Waiting for today...: And So it Begins

Wednesday, January 8

And So it Begins

a chronicle of my history of depression, from initial diagnosis to the eve of my thirty-five birthday

“What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” (KJV) ~ Ecclesiastes 1:9

Well, well, well… some crazy stuff happening here man.   First, I failed Maternity/Child Health.  I was doomed from the beginning…  Today I decided not to go to clinical.  As a result, I failed out of the class.  Ever since my birthday (the big 2-5, eww), I’ve been feeling really down… not wanting to do anything.  Just wanting to lay in front of the TV or sleep.  I get into these funks from time to time, but I don’t like ‘em.  And honestly, my funk began early semester. -- Wednesday November 19th, 2003

At the time, I didn’t know how serious my depression was.  I was in complete denial.  Depression wasn’t real!  I was just apathetic, lazy, unappreciative and faithless.  I was just “in a rut”, “in a funk” or “burnt out”.  The Dean of my program didn’t share my line of thinking.  It was on the last day of clinical that I called my professor and told her that I wasn’t coming.  It was a short time later that the Dean called me with an ultimatum: go and see a counselor or you’ll be released from the program.  I was stuck.  My refusing to go to clinical that day actually lifted a load off of my shoulders.  However, I saw a greater load up ahead that came with getting kicked out of the program.   There were my student loans that I couldn’t pay back on a hostess’ wages, being a failure in the eyes of all of my peers and folks back home, having to live with my mother for God only knows how long until I came up with another plan and then after coming up with another plan… having to start all over again.   The thought alone was enough to roll myself out of bed, by pass the shower, skip  changing out of my pajamas, and go to see the counselor.

It was on that day that I was diagnosed with moderate depression.  Continued therapy in addition to an antidepressant was recommend.  At the time I was adamantly against medication.  I was a nursing student.  I had the drug guide and was fully aware of the adverse reactions of those medications.   An alternative to prescription medication was the over-the-counter medicinal herb hypericum perforatum, or St. John’s Wort, commonly used to treat depression.   My hopes were thwarted however, when a handful of my professors raised concerns about the adverse reaction of heart palpitations.  That was enough for me.  I gave up on psychiatric treatment for a time and I just continued to see the therapist.  I don’t remember telling anyone of my diagnosis or my therapy sessions.  Other than the nursing department faculty that were privy to my ordeal, I had no other support.  Nor did I seek it.

What I knew to be my "social support system" was not equipped to support me.  My mother suffered with depression.  Although she would drown her sorrows in alcohol for a time, she was in denial therefore she never sought treatment.  My best friend’s mother suffered with depression as well.  I call her my second mom.  She not only sought treatment but she was also placed on medication.  I learned of her struggle over the pulpit one Sunday morning as she “preached” her first message from the topic of miraculous healing.  Specifically, she proclaimed that God told her she didn’t have depression and instructed her to flush her meds down the toilet.  I would later over hear a cynical conversation between my second mom's mother and siblings debunking the realness of depression.   Which was odd to me since one of her siblings had a nervous disorder when she was younger.  Her symptoms were physical, everyone could see it... so it was somehow different.  Before my depression was diagnosed, I became the product of my environment.  For these and many other reasons,  I would continue to suffer my illness alone and in shame.

next in series: Not Long After