The Dark Days

August 28, 2007 at 8:12 pm (Faith)

So here, it is…the story of my journey through depression. Of course this is the condensed-made-for-Sunday-morning-TV version.

So first watch the video, then come back and read the in-between part of my story.

Depression Testimony Video

(If you want to see the whole Sunday morning message and testimony you can view it at our church web site.)

 

Back? Okay.

So it took a minimum of 6 months of misery before I had that "revelation" that I talk about in the video. It was at that point that I finally began to share with those around me what was going on – Mark, Kristen, Stacey. To this day, none of those 3 people probably knew the whole story, or the depth of it. It was something that I had never really put into words until preparing this testimony.

Turns out Kristen had been experiencing similar things and was already on meds. I think in talking to her I finally realized that "Yes, this might actually be depression." Before I had written that word off. I thought because I was functioning that I couldn’t possibly be that bad off. WRONG! I’m apparently, just amazingly stubborn.

So I finally went to see my doctor who, God bless her, happens to have a real interest in psychiatric medicine so, while it wasn’t her specialty she was very well versed. She went through the list of questions that went something like this…

  • Have you lost interest in normal daily activities and/or hobbies you enjoy?
  • Do you have crying spells? Feel sad or hopeless?
  • Do you have trouble sleeping or want to sleep too much?
  • Do you have trouble concentrated and making decisions?
  • Do you have an increased or decreased appetite?
  • Are you restless, agitated, irritable and easily annoyed?
  • Do you have less interest in sex?

Yes, yes, yes….

The only question I said no to was "Have you had thoughts of suicide?" I think my actual response was, "Are you kidding, and leave my husband to take care of the kids alone? They’d eat cheese crisps every day for the rest of their lives." (Moment of humor to break up the tears that were flowing by that point. I’m sure if something does ever happen to me they’ll be fine – he does know how to make other stuff.)

I was diagnosed with clinical depression and put on anti-depressants (Wellbutrin has worked well for me). We talked a bit about my family history. My paternal grandmother dealt with depression – I remember several severe episodes growing up. 

Luckily Wellbutrin seems to work faster than some of the other drugs that can take a couple of weeks before you see an improvement. I remember waking up one Saturday morning about 3 or 4 days after my doctor’s appt. I got in the shower and all of a sudden in dawned on me – I was actually in a good mood (well as good a mood as I get in the morning). It was amazing and I felt such a huge sense of relief.

It still took me a couple of months to tell the rest of the family about my depression. Friends too. It’s one of those things that’s kind of hard to just work into conversation. "Hi, how are you?" "Good now that I’m on anti-depressants." See what I mean?

I was on meds for about two years before I weaned off of them. I’ve been back on them once since then. I can spot the warning signs now and that helps.

So this is already really long, so I’ll be back with another post about some of the things that helped me as I was coming out of the depression.
…….

On a completely shallow note one of the first things I thought when the video started to play for the first time was "Dang, my hair looks GOOD!" (Go Jen!) And just for the record I’ve had like 4 other people tell me that too, so it’s not just me being vain 🙂

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5 Comments

  1. Jenny said,

    Thanks for sharing Julie, I really miss you! I have so much on my heart and I won’t write it all here, it would be a very long comment:) You are such an amazing person and your strength and faith is incredible. I love you! sil

  2. Kim said,

    WOW, I have waited a week for today and it was well worth it. Thank you for sharing! I am looking forward to the next entry…

  3. Tina said,

    Thank you for your courage to do this. Your going to help so many people through your story.

  4. Theresa Locastro said,

    k, first thing I thought…”Wow her hair looks good!” I swear it, not sure what was different but it looks awfully cute.

    On a serious note, I can relate a lot of what you are/was going through. Kudos to you for speaking out about such a difficult topic. xoxo

  5. Julie said,

    Come on – Those aren’t just any cheese-crisp… They are gourmet pepperoni quesadillas.

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