May 3, 2012  •  In Depression, Personal

At a Crossroads

My “big announcement” isn’t so much of an announcement as it is an update for those who read this and genuinely care about what has been going on in my life and what caused, and will continue to contribute to my absence from this blog.

My depression has returned. I am back on therapy and meds.

I am not entirely sure what caused my black hole of despair to return. Sometimes there really is no reason for depression — it is a horrible illness I would not wish on my worst enemy — but I do know that the past couple of years have been particularly rough on me, and the past few months have been some of the most trying on me and my family.

I knew that I needed help when I would start crying whenever I was alone. And because finding ANY alone time is so difficult these days, I would cry the most while in the bathroom. A hot blubbering mess in the shower? A regular occurrence. Sobbing while on the crapper? As pathetic as it sounds, this happened/happens all too often.

I knew that I needed help when I had a sudden urge to smack my child for being fussy. I have NEVER had violent thoughts toward my children before and this scared the crap out of me. I called J at work in tears, and asked him to come home immediately because I didn’t trust myself with the girls.

I knew that I needed help when just the act of getting out of bed became too unbearable to even think about. When I looked forward to each and every day with dread. When I failed to see joy in my children’s smiles. When I wanted SO badly to check myself into a mental institution and the only thing holding me back was knowing that we could not afford it.

I knew that I needed help when I began to have repeated and detailed thoughts of death and suicide and how much better off all my loved ones would be without me.

Both my psychiatrist and psychologist have told me that my getting out of bed, getting dressed and making it to their offices were courageous acts. They tell me that if I were not brave, I would have given in to the disease. I would not be taking care of my kids and trying to support my parents despite the fact that it physically pains me to even just sit up. When it takes all my energy to not be crying ALL the time.

But I certainly do not feel courageous.

And as much as I love my parents, even after all my struggles with depression in the past, they still questioned me when I finally confessed to them my condition: can it be that I’m just being overly dramatic, too pessimistic, too selfish, too irresponsible, and too lazy?

Who knows? Perhaps they are right. I am working hard to find the answer.

 

81 Responses to “At a Crossroads”

  1. Annika says:

    You are also incredibly courageous for sharing this news with all of us.

    As I’ve been through the darkness of depression, I know what it can feel like, for me. As every individual feels and goes through their own battle with it, I won’t say I know how you feel. But I will say, you have the support of many.

    I am not a mother, but I have gained insight and respect for those going through postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD (not saying you have postpartum). It’s eye-opening, and will hopefully prepare me if I ever face it in the future. You may find comfort, support and a connection with the writers here: http://postpartumprogress.com/

    Sending you strength, light, and love–you are strong and you will get through this. I wish you all the best.

  2. patricia says:

    Take care of yourself. Know that we all support you 100%! The fact that you’re seeking help is a huge step, and a courageous one. Stay strong. Sending you lots of love and good thoughts.

  3. Sunny says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. My mom has had depression before and you are so strong to take care of it before it gets the best of you. Just keep on keeping on, things will get better.

  4. Mina says:

    your courageous acts also include acknowledging the depression, getting help, and talking about it. you are an amazingly strong person. sending you hugs–you will get through this.

  5. Turtle says:

    Admitting that you can’t/have to/shouldn’t do it alone is a courageous and truthful act. Lean on others, take care of yourself, and remember by getting help you are giving your daughters, your marriage, and yourself a great gift. Best wishes as you take these brave steps.

  6. Lori says:

    [hugs!]

    thank you for sharing your journey and struggles with us. i’ve been trying to deal w/ a rollercoaster of emotions after baby boy as well. my thoughts and prayers are with you that you overcome it and find joy in the little things again!

  7. Jenna says:

    We’ve only met that one time at Bee’s party, but Jenny I love you. I really do. We are bee sisters and internet friends and I really care about you. And I’m so happy you are getting help. Hugs and love.

  8. BB says:

    I just wanted to congratulate you on reaching out for help. My mom waited until I (her youngest of 3 children) was in elementary school before she got help, so we had years of her not always being able to drag herself out of bed or get excited about life. You made a great move for yourself and your family.

  9. Erin says:

    Oh Jenny! Depression is very real and it was incredibly courageous of you to seek out help. I hope that you can continue to ask for help so that you can get proper amounts of sleep, and sufficient kid-free time to do the things that used to bring you happiness. Regarding your parents, depression is difficult to understand for people in many different cultures. While the content of their message may be off-base and hurtful, their motives are loving. Wishing you all the best!

  10. ann says:

    Huge hugs to you. You are very courageous. I am so glad that you reached out for help and very glad that you wrote about it. Perhaps it will help others to realize that they too need to reach out for help if they are feeling as you are. My thoughts and prayer go out to you. Thank you and take care.

  11. Lauren says:

    I will be keeping you in my thoughts!

  12. Sandy says:

    I wish I lived near you to give you a hug and help out in some small way. You are doing the brave thing…I am also Korean-American and depression is so misunderstood among the older generation. You are a great mom and I know things will get better…hang in there and take care of yourself. I’ll be thinking of you and your family an looking forward to an update when you feel better.

  13. balebusta says:

    Jenny, you did the absolute 100% correct thing by getting help. Depression is an awful beast and I agree — it is not something I would wish on my worst enemy. I’ll be thinking of you and directing my special psychdoc healing powers your way.

  14. Kalen says:

    Thinking of you, brave girl. You’ll find relief soon.

  15. MarcieT says:

    Did you know your diagnosis and disclosure happened during Mental Health Month in the United States? You are very brave to have gotten out of bed, sought treatment, talked to your family, and disclosed your illness to the world via your blog.

    Here are some resources I hope might be helpful to you and your readership:

    Information on Asian-American women and Depression from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (the largest family & patient voice in the country for information on mental illness) http://www.nami.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Mental_Illnesses/Women_and_Depression/Depression_and_Asian_American_Women_Fact_Sheet.htm

    Suicide hotline: 1-800-273-TALK and their website is http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

    For those not contemplating suicide but who find themselves lonely or needing to hear the voice of another adult, I suggest calling a Warm Line. There is a listing of several here: http://www.warmline.org/

    Another good mental health resource website is Mental Health America: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/may

    Peer-operated centers and recovery-based services are another aspect of mental health recovery that have a long history in New York and the surrounding states. Call your local NAMI and/or Mental Health America office to get a listing of all these resources, most of which are provided free of charge and have been proven to help. Additional information on recovery can be found here (from SAMHSA, a government agency): http://www.recoverymonth.gov/

    I hope this comment helps and doesn’t overwhelm you or any readers. You have taken a brave step for sure! Thanks for contributing to the reduction in the stigma of mental illness by posting openly about your illness. As more people reveal their struggles, they share hope and a positive view of recovery.

  16. Jessica says:

    Big, big hug to you. You absolutely did the right thing for yourself and your family, and you’ll be in my thoughts and prayers!

  17. Katie says:

    You are so brave for blogging about something so misunderstood. It’s funny to me when I start talking about my own bouts of depression (I also currently and reluctantly on meds, but feeling much better!) I realize that even though many people understand the concept, they have no idea what it actually feels like. Thank you for sharing such raw feelings with us your readers. I will be praying for you and your family. <3

  18. You ARE brave, Jenny. There is a lot of research evidence showing that older Asians (our parents!) have a tendency to somaticize their symptoms, before admitting that they are depressed. Case in point: My mother being totally non-functional and unable to work because of her “eyes” a.k.a. clinical depression. I’ve struggled with depression myself and I know that sometimes it just appears. Surprise! You are unhappy! I also went to a psychiatrist after I was having trouble sleeping through the night, but she was confident that right now, I’m just overwhelmed with med. school. Anyway, this is not about me. I just wanted you to know that you are not alone and that I am so impressed with you being able to ask for help AND keep up with your babies. That is no small feat, and you’re going to be just fine.

  19. Daph says:

    (hugs) I was wondering because I really love your blog. So glad you are getting help and really hope you’re better soon!

  20. Holley says:

    You are definitely brave. How much braver does it get than admitting you are struggling publicly like this? My heart goes out to you & I hope you find the healing you need to feel better soon.

  21. Donna says:

    Sending virtual hugs. You are brave for not only going through this but acknowledging it. I will keep you and your family in my prayers as you do what is best for yourself and your family.

  22. sophia says:

    Sending prayers and positive energy to you, Jenny. Thank you for sharing. I love reading your blog, and I look forward to your posts. I’m very sorry for this difficult time you’re going through, and I wish you and your entire family nothing but the best! Fighting!

  23. Desi says:

    Mental health is just as important as physical health- you’re doing what’s best for you AND your family. You are not being selfish or lazy.

  24. Kayla says:

    Take care of yourself. Doing what’s best for you is also what’s best for your family.

    Thinking of you,
    Kayla

  25. Christiana says:

    I’m so sorry you’re struggling with this. Admitting it and trying to get better are very brave actions. It doesn’t matter what other people think—they aren’t the ones experiencing what you’re experiencing. :( My thoughts are with you! <3

  26. Jen says:

    I really admire your honesty, and I hope that therapy and meds help! I’ve struggled with depression in the past and it is good you are getting help.

  27. Mifocals says:

    Thank you for sharing!

    My sister suffers from bipolar depression and I suffered from some serious postpartum depression this past year after my daughter was born.

    It is so very real and scary. I know all too well how much of an effort it takes to just get out of bed, put clothes on, brush your teeth…when you don’t even want to or know how to face the day.

    I hope that you find some relief SOON and find some support. It is such a shame that our parents’ generation doesn’t understand mental health issues, but I hope you can find someone to talk to…

    Hugs and prayers to you.

  28. Jenny… you are incredibly brave. Depression is real, hard, and difficult. Being able to name it and say it is so hard. I am thinking of you and your family. BIG HUGS! I am sending you some extra juju in case you need it. I’m sure the journey won’t be easy, so you lean whenever you need it, k?

  29. amy says:

    Thank you for your courage to face your fears! You are so brave for being able to share with online.
    You are a great mother and wife so you deserve every chance of happiness.
    Best of luck Jenny!!

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