I was just involved in another blog carnival, the topic being depression. These posts are written by some of the strongest most caring women I know. Please take the time to click on this link and read the blog links given on gracefulagony.com. Amazing reading whether you yourself suffer from depression or know someone who does. Thank you once again to Jolene of gracefulagony.com for again doing this carnival even while dealing with chronic pain that has had an even tighter grip on her as of late. http://networkedblogs.com/85LNZ
“Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before” James Buckham
I think depression is inevitable at some point in any person who deals with a chronic illness of any type. Being ill or in pain for a long duration of time is taxing mentally as well as physically. The degree of the depression will vary from person to person, some having much more severe symptoms than others.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression may include the following:
- difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- fatigue and decreased energy
- feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
- feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
- insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
- irritability, restlessness
- loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
- overeating or appetite loss
- persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
- persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
- thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
I know with me, I have had some mild type depression symptoms off and on over the years, but that since my ovary removal surgery that went wrong in 2005, I have struggled with these symptoms to a much higher degree. I did at some points take anti-depressants, but didn’t feel like they were really helping much and the side effects didn’t seem worth it. But I know for a fact that some people find these medications to be extremely effective in controlling their symptoms, which is wonderful!
I try to keep a positive attitude, but when I am “losing” my positivity, I find myself getting very down and negative. Feelings of uselessness and guilt overwhelm me at times. I cry easily and am moody. I have seriously considered “ending the pain” on more than one occassion, but have concluded that is not the way to deal with it, mostly because I just want to be around to see my kids, grandkids and great-grandkids! But I can certainly relate to those feelings.
Living with several chronic illnesses, as in my case, it is very challenging to stay “happy” or positive all the time. I do TRY to keep my emotions on an even keel though. I read alot of self-help books (corny to some I know) but they seem to help me, inspirational quotes and poems are great for my psych, as are reading stories of others who have beat the odds or overcome obstacles in their lives. I have always used prayer as a huge form of comfort for me, I started “writing letters to God” at a very young age…and still do when I am feeling really down. Then I started journaling and eventually blogging, and I find that to be very cathartic. Whether anyone reads me or not, just getting my feelings down, out of my head feels awesome!
Everyone who deals with depression, whether mild or severe, has their own way of dealing with it. As I said, for some the plethora of medications that are available will help immensly, for others not so much. Some benefit from professional counseling, speaking to the clergy, self help books, meditation, or just opening up to a good friend. Any and all of these will help most people. I also find that if I try to keep a gratitude journal it helps keep me feeling more upbeat also..even just saying things as simple as “I am grateful for the sunshine today!” or looking at how beautiful the leaves on the trees look as they change colors…it releases the good endorphins that make you feel better.
Depression is a battle. When you are suffering from it, you most certainly feel as if you are fighting some unseen demonic force. Sometimes it can pull you so far down, you cannot get out of it without professional help. To me it feels like you are underwater, every movement feels heavy and challenging. To add to the pain of this disease is the judgement you get from others. Depression still has a stigma. People are sometimes ashamed of their diagnosis or must deal with others views of what the disease means. It is nothing to be embarrassed about of course. It’s an illness, like any other.
So, if you feel you are suffering from depression, no matter how mild…please do not be ashamed to seek professional help. There are treatments that can help you feel better, you just have to find what works for you. Never ignore suicidal thoughts or feelings, you must get help. Some depressions are just too deep to fight on your own. Just don’t ever give up or feel defeated! You can beat it! It may not be easy, and you may be on a bit of a roller-coaster at times, but you will make it through, and come out the other side stronger.
I know that with the chronic pain, that when I let the depression take control, it makes my pain levels even worse, and I start to let the pain win. For me, it’s the never ending pain that keeps the “depression demon” in my head…and when I’m feeling weakest, that’s when he strikes. I have to try to keep him at bay by keeping positivity near by, my pain medications around the clock, happy movies and music, laughter, prayer, meditation, journaling, family and friends and of course…blogging! Some times I win the war, sometimes I don’t…but I never stay down, and I never will, because I am stronger than the pain or the depression!
“Good humor is a tonic for mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment.” – Greenville Kleiser
Just thought I’d let it be known that I have not left the universe. I haven’t been writing much because I feel I have nothing positive or useful or entertaining to say. That all still being true, I decided tonite to go ahead and scribble some jibberish out in the hopes that maybe…just maybe…it will help my over burdened brain to just let go…just let me sleep for Gods sakes!
I do not know what came first in this particular web of horror, the fatigue and lack of restful sleep or the escalating abdominal pain that I am enduring, along with one of the worst flares I have ever endured! WTF??? I have tried Lunesta and now Ambien for sleep..may as well pop a couple tic tacs, same effect. With all the meds I take I can only assume I am somewhat immune to the sleeping pills. And I will say thank you in advance to anyone who would like to offer suggestions such as Melatonin or tea or dark bedrooms or no tv in the bedroom…yea, tried all of it.
I believe the problem is mainly my intestinal adhesions have completely gone freakin bizerk! I guess I should clarify that, its not just my intestines that are cemented together, but ALL my abdominal organs and tissue…Liver, pancreas, bladder, stomach…all of it! I was told at some point during the 15 abdominal surgeries I had to correct one doctors mistake, that I would eventually probably have switch to only liquids…and I believe that time is fast approaching.
When I eat, I feel full earlier than normal, then about fifteen minutes later…the pain begins. The abnormally LOUD peristalsis starts up. It starts to feel like huge shards of glass are fighting their way thru my intestines. I get killer heartburn. I feel nauseated. And I can’t go to the bathroom, even after consuming all the products that claim to make that particular bodily function occur. (It has been five weeks…yes WEEKS! Since I had an adequate one) My belly gets bigger and harder and more uncomfortable. I try to eat things that are easily digested, but I’m human…and a stupid one that likes foods that are NOT easily digested…like vegetables, nuts, seeds, shrimp and steak. I am usually good about staying away from red meat…but occassionally I just NEED a good steak or burger!
I know it’s not a huge thing in the grand scheme of things, but I LIKE to eat real food. Food that needs chewed. I get satisfaction out of chewing food! Just one more thing that I must lose due to that doctors lack of skill. A life of puddings and smoothies I guess is what I get to look forward to. But I guess I should shut up, because if not the evil karma god will decide that it is time for me to lose my entire colon!
Gee, if you woulda told me ten years ago, that I would be blogging about my intestines and lack of the ability to evacuate…I woulda laughed in your face…but here ya go! TMI you say? I agree…but as I have said before, ever since this health crisis came about, I no longer believe in TMI…because maybe someone else out there has the same issues and can sympathize or we can help each other…whatever…I do not embarrass easily. We are human, we all have the same parts and bodily functions, so deal with it.
All I know is that right now I am so damn tired I could cry, and the chicken I ate earlier has transformed into gigantic boulders of razor tipped bumper cars in my intestinal tract and it hurts to move or breathe and I am PISSED AT THE WORLD!!! They don’t make a pain medication that can stop this pain I guess. If they do, we still haven’t found it. I guess if I stop eating, SOME of the pain will indeed diminish…so ok…I will try to limit consumption, but it’s really hard to not eat, or to eat only soft or liquid things…atleast it is for me. Everyone else is eating meatloaf or chili or steak…me? A cup of tea or perhaps A Slurpee. Whoopdi doo!
So, that’s my abdominal area…let’s throw in the fact that my neck and back (both upper and lower) are so tight I can barely turn my head or twist my torso! The pain is relentless! These stupid Lidocaine patches wont stick either! Nothing works. BenGay is useless..all the lotions are. The only thing that helps even a little is massage, but no one can massage that much or often…Jim tries, but I can’t constantly be asking him for that. The muscle relaxers help a tiny bit…but not enough. Think I’m thru with complaints? HELL NO! My elbows! The ruptured tendons in them just will not heal! Do you realize how much you use your elbows??? ALOT! And it hurts everytime I bed them! Then just toss in the headache, achy eyeballs and other muscle/bone pain, and you pretty much have a picture of my pitiful world right now…oh, add a huge dose of STRESS to that little recipe as well.
I know there are people who are thinking, “God, is this all she does is whine about her health?” To them I say….”Screw YOU!” and then try to nicely say that no it is NOT what I do all the time. I generally keep it to myself, stiff upper lip and all that jazz. But this blog is for me to vent. The good, bad and ugly. Yes, the bad and ugly get more page time…but they work harder to get there!
I haven’t even felt well enough to read lately…and I am surrounded by many wonderful books here on my bed…I lift one and start to read but my arms get too tired to hold the book up. I cannot find a comfortable position at all. I move to the chair and my hip starts to hurt. I have literally like 13 pillows of various shapes and sizes to prop on…but nothing is helping. The tv is on…but there is nothing worth watching on…but I keep it for background noise. To help drown out the fish tanks bubbling…which I truly love to hear, but it’s telling me the tank is low on water, and actually is way behind on needing a good cleaning…and I just don’t have it in me to accomplish such a large task right now, so I’m trying to ignore it a bit longer.
I am back to feeling like a slug in slugville. Worthless. Ridiculous. Whiney. This one is lasting alot longer than most…so I’m having a harder time snapping out of it. But I will. I just want to say to my readers that I have been reading your blogs…so amazing! You ladies blow me away with your writing styles! I could never dream of being in your leagues, but I am thrilled that you take the time to read my amateur drivel. At times I thought I maybe able to inspire those with chronic health issues or even those who wish to write…but I’m thinking that was a pretty big dream for me to have, as I’m not feeling like a very inspiring human being as of late. Maybe I will pull out of this pit and come out stronger and ready to rock and roll…let’s hope so!
For now, I’m gonna get my water bottle, swallow my pills, snuggle down into this huge bed and mindlessly surf thru the dish channels for something to focus on until my brain decides to shut down for an hour or two…or dare I pray THREE hours?!
God Grant Me Strength….yadda yadda….
I’m going to start reading To Kill A Mockinbird for about the tenth time, maybe it will once again get me inspired to do something, to give back…as it has in the past. Thank you Harper Lee
Thank you to my readers and my friends! I love all of you and appreciate your time and your words of wisdom!