us medicate. 
 Others of us don't.

This is a little bit about my journey.
If it helps even ONE person to feel normal, and not alone, I'm glad to share.

I'm going to start the way things should be in Swizz's world...backwards!

A few months ago I decided to get off of my meds.  Not because I think I was miraculously healed, but because they seemed to cause nerve issues.  And with the problems I have been having with my back, my energy levels, etc, I was trying to be proactive and get rid of something that could have been the root cause of all of those issues.

Except, I'm clinically depressed.
Did I mention that?

And this past year has been a doozey!
We lost our sweet Skipper.
We lost The Rev's last surviving grandparent.
Our family moved in with us.
We moved.
Our new home, a huge blessing!, was a money pit. 
Is a money pit, that is.
Our renters in Atlanta broke the lease purchase agreement and skipped on a few months of rent.
And left close to $20,000 in damages.
We finished out the barn on our property.
The cost tripled from the original estimate.
The Rev's business was a bit rocky for awhile, but has exploded.
Our house got mold.
Did I mention the money pit?
Our cars broke down.  Multiple times.  Big ticket items.
JMonster has had bouts of stomach sickness.
Every few weeks.
We found out some health issues with me. 
I'm okay, but the "fix" is expensive and is taking awhile to settle in.  
I'll share more about that at a later time.

The list could go on.  And it does.  But that's not the point.  The point is that I attempted to deal with all of these things without meds.

Now, I've been praying and reading the Bible, and praying some more.
2013 found me either praying, crying, or praying and crying most of the time.
For realz.

And God is good!
He has really brought me through a fiery place and shown me his grace and mercy.
And He is teaching me to have more grace and mercy.
But the black cloud that follows me around, the filter which I see the world through without being able to help it, is still there.

You don't have too little faith.
You aren't a baby believer because the Holy Spirit isn't making your world rosey.
And if anyone ever says this to you...
pray for them.
For they obviously DO NOT know the God of this universe, 
who created you.
And loves you.
Just. the. way. you. are.

Is this you?  Have you ever been here?
Have your friends either tried to tell you to "buck up" or show you every positive thing in your life?
Or even just let your friendship drop?
Maybe they texted every few weeks to check on you, but you weren't invited to do anything?
No one called to chat?
People protected themselves from you because you weren't bouncy flouncy smile on your face every second of every minute of every day?

It's not that you're not thankful.
Or grateful.
Or even that you are TRYING to focus on negatives.
No one WANTS to be like that.


And if your friends did that to you...well SHAME ON THEM!

I've had friends do that, too.
People I thought were GOOD friends.

You know you've got a good friend when they keep loving on you. 
Keep inviting you to join in on the shenanigans and adventures, every time, even if you keep saying no.  
Or join in but just sit quietly.
THOSE are the keepers, my friends.
Those are the friends who love YOU and not the idea of the best you.

Before this, I've been on Zoloft off and on for years.
I started on it about 2 years after my big accident.
And I stayed on it until JMonster was little.
Then I tried to get off for awhile.

One of the reasons I stopped was the whole medical insurance thing.
You're on antidepressants?
OH, you must be a HUGE risk!
We won't deny you, but your costs will be huge!
Or maybe, now that we think about it...DENIED.
Not a good reason to get off of a medication, but sometimes we do things that seem silly later because we are trying to manage now.

Let's jump back to teenager Swizz.

My doctor prescribed prozac back then.
We called it the happy pill!

At first it was an all the time script.

And it helped.  It really did.

And then he said it could be an as needed medication.
And I did so well I decided to wean off.
Cuz I was better, right?

And I stayed off for several years.
Years that were very hard.
Years where I now realize, looking back, that my filters weren't only not rosey for me, but they skewed every thought I had for everyone around me.
You see that little cloud over Eyeore's head?
When you have one of those, and they are OH SO REAL, it affects EVERYTHING.

Every thought about yourself.
Every thought about other people.
Every decision you make.

And life shouldn't be that hard.
I'm not saying that God promised us an easy life.
He didn't.
But He sure doesn't want you, or me, feeling like the world would be a happier place without us in it.

And that is where our reality lives, doesn't it?
We get to the point where, because our brain chemicals are messed up, we feel so unwanted or unneeded by PEOPLE that we become consumed by it.
Not that we don't believe God loves us.
I know that He loves me deeply.
Every part of me.
But I also know I want friends!
The truth is, and they're lying if they tell you otherwise, even Christians need friends.

Now...let's get down to brass tacks.
Medications do NOT make us whole.
They don't.
And someone who tells you they will is pulling the wool over your eyes.

What they DO make is a person who is capable of rational thought.
When I hear a lie, and I know it is a lie, I can BELIEVE it is a lie.

When my feelings are hurt, and the offender has apologized, the emotions can follow the brain's acceptance of that apology.
And then I am able to trust my feelings.
And trust my responses.
And not question every. single. thought. emotion. or action.

Because when you have to think that hard about every single thought, emotion, or action, it becomes a self-fulfiling prophecy.
You think you must seem hateful.
So you are hateful.
You think your words sound bossy.
So you are bossy.
You think your expression seems negative.
So you become negative.

Let's break that cycle!
I am going to talk with my doctor about getting on a new script.
One that doesn't affect my nerves,
But treats the chemicals in my brain so my levels are "normal".

Although I love Eyeore,

Really, I want to be Tigger!

P.S. I find it funny that I posted the bit about Eyeore on my facebook page and got 3 likes.  I post something dumb about nothing and I'll get WAY more than that.  Things like clinical depression make people uncomfortable.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Swizz,
I love that you shared this. I knew you way back when only a little. We might have worked together in a class or two, be we didn't really know each other. What you've posted here is brave and shows how strong you are. Not because of what you've been through, but what you go through each day. You've taken the time to boost me up while I go through cancer again. You inspired me to share my whole story, something I was ashamed to share before. You've helped me break the silence. Thank you!