a flaw in chemistry
(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!
6/27/2018 06:37:44 pm
This one was difficult to read, but so very enlightening. For those who have never experienced depression, it is difficult to understand. Once again, thanks for bearing your soul and providing some very very important insight!
6/28/2018 07:42:38 pm
Thank you, my friend! It is difficult for me, too, to share such a personal experience. Since I first published it, I added a bit of a warning at the beginning of the post.
6/27/2018 07:14:19 pm
I absolutely adore this post, not because of your pain...but, because it's vulnerable.
6/28/2018 07:50:12 pm
Being vulnerable isn’t a fun thing to write about, but I hope it helps someone in a similar situation. For years, I was in denial about it. Now, I’m attempting to write authentically about depression and pain.
6/28/2018 09:57:27 am
This post is like a neural pathway connecting you to the world. I value how you use the gift of your writing to share this.
6/28/2018 07:59:39 pm
It’s humbling how powerful those neural pathways can be. And how devastating depression can be, despite being grateful and despite being loved. Thank goodness for controlled depression, and for supportive friends like you!
6/28/2018 01:11:57 pm
Oh Cindy my heart goes out to you. Having no where to go and the uncertainty of continuing and stable accommodation is gut wrenching. I know as this is the life my wife and I are leading and have for the past 18 months.
6/28/2018 08:16:51 pm
Bill, I’m sorry to hear that your housing is still uncertain! This post describes an unusual day after I moved out of an apartment and before I moved in with a work friend. I checked into a hotel later that day, for one night, since I didn’t feel well and wanted to be alone. But starting the next day, I slept on my friend’s sofa bed for a few weeks until I drove home to Ohio with Beth. As you know, not feeling well can be difficult to manage at times. I hope you find good long term housing soon!
6/29/2018 04:30:29 pm
Wow, Cindy, I've experienced depression before, but never that profound. I guess it felt much worse to me at the time. You are a warrior for what you've been through and for how you are writing about it. I applaud you for your bravery!
6/30/2018 09:15:14 pm
Thank you, Jill! This post was difficult thing to write, but I hope my experience will help someone better understand the power of depression. And how it can happen to people like me who feel loved and who have much to be grateful for! <3
Despite feeling guilt, you never gave up and always made yourself available to your children. I love that you have a strong spirit and continue to do whatever you can to move forward. Sometimes, it's hard to reach out to others. Sending you lots of love.
6/30/2018 09:27:40 pm
Thanks, Nancy! My daughter is the strong one, but she did teach me to never give up. And she showed me that hope wins, too!
7/4/2018 03:27:16 pm
Cindy, I'm sorry to hear about your depression. I wish you well and hope your new roommate will be a listening ear if or when you need to talk.
7/4/2018 06:34:59 pm
Thanks, Val! Thankfully, my depression is controlled now and isn't a problem.
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