How I came to understand I was depressed.
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The onset of my depression didn’t come where you would expect it. It didn’t come after my father-in-law died. It didn’t come after the dissolution of a 15 year-long friendship. It didn’t come after trying to conceive with no results. It didn’t come after my uncle died. It didn’t come after the birth of either of my kids. It didn’t come after my dad got a blood infection in knee and almost lost his leg. It came in November of 2011 when comedian Patrice O’Neal died.
I never really understood why this death affected me so deeply. I had never met Patrice. I had never seen him perform. I was utterly devastated upon hearing about his death. Patrice had a stroke about a month before his death. Out of respect for the family, his dire condition was never released to the public. I foolishly hoped he would get better. I prayed in my own sort of way that he would pull through. He didn’t. A good, honest, and funny man who brought laughter (and at times) utter anger to all his fans was dead. It cut me deep. And I really felt his death.
I felt this pain. With my father-in-law, I didn’t feel it. I had to be strong for my husband. He was his father’s only child and executor of his estate.
I didn’t feel my uncle’s death. I didn’t want to worry my Dad. They were Irish (or in this case German) twins and best friends. I didn’t want him to worry about how I was feeling.
After the birth of my kids, I didn’t feel depressed but I didn’t feel the joy of motherhood either. I had a job to take care of these babies. Keep them happy, healthy, and alive.
I always had an excuse. Someone else I was worried about. With Patrice, I didn’t know him. I didn’t know his family. No one to be strong for. No one to hide behind. I had to mourn and, in a way, mourn all the other losses as well.
My father-in-law will never meet his kindred spirit Harley. My 5 cousins are left without a father as they get married and have kids of their own. My Dad is still without his best friend. My kids have a mother that doesn’t always feel like she is giving enough, doing enough, or loving enough. It was a whole lot of feeling all at once.
Patrice died on November 29, 2011, and that began the beginning of my depression. I knew something was wrong but I didn’t really know what it was or what to call it. My kids were happy and healthy. My husband and I had a strong and loving partnership. What did I have to be depressed about?
My Signs of Depression
I didn’t have some deep and dark revelation about my depression. I simply knew deep down in my heart of hearts that something was wrong. There was feelings of irritability and feeling overly self-critical. But for the most part I just felt off.
So I talked to my doctor. I am very lucky to have an extremely intelligent and caring doctor who didn’t make me feel bad about my feelings. She gave me total reassurance that these feelings were normal and this “problem” could be fixed. She prescribed me a low dosage antidepressant to start with, and it has helped so much.
I had no more crazy texts to my husband during the day. No more full tv day sessions because I didn’t know how to deal with my children. I still have my rough days but things are getting better and will continue to do so. I waited 2 months before I went to see my doctor, and I wish I would have gone sooner.
And that is what needs to be taken away from this. If you think you are depressed and need help, ask your doctor. If they say nothing is wrong, go to another doctor. You know yourself best and know when you don’t feel like you are living your best life. It may sound cliché but the first step is recognizing the depression and getting help. No need to suffer alone.