“Life is a comedy for those who think, but a tragedy for those who feel…”Horace Walpole
Hindsight is 20/20, amiright?
A lot of our mind is focused on the here and now, but for some there is an emphasis on the past…A drive to understand how it molded ourselves into the person we are today, with our new wisdom and understanding of how the world works and how our brains react to certain events.
If I were to pinpoint when my mind chemistry shifted, I would choose puberty. For that reason I always suspected a hormonal imbalance going on with me, but never looked past the thought. To be honest, I was not sure how. High school was a tumultuous time and my foundation was always changing.
Four different schools, four different families, hormones and confusion.
I slept a lot during that time, and as I remember it – sleeping allowed me to escape my reality. I threw myself into school when it was a happy place, withdrew when a new school was not. I put my energy into what brought me joy in the moment and what I thought I wanted, but the depression during teenage years was crippling enough to cease those joys. I made impulsive decisions because life is short, ya know? But I did not understand the effects if those decisions until now.
During my time in the military, there was this unspoken stigma attached to mental health that made it look negative to seek help. No one exactly
said that, but hearing stories of how some fellow service members were affected (and not understanding the whole picture of it since I was a young, naive girl)…it was confusing. I went to one supervisor asking for advice: do I get on medication for my issues, or do I wait until after I deploy? I had not gone overseas at this point, and felt that it was important that I do, but I also wanted to seek help. I was starting to fantasize about turning my wheel just slightly on a quiet missouri street at that time. It scared me but I did not want to admit my thoughts to just anyone. This person said after I explained my thoughts, “I go through that, does that make me crazy? Do I need to take medication?” very aggressively so I backed off. You’re right, mission first.
Crazy. I remember cringing at the word.
So I shut my mouth and deployed with my suicide ideation, my depression, my confusion and feelings of very little support. I was blessed to have an “easy” deployment, and when I came back I was able to go to mental health for my worries. That was when I was diagnosed with PMDD (Post Menstrual Dysphoric Disorder) due to my birth control at the time, Implanon.
Whenever the birth control was removed, I felt a sigh of relief because I was no longer intensely angry three weeks out of the month. I thought wow maybe it is a hormone imbalance. Now that I am not being influenced by a hormone driven medication, my brain seems less clouded.
The relief was short lived.
Time went by.
I went to training, went to a new base.
I became pregnant and separated from the military so that I could go back to Texas and raise my child with my family.
Of course as it often does, life completely changed with having a baby. I began therapy pretty soon after my child was born and received the diagnosis of PPD (Post Partum Depression). So again, I was treated for my depression only. I was put on the antidepressants Sertraline and Lamotrigine. It seemed to work for a time with the depressive periods, but it did not last forever.
Life kept changing (as it usually does), and I have changed with it. I finally received a job where I could shift from survival mode to “okay” mode, as in I had reached a stable foundation to put my feet on. While this has been an incredible blessing, it has also gave me time to begin processing everything I have been putting to the side. My traumas, my choices, and most of all- my Self. Once I became consistent on my medication, in a place where I could breathe, I started to notice something…
There was a pattern to my behavior.
I go through these…phases.
Phases where I am depressed for weeks, sometimes months. I have a hard time keeping up with chores or the basic necessities. On really bad days, I have a long mental battle with just getting myself out of bed. I can do it, but it may take me awhile. Showers are too much mental turmoil to begin having one, and the only tasks I am completing are the ones that will get me by.
And then I have an opposite phase. I will have loads of energy and clean my depression mess from sun up to sun down. I’ll socialize and be the best mother I can be. I will spend money I should not because “treat yo self” repeats in my brain. I will organize my life, realign my goals with my actions, and run on little sleep. Life is great.
If you are noticing a pattern in your own behavior similar to mine, please feel free to reach out to professional help, your support system, or even me.
Until next time, dear reader!
Here are a few links you might find useful: