(This blog tells my family's story. To see more, click "blog" at the top of this webpage.)
Dear Readers: This post is not typical. This is about my struggle with depression in Massachusetts. Thanks for following! -Cindy ❤
I usually was not an excessive worrier. The crippling anxiety I experienced earlier, after Beth’s spinal cord injury, had been triggered by guilt and deadly health risks. When I lived near Harvard, I worried only a bit about all my children, and general things like them finding meaningful work and a loving partner. Maria and Ben had significant others; however, my youngest felt no rush to date. She had a very full plate. Both of my girls thought it appalling that I had married one week before my nineteenth birthday, much too young in their minds. We had no way of knowing that Beth’s first steady boyfriend lived across Harvard Yard in another freshman dorm, or that they would not meet until graduate school in another state.
At the end of the school year, my mood plummeted quickly after I gradually discontinued Zoloft.
I banked on my body adjusting over time, and it did, but not in the direction I hoped. At the same time, my roommate Janet left for Ohio to be married, which meant I needed to move out of the apartment before her honeymoon ended. For the month until the school year finished, when I would drive home to Ohio with Beth, I arranged to sleep on a sofa bed in a Coop friend’s apartment north of campus.
On my moving day, I woke up to an alarming new low, exacerbated by a piercing, throbbing headache and a flare of intense fibromyalgia.
I relied daily on Celebrex, an anti-inflammatory medicine, to reduce the headache. Unfortunately, the maximum dose couldn’t reach this higher level. Over-the-counter pain drugs didn’t work for me, and I had a bad reaction to opiates, so there were no good pain options. Deep sadness stung, mentally and physically. Every small thing seemed much too difficult. I forced myself to go through the motions for my morning personal care assistant job, barely saying a word and wiping tears away discreetly. After, I trudged through the thirty-minute walk from the Quad to my apartment on auto drive.
I passed through the tiny apartment for the last time to take the garbage out, my steps creaking on the uneven floor. Janet bought my bed, and I left her my lamp and the bedding. When I pushed my key under Janet’s door, I carried my duffel, the same one I moved in with eight months earlier. I left the duffel in the trunk of the car.
I had the day off from the Coop and planned to move into my temporary housing that evening. I stood at a corner, overwhelmed by sadness and the simple choice of which street to cross. And the idea of moving to a friend’s apartment where I’d never been before. The sunny day colored in despair, carrying me back to my old guilt and regret. I couldn’t stop crying. I felt weak and worthless.
Frustrated and embarrassed, I decided not to reach out to John, or anyone.
I didn’t have anywhere to go, no bed to curl up on, so I rode the T into Boston with the plan of hiding in a movie theater while I regained control. Instead, I paced in the expanse of the Boston Common, trying to calm down enough to call my friend Bonnie. I told her I’d move in the next day instead of that evening. I walked aimlessly, not caring how I looked. Far from home, I didn't know anyone in Boston. Even in tears, I certainly wasn’t the strangest sight in the Common on that or any other day.
Next: Depression and Hope!
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