Treatment, or Lack Thereof

Treatment is rather important in dealing and coping with depression.  Unfortunately for me, I did not seek treatment for some time after kiddo was born.  It all goes back to feelings of shame and fear.  If I seek treatment and tell the doctor how I feel, will they commit me or take my daughter away?  I obviously needed help, but I did not want to lose my family.

I had gone to the doctor around the time kiddo was six months old.  I had originally thought my problems were due to a faulty thyroid.  I had gone to the Naval Hospital on the military base we were living on near San Diego.  The doctor ordered a blood test, and told me he thought my problems were hormonal.  He never asked me about depression or thoughts on how I was feeling since my daughter was born, but I suppose I did not expect him to since I had not mentioned anything like that.

The first time I actually went to a doctor for my depression was after the fight I had with my husband about hurting myself or my daughter.  I talked about this in my entry yesterday.  Somehow he knew I was having thoughts of suicide, and thoughts of hurting my daughter.  I had never spoken to him about it, and I thought I had hidden it well.  Obviously that was not the case, and now my husband knew my dark secret.  I got defensive and denied it, and that was the moment I knew I needed help.  I was apparently not very good at concealing the fact that I had the horrible thoughts, and my behavior was enough to alarm my husband.  It was time to go to my doctor.

I had gone through the motions of switching to a civilian doctor due to other experiences I had at the Naval Hospital.  I found one that had been recommended to me by a friend, so I made the call to talk about my depression.  Husband was able to take  the time off so I could go to the doctor without having to also deal with kiddo.  After arriving and having the normal doctor visit routine done, the doctor came back and we started to talk.  I talked about my feelings, like being sad and irritable all the time.  I mentioned how easily I became angry and annoyed, and how I had trouble sleeping and concentrating.  He never looked at me, just looked down at his notebook and wrote things down.  I started to feel self-conscious and afraid, so I never once mentioned my suicidal thoughts, or my occasional dark thoughts towards my daughter.  I stopped talking, and the when he was finally done writing in his notebook (for all I knew he was doodling), the first thing he said to me was, “So, you’re being bitchy.  I bet your husband could use some meds to help cope with that.”  I just looked at him and my eyes started to water.  Bitchy?  I had not considered that.  Maybe I just had a bad case of the bitchies.  He went on to mention giving me a prescription for Prozac, only 20 mg since it was “all in my head.”  I felt offended at that point because I knew it was not all in my head.  I knew this was not normal, and more than a case of the bitchies.  I took the prescription, paid my co-pay and never went back to him.  Instead of holding harsh feelings towards this man, I have passed it off as him being old school since he was in his 70’s, and back when he went to Medical School, it was probably considered bitchy.

I took the Prozac for a few months, and then husband and I had decided we wanted to have another baby.  I was feeling good mentally, had not felt the dark feelings in a while, so I figured it was time to continue on the life path I assumed we were on.  I stopped taking my medication, and we tried for a couple of months.  I ended up hurting my back pretty bad, to the point to where I found myself on the floor unable to get up.  This was not the time to have another, so we stopped trying.  I did not, however, get back on my Prozac.  As the time went on, my feelings came back.  There was more time between the moments I had the dark feelings, which was great, but I was still having them.  I had a new doctor, but I never went to her about my depression.  July of 2010 came, and it was time for us to PCS (move in simple terms) to a new base.

This move was hard.  I had wanted to move thinking a change of scenery would be good.  We had lived in the desert before we lived near the beach, so I knew what was there.  We had great friends in the desert who were still there, so husband was able to get bis orders back there.  We were excited to move, and kiddo was excited to go to a new house.  I did not expect dark feelings to surface again, I thought the move would be good for me.  I was wrong.  The house we moved into was temporary and horrible.  It was dead of summer, so it was terribly hot in the house, even with portable  air conditioners.  I noticed myself moving deeper and deeper into the darkness as the days went on.  Husband eventually had to start training for his upcoming deployment, so he was gone for days and weeks at a time.  This was the first time he had to do this extensive training since kiddo was born.  He was always there for me when I needed him, his former command was awesome in that sense.

The month husband was gone for training is when it got worse.  I found myself on several occasions just sitting on the floor crying, in front of my daughter no less.  I never used to do that.  I would go and hide in the bathroom or in my car, just so she would not see me in such a pathetic moment.  I knew my problems were already causing trouble for kiddo, I did not need her seeing my that way too.  She comforted me by kissing my cheeks and wiping my eyes.  I hugged her deep, and appreciated her so much at that point.  I wanted her to know my love too, even if mommy had a hard time showing it.

The point of breaking down and going to a new doctor at the new Naval Hospital was at night.  Husband was still gone on training, and kiddo was asleep in my room.  I was watching some TV, and got bored with it.  I shut it off, and just sat there thinking.  I felt the pain I was in mentally.  It started to get worse, and my headed even started pounding.  I went into the bathroom, say on the side of the bathtub, and started crying again.  I was having dark thoughts just speeding through my mind, one right after another.  I wanted it to end so badly, I actually hit myself on the back of my head.  It obviously did not work, and I started to think of other ways to make the thoughts go away.  The only thing I could think of was making it end by shutting it down, and the only way I could think to shut it down was by killing myself.  As soon as that thought came into my head, I heard kiddo yelling for me from my room.  Her cries for me were enough to snap me out of it.  It took me a moment to get up, as I was in shock at what had just happened.  I go help kiddo, and once she is asleep I go back into the bathroom, fall on the floor, and cry.  I cried so hard my head throbbed more, my eyes were swollen, and an hour had passed since kiddo woke up.  When I finally stopped, I wrote myself a note and left it in the kitchen.  It was a reminder for me to call my doctor the next morning.

The new doctor was awesome.  She recommended some psychologists in town, and have me a new prescription for Prozac (same dosage though).  She had an aura about her that was caring and warm, like she wanted to help me and see me get better.  She knew it was depression and not the bitchies, and I am so thankful for her.  I never went to those psychologists, but the medication worked for a while.  A few months after is when I started to notice it wasn’t working as well as it used to.  I was nowhere near as deep into it as I used to be, but I see a difference in when I felt good on the medications and now.  I need to go back to the doctor, and am calling them tomorrow to make an appointment.  I had been on the search for a psychiatrist, but the only one worth seeing was not taking new patients.  I think getting on some new medications is a good start while I continue to search for someone professional to talk to.

There is such a fear among people with depression in seeking treatment, and it’s quite unfortunate.  Treatment is the only way to be back the darkness.  I have been told before to just talk myself out of it, and that can work in certain cases.  However, true depression is a chemical imbalance, and needs to be treated with medication and therapy.  Do not be afraid to seek help, even if it takes time and a few doctors to find the right treatment for you.  It’s very worth the trouble, and only wish I had done so sooner.


12 thoughts on “Treatment, or Lack Thereof

  1. Oh how I wish we still lived next door to one another! I have been reading your blogs and my heart hurts for you. I get it. I really get it. We moved about a month ago. It has not been good, at least not mentally for me. I am so thankful that you are actively pursuing treatment. Depression is one of the easiest to treat! Your honesty in your writings is refreshing!

  2. I so admire your honest writing. I know from my experience of living with a parent who suffered with depression how hard it can be for a depressed person to seek help – for all sorts of reasons. If you reach out to even one other person (I’m sure it will be many more than that) and make them feel less isolated and more able to seek help, then your blog will have achieved something brilliant.

  3. Thank you very much! I may not be a great writer, but I think honestly is a good thing. I have nothing to hide anymore. I actually feel pretty good after I write an entry.

  4. You’re right. Something makes me refuse the thought of therapy every time. I must conclude that it’s fear. Fear of what, exactly, I’m not sure. Maybe just the whole process of it and not knowing how to navigate it. But also, I think it’s the stigma of mental health treatment. I’m still working hard to put on the mask everyday and keep everything under wraps. I’m afraid of people’s reactions to what I myself see as a terrible weakness and failure on my part.

    • I still get weird when I think about looking for a mental health doctor. My search has been less than successful, and I often wonder if it’s worth the trouble. I hold on to the hope that it is, because life has to be better when I am not feeling like this. I just don’t really remember life before depression.

  5. I myself suffer with depression and it took me about 10-11 years before I seeked help, which was a big mistake but less about me, my fiancé also suffers with post natal depression and in the same sense, she went for a while not wanting to admit how she was feeling etc… and she was also become extremely “bitchy” but luckily, I know what it’s like to be depressed and after an epic argument where she had lost her temper over something really minor, I took her to a doctor who she really didn’t want to go see (didn’t give her a choice in this matter) and now she’s on medication for anxiety and depression and is feeling so much better for it.

    A couple of weeks in, she thanked me for making her go and making her admit what was wrong.

    Now the healing begins!

    • Good for you for making her go. Sometimes people have to be forced to see what’s going on. It may not have been a pretty process, but it worked and she is feeling better. Husband had mentioned thinking I needed to go, but I blew him off. I wish I had gone sooner, but the lesson has been learned.

      Happy Healing!! I hope life is moving along much more beautifully. 🙂

  6. i did not know that BITCHY was an old school medical diagnosis….. i thought that is what women did to eachother when we were mad….. i dont know how you sat there any longer?? i HATE when i am talking to a Dr (or anyone) and they are looking down the entire time….. makes me feel like i am talking to the wall. i have noticed that when it comes to talking about my depression, i need the other party (the dr) to be more involved in the conversation and ask me some questions, cause like you, i have a tendency to clam up!

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