Friday, 16 July 2010

My Secret Shame - Depression

For the last three years the only reason I have managed to get through the day is due to the drugs I have taken.  I suffer with depression you see and I finally feel that I am able to let you all know that I am not superwoman and that I could not and have not managed to get through the trials in my life alone.

You see the thing is, you shouldn't have to get through them alone and  I have been very, very lucky in that the mental health care I have received has been second to none, right from the very start.

So I have decided it is time to "come out" and to share what it has been like for me, the boys and MadDad over the last 3 years.  I also need to say that my mum has always suffered from depression and that has clouded my opinion on it and also has had a huge impact on the treatment I received.
Initially I put my feelings down to tiredness, the sheer exhaustion of caring for a newborn and a 15 month old,  but finally I had to admit it was more.  Well that isn't exactly true.  MadDad couldn't take anymore and fearing for my life, he dragged me kicking and screaming to a prearranged GP appointment when mini was 7 months old.

Would I still be here without this intervention?  No, by this time I was already making plans for the children after my death and planning how I would kill myself.

So over the coming weeks, I am going to share with you my experience of depression, but firstly I want to share with you the fact that it is treatable, like any other illness, you just need to find the correct treatment for you.  I have been through stages where I was no longer on any form of medication.  I have been happy, in fact more than happy.  I am living my life and I am not fearful that I am a bad mum, which I would have thought as impossible when mini was born.

I really do want this first post to show you that there are people out there that can help and I owe it to them, yes I really do because without their hard work and dedication I wouldn't be here today.

So what happened after my initial GP appointment?  What I do need for you to know is that at the very beginning of my journey I made one promise to MadDad, only one and to this day I have never broken it.  He asked me to always tell the truth, not matter how painful I or he for that matter might find it.  To tell the truth not only to him but to the people who were trying to help me too.

So within 24 hours of my GP visit I was assessed by the crisis team at home.  MadDad was there with me and they came for 2 hours the first day and then again for 2 hours the second day and then they went away and arranged for me to see a physiatrist and for a care plan to be put into place.  In the 4 days that this took to arrange they rang me and MadDad daily to ensure that I hadn't made any rash decisions.  Now it was either accept this help at home or be committed, as things were pretty much as bleak as they could get.

MadDad took me for my first appointment with the consultant physiatrist, he was wonderful, he made me feel secure and also enabled me to tell him how I felt and I cam away from that first appointment with prescription for medication, Anti-Depressant and also sleeping pills (for as I tell my story you will see that lack of sleep has major impact on me).

But the thing that really made the biggest difference in the way I live my life was the opportunity I was given to have Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and this was offered immediately, weekly and in my own home at a time when both the boys would be asleep.  This was life changing and I believe this is what has allowed me to go on and deal with the BRCA mutation, the surgeries and the complications with the positivity that I have in my life.

So there you have it.  I suffer from depression, I am not cured.  I thought I was and stopped taking my medication 3 months ago and have had today to admit defeat and start taking the tablets again.

I am starting to understand that I will never be without depression and will always need to keep an eye out for the symptoms,  and hope to get to the point where it is happy to walk in my shadows, rather than by my side.



  1. What a wonderful post! I suffer from anxiety 7 i'm hoping to start an occasional series about these conditions & how it can affect the sufferer & those around them. Hope you will pop in & maybe take part!

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I am in total admiration.

  3. This is a great and very honest post. I think you will help a lot of people by sharing this. And no intense debate so I can comment - hoorah! You are very lucky to have Maddad and you are very brave to have made that promise around honesty. So glad it worked out for you and that you are here to blog about it

  4. I'm touched by your bravery in putting fingers to keyboard. I have to say you really do sound like you are coming to terms with it all, and that's a huge step on the way back to how you want to be.

    I imagine that your post will provoke a lot of people to confess what is normally told to close friends only, for fear of colouring the way people look at you. I too have depression and have been taking meds on and off for 7 years now and I've learnt that "coming out" produces a range of responses. I find that a lot of people that have not either suffered or cared for someone with depression really don't understand, but a surprising number of people you know will also have suffered themselves, quietly, and I find that this makes the friendships blossom and grow. Because they know how valuable the days are when you feel well again, they accept the differences between people, and they don't judge. You are free to "tell the truth" as with your wonderful husband, and that feels so good.

    I'm pleased to hear you have had considerate care around you and I wish you much love and strength on you're continued road to recovery.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this! I will be following you closely to read more of your moving posts.

    I do not suffer from anything but have moments I feel depressed and know people well that suffer from depression. It is really hard. You never know if get cured and if so how you will come out of it. I experienced they often push you away because of feeling ashamed and shortcoming but really want you to be around. So I guess the one thing one can do for someone who is depressed is repeatedly tell them they are not, crazy or freaks, not alone and they can share their thoughts and feelings. They don't have to do it all by themselves.


  6. Hello lovely. You don't need to admit to not being a superwoman - I knew you weren't, as no-one is. What you are is a great woman - brave, determined and an inspiration. Well done on sharing your story. I'd love to hear more. x

  7. What an honest post. Do you feel better for typing it? I'm in a similar boat to you. I've suffered depression and anxiety for years. I've been on medication on and off for years. I'm currently off.. but know I need to go back on it. I tried every day last week to see my Dr but no appointments available.. I could see one of the other doctors, but for personal reasons, would rather not.

    It's so difficult for other people to understand depression, and even harder to explain it.

    I'll be popping by here again :)

  8. You're a star and I am so pleased you have been able to write this. I suffered from depression for many years and I have experience of therapy and the crisis team too. And I know about medication, it kept me going for a very long time. I am so much better now so I want you know that things can improve. In the depths of depression when you're living from minute to minute it is impossible to believe that, but do hang on to that hope. I am absolutely certain that you writing about your experiences will help so many others. Many people will be able to relate. Much love my friend and don't feel shamed xxx

  9. I have been on a similar journey but can't tell you how lucky you are to have been treated so quickly! I went round in circles in the "system" bouncing from one service to the next and waited 2 years for proper therapy with a psychiatrist. Fortunately she was worth the wait and I feel so much better now.

    I hope you find your way through your troubles to brighter days and that you continue to get such great support from MadDad.
    Perhaps blogging about it will help with the process too?

  10. thank you for sharing this. I suffer from it too.. I cracked as it were after I had my son (Now 6 1/2) not when he was an infant but when he was 2. I had hyperemisis when pregant, couldnt work, was hosiptalized and the people I worked with never came to see me... I think alot of people dont think of depression, or hypermisis for that matter, as real deaseses, but they are and they can be so terribly devastating... I haven't been on medication for a few years now, but there are times when I think I might need to be again ( I had a reall bad winter/spring) but have bounced back and my summer has been good, I have been creative and as happy as I can be. which dosent mean I wont slide back into the depression because it is always in the shadows lurking.

    I never considered suicide (perhaps because death scares the crap out of me) but so often I have though of just walking away and never coming back.. though no clear though of where I would go, jsut that everyone would be better without me. I'm going to book to see the gp about it when my days stop being bright.. when the dark clouds roll overhead, right now I'm happy and positive and crafting and I feel like the person I forgot I was for all those years.

    I know it will always be there, and sometimes I can deal with it and sometimes it will crush me and I will have to go back on the pills. But right now for today and this week I am me and I'm in control of it.

    sorry I have waffled a bit there.

  11. Thank you so much for sharing this - it is really important and vital I think. I am so glad you got considerate care and prompt attention and the love of a good man to intervene and take you to the help you needed. I suffer from it too - came off medication when I was last pregnant because even though they said it was a safe one, I was still not comfortable being on medication when pregnant. At the moment I'm okay but I know I can always go back on it. There really shouldn't be any stigma attached - it is a disease like any other.

    Thank you again for sharing and I will be reading along.

  12. What your husband said to you about honesty was beautiful. It's so true though. In trying to carry on as normal we just push ourselves further into the hole. I hope you continue on your journey towards a feeling of wellness both physically and mentally.

  13. It's taken me a long time to understand that there's no defeat in having to go back on the meds. In fact it shows more strength doing so than soldiering on in the hope of avoiding them. And you know that aside from any professional support, you've always got us. You know where I am. x

  14. Brave, honest and important post. It's so important to open this subject up to discussion. I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to refer to this post tomorrow on my blog.

  15. Oh my darling, you are an amazing woman. Thank you for sharing your story. The thing that leaps out for me is how important it is to be honest. I'm so glad you got help immediately and are strong enough to know that you still need help. Being physically tired can't help either. You know where I am if you ever fancy a chat, it's about time we had a catch up x

  16. Brave post my love. I do wish you didn't feel your depression was something to feel shame over, but I empathise lots with what you've said. I had a nervous breakdown in November last year, I've been off my medication for a few months and I'm feeling a bit out of cope too - we'll get through it though, won't we? :)

  17. A beautiful real post Jen. Your new blogging home is lovely. You have my empathy and my support hun, I too was diagnosed over 15 yrs ago and have learnt to accept that I need to take the medication I have been prescribed otherwise things get very dark indeed. When people ask me what does it feel like to have depression I simply answer. It feels like nothing. I feel nothing. I feel dead.
    I wrote about depression on my blog too here -

    love and hugs Vxx

  18. Can't really add much more than has already been said, except to say you are very brave and I wish you so much happiness. I have been on antidepressants since my lovely dad died and Ellie got meningitis...all in the same month! That was a while ago now but I still need them, sometimes its the hardest to admit that we are not perfect and I always feel slightly weak and unable to cope like a "proper" grown up. But in the end, we have to make the most of every day and if that means taking a pill every morning we can live with that right? :D

  19. I want to comment, I want to say so much. I can't though. I am fighting my demons. You are really brave to write about it on here for all to see. I admire you xx

  20. good for you - I now tell people too. Took awhile, but I think the more we talk about it the better for others.