I often wonder how many people live with depression every day and don't realize that there is anything wrong. I spoke with an acquaintance on the weekend. I have known this lady for a few years now and we have spoken many times, but never really had a good discussion. We talked about changes that my hubby has recently made regarding his job and the topic turned to the lack of extended health benefits that we no longer have. She mentioned that we could purchase our own plan. This I was aware of. The problem is that with most of the plans as soon as there is an existing condition they don't cover the medications associated. I mentioned that my medication wouldn't be covered anyhow and then we got onto the topic of what I was on medication for. It turns out that she too suffers from Bipolar Disorder or what is referred to as Manic Depression. I would never have guessed in a million years that she suffered from it. She seems to be so happy go lucky all the time, always stops to chat and has a smile for everyone. It turns out most of it is a show. She stopped by on Sunday morning as I was getting ready to go and take some pictures and she stood on my deck in tears and told me it was a really bad day and she really needed a hug. I hugged her and held her tight. I can relate to those bad days, but I tend to pull away and I'm not sure I would have been able to stand and cry and ask for a hug the way she did. It did give me strength. I know I'm not alone fighting the sad feelings and the mood swings. There is no way to tell what kind of day it's going to be. I woke up on Saturday knowing I had to face a funeral and then head off for the rest of the weekend. I was feeling good before I left and I am not sure what triggered the crying attack. Was it the funeral itself? Was it the mention by the priest of another friend whose funeral was held in the same chapel 18 months previously? Or was it just a day that started out good, fell flat in the middle and then after talking to someone else who understood it leveled out and I was able to get through the evening?
This time of year (change of the seasons) is a difficult time for anyone who suffers from Depression or those that suffer SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder. Is it a coincidence that I was very close to breakdown in April and into May and then leveled out again for most of the summer and am now on an upswing? I have started crafting, knitting, and reading again. Maybe it's just that my medication has started to really become effective for me and I will soon be back to my old self. It could be too that we are back into a routine and I know I no longer have to return to my job as per my Doctor's instructions and that alone has eased some of the stress. Who knows?
There are so many unknowns with depression and those who suffer from it. It took me a very long time to learn that just because I was feeling better it wasn't OK to stop taking my pills. It was the pills that were helping me feel better. It still took time for me to realize this spring that I was crashing. I know all the warning signs, but there is still a stigma associated with any Mental Illness. It is still a subject that isn't talked about. It needs to be talked about and people need to understand that there is no way to avoid it and that it's OK to tell people or to ask for that hug when you need it.
I feel fortunate most days that I have very understanding friends and family. My employer on the other hand seemed to have no understanding that I couldn't help how I was feeling or that a good nights sleep wouldn't cure it all. I have chosen to surround myself with those who do know what it's like, can feel sympathetic, and don't judge me because this is how my body works.
Hmmm..wondering. I think it's been a good thing today...