(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 the second (and last) segment about my struggle with depression in Massachusetts. Thanks for following! -Cindy ❤
Five years had passed since Beth’s spinal cord injury and I had so much to be thankful for. I felt loved. I usually focused on gratitude and had no reason to feel despair. But when I gradually discontinued a medication, there it was, unbidden.
With this sudden new depression, life became overwhelming.
I thought about Beth not needing me in Cambridge for the next school year. The idea of her at Harvard and me in Ohio triggered old fears of health risks. How could I be in another state? What about pneumonia? What if a car hit her when she crossed the congested streets? What if she picked up a superbug virus from her chair wheels and antibiotics failed?
With worst-case scenarios swarming in my head, I rode the T back to Harvard Square and hurried to Beth’s car, relieved not to see anyone I knew on the way. I drove to Fresh Pond in western Cambridge to one of the cheapest hotels in the area. Still expensive at eighty dollars a night.
In my hotel room, sleep eluded me. With a searing headache, I thought about going to a hospital, but I wanted to hide this from my family. Beth was across town, but I refused to cry on her shoulder. I especially needed to call John.
However, I was determined not to worry the people I loved the most.
I dozed toward morning. It was my day off from the personal care assistant job, thankfully. In the light of day, it seemed obvious that body chemistry and chronic pain played big roles in my depression. Thoroughly humbled, I called my Ohio doctor’s office for a new Zoloft prescription. I braced myself for uncomfortable hours and days until the medicine helped again.
I called off work at the Coop and stayed in the hotel room with the television and lights off until checkout time. I couldn’t justify another expensive hotel night, but after I checked out, I had nowhere to go. My friend Bonnie worked second shift and I couldn’t move in to her apartment until 9:30 p.m.
Too restless and teary to sit or read or write, I wandered through the afternoon and evening. No longer in denial about depression, and stuck with a dependency to Zoloft. At the same time, I made peace with the fact that I needed medicine to function.
I rewarded myself for not spending another night in a hotel by purchasing a new Life is Good shirt with a peace sign. The company’s philanthropy resonated with me, as well as their motto.
“Life is not perfect. Life is not easy. Life is Good.” Amen.
Next: Home Sweet Home!
7/5/2018 08:31:59 am
Thank you Cindy for another moving post. I can relate to all you share in this piece. Significant life changes can be especially challenging and can set off relapses that intensify our need for medication or other coping mechanisms to get us through. Kudos to you for finding the strength to get through this and finding the courage to accept the reality that "Life is not perfect. Life is not easy. Life is good".
7/6/2018 04:04:17 pm
Challenges are difficult to share. However, when I do, I'm often humbled to see how my posts resonate with so many others with all kinds of challenges. Thanks for your support, Joan!
7/5/2018 08:54:01 am
Well, cuz, I cried when I read this and I'm still crying. I dealt with depression more than once and the last time was 20 or so years ago, but I can remember it like it happened yesterday. The pain is profound. Again, BRAVO to you for speaking out about your personal experience. This can help others so much.
7/6/2018 04:10:26 pm
Jill, I'm sad that I made you cry with this post, though you've told me that other blogs have made you smile, so I hope it's a balance! I'm sorry to hear about your depression, too. The pain of it is hard to understand for those who haven't experienced it. I read somewhere that depression lies. I think that's true, since it convinces us that things are hopeless when they're not. Thanks for commenting!
Esther S Merves
7/5/2018 10:02:41 am
I second the BRAVO for speaking out and sharing your pain. I would offer this: no apologies needed. Depression is part of life for most people, some more intensely than others. The more we normalize this experience, the better. Thank you again.
7/6/2018 04:19:24 pm
Thank you, Esther! Yes, I agree about apologies. Mine was less for my depression and more for family members and friends who feel bad when they read some of this. Even though they know it was my decision not to share this when it happened, since I didn't want to worry them. p.s.- I haven't forgotten about meeting you in DC, I just haven't been there recently. I'll see Beth in Ohio later this month, so maybe August or September? Looking forward to it!
Wow, Cindy. I didn't realize before just how crazy everything could still be for you, even though Beth was doing well and settled into Harvard. I'm sorry you've had to suffer with continued depression, but so glad you could be honest with yourself and seek the help you need. We all want you to feel strong and happy and to be at peace with yourself.
7/6/2018 04:23:01 pm
Thanks, Amy! It was up and down for awhile, especially with pain flareups. Beth has always been the strong one of the two of us! With love and support, I'm very grateful that I am doing well now.
7/5/2018 05:29:33 pm
Again, I adore this one for the vulnerableness of it.
7/6/2018 04:25:21 pm
You're welcome, Jason. I hadn't thought about our story through the lens of a para. Interesting! Thanks for commenting!
I'm sorry that you had to go through that fear. I give you so much respect for doing whatever you can to put Beth and others in front of you. Sometimes, we have to go to medicine for help and it actually works. It's great that you rewarded yourself. Keep on rocking!
7/6/2018 04:28:53 pm
Thanks, Nancy! I appreciate your compliment about putting others first, though I've learned since then to take better care of myself. And yes, finding what works is so important!
Hi Cindy, I sure feel for you! Depression is so nasty and makes life so much more difficult than it needs to be. As someone who is a lot older than you and who's been through the issues of worrying and depression both, the one thing that I've only recognized in the last couple years, is that for all the things you worry about, most of them never happen. I finally realized that the hours and years that I spent worrying about myriad 'what if's' was a complete waste of time. Please try to remember that when that little 'worry-monster' tries to give you a poke and set you off in that direction. Hard to do I know, but I found that helps in dealing with the grey fog that almost always wants to accompany the fiend that's trying to steal your joy. Good luck dear.
7/9/2018 08:09:41 pm
Thank you, Debrah, for the good advice! And welcome to my blog. Most of my story has more to do with unexpected adventures with my daughter after her spinal cord injury, from our small town in Ohio and around the world.
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