Absent

If anyone was taking roll call on the internet these days, that’s what they’d have to mark me down as.  “Absent”.  It wouldn’t tell the whole story, but it’s the closest they could come.

 

If you read this blog, you know I keep it fairly light.  Kind of amusing, but not really personal.  But at the same time, this blog is me.  And I feel like I’ve been lying.  Not that I’ve been bullshitting you, more like there’s stuff I’m not telling.  I don’t use my blog to air dirty laundry, but I feel like I’ve hit a wall, and I need to get around it, let you see behind it, if I’m going to keep letting you see my life.

 

I’m depressed.

 

Actually, make that Depressed, capital “D”.

 

This is nothing new.  I’ve always been that way.  As a kid, I didn’t have a name for it, I just gradually figured out that I didn’t react to stuff the way the other kids did.  And as a teenager, I wrote it off to teen angst bullshit.  But as I left the teens, started being a Grown Up, I realized it was more.  And once I finally had this big, stable presence in my life (i.e. Owen), I let myself admit it, that there was something wrong in my brain, that I needed help.

 

I was 23 the first time I saw a professional, 24 when I first went on medication.  And it helped.  Nearly immediately.  Depression is hereditary, and it runs in my family.  (It doesn’t just run, it actually kind of gallops, pushing down everything in its path.)  Some periods have been harder than others.  I’ve been hospitalized twice – once in my early 20’s, and once while I was pregnant with my son.  I’ve been on medications for the greater part of the last 10 years, going off when I felt stronger, getting back on when I had to.  For the record, I don’t love being on the medication.  I get dull.  There are side effects.  I don’t want to be on them.  But I may have to, soon.

 

It’s been getting harder, lately.  Harder to get anything done, with zero motivation.  Harder to interact with people – every time I see someone I know, I’m left wondering if they can tell, am I scaring them off?  Harder to function, because my body starts to react, with colds that won’t go away, sciatica, and the occasional chest-tightening anxiety attack.

 

So what does this mean, on a go-forward basis?  Well, if you know me in real life, don’t be alarmed.  I may cry at inappropriate times (like, say, in the middle of a school council meeting.  I don’t think anyone saw, but still, awkward).  I might not be able to make conversation on a consistent basis.  There’s a good chance that I may let you down, in some way.  But I probably won’t.  Realistically, from the outside, it’ll pretty much be business as usual. 

 

And if I know you cyber-ly?  There’s a good chance I may not post for a good while.  (Or I may post every day.)   (Probably the former, rather than the latter, but you never know.) 

 

I’m going to be OK.  That I know.

 

Because there are two small people, and one big one, who need me to be OK.  And so I will be.

 

Until then….

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52 responses to “Absent

  1. Take care of yourself, popsicle.

  2. Aww, Ginny. Take care and get better soon. I have been on anxiety meds for over ten years now. I’ve tried to go off of them every once in awhile, and I hate thinking that I might be on medication the rest of my life. But when I go off all the symptoms start coming back. Luckily I don’t have a lot of side effects (except with the evil evil effexor) so they aren’t hard to stay on. But I do know everyone in my life is better off when I stay on my meds.

    Best of luck to you.

  3. I so get this. I’ve always cried (a lot) as my reaction to any strong emotion – doesn’t matter what it is (happiness, sadness, anger, anything). It kept getting worse so I finally talked to my doctor about 15 years ago and bless the man, he put me on Effexor (which apparently doesn’t work for Vinomom but works great for me). I’ve gone off of it on occasion due to insurance coverage issues (like right now I’m getting by on St. John’s Wort because my insurance doesn’t cover the Effexor and the stuff they do cover makes me emotionally flat – I’d rather fight the tears, you know?). Honestly, though? I’d rather be medicated and able to be me because that person I am when I’m not medicated, that’s not really who I want to be. Supportive thoughts to you. 🙂

  4. I’ve lived with depression for as long as I can remember, and have been medicated for the past 3.5 years and counting. It definitely helps a great deal, especially combined with counseling. Although I do feel better, I still have my Bad Days and Very Bad Days, so as much as I’d like to try it, the thought of getting off my meds scares the hell out of me.
    I really admire your courage in talking openly about depression, and your proactive approach to dealing with it. I really hope you feel better soon, but I understand if you do decide to take a break from Teh Internetz….I do the same thing when things get rough for me. 🙂
    Best wishes to you and your family…I’ll keep you in my thoughts.

  5. I know depression exists. I know it does. It’s there, and people I know and love have it, and it’s there.

    But I refuse to believe in it. Which is extremely hard. I just have too many better things to think about to worry about instead of something silly like depression.

    Like, I mean, okay, so when I have conversations about time travel, do people think I’m some kind of time travel novice? Like I totally just jumped on the time travel boat a month ago, and it’s not something I’ve been obsessed with for years? Because that would be crap, and then I would have to fucking prove myself to a bunch of assholes. Why do I have to prove myself anyway? I’ll fucking tell you why: don’t fucking judge me. I spent half my life getting made fun of for liking stupid bullshit things, and I will be DAMNED if I’m going to get made fun of for not liking them enough. The fact that I have held a maximum of one conversation about time travel within the past four years is goddamn irrelevant.

    See? This is way more important than your depression. Silly Ginny. I love you.

  6. hard to write about, i’m sure…been helping a friend through some very difficult times due to a combination of depression and anxiety (which is a motherfucker to treat, by the way). take care of yourself. use this space as needed, or not at all. your groupies will understand…

  7. ever read a post by someone else and had that “wait, am i reading my own blog” moment? this is one of those moments. sending you happy cyber thoughts…
    (hmm, that just doesn’t sound right)

  8. I know that capital D as well. All too intimately. I’ve stayed away from meds in the past few years, largely because of that ‘dullness’ that you wrote of. I don’t know if that’s been a good thing or a bad, but whatever.

    Point is, hang in there. Write as you want, we’re not important. You are. Do what you need to do.

  9. Take care of yourself Ginny. We’ll be here…and in the meantime, we’re sending good thoughts your way.

  10. Now wait a minute- what’s all this talk about whatever is best for Ginny is the most important thing? Sheesh, I’m an old guy with plenty of joint pain and I need cheering up. And nothing cheers me up better than one of Ginnny’s hilarious, insightful, well-written stories. So Ginny, if you don’t feel like writing or being funny, please first consider how that is going to effect me, some guy on the internet who just wandered in and may not even be real. I’m counting on you to get me through this.

    Sal Finvalved

  11. I’ve been skulking around in the shadows of your blog ever since the whole ‘letter to your son’s teacher’ post ended up on another site…anyway. You are fabulous, and reading this post was like reading my own thoughts. Hang in there. Know that others can relate, and that we are waiting for you on the other end.

  12. I’ve been a fan on your blog since I read the letter to your son’s teacher (who you suspect is a sadist). I’m not the type to comment but this post happened to hit pretty close to home for me. I have had depression and anxiety for my entire life and have been on medication for the last seven years (since I was 13). I get it. I really do. Its the most debilitating horrible experience a person can ever go through and its something that you live with for the rest of your life. My advice is to take your time, do what your comfortable with and get help because depression is something that no one should do alone. I’m a big proponent of therapy and anti-depressants. It sounds like you just haven’t found the right one yet, keep trying. Medication is not the crutch that society makes it out to be; no more than an inhaler is for an asthmatic. I probably wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for medication. Get well and know that even though from time to time there are bumps in the road, it always smooths out eventually :).

  13. Ugh, Big D, I’m just getting over a recent bout. Thankfully it was more anxiet, insomnia and an inertia-inducing lack of motivation. Crippling still, but better than the constant crying and self hatred. You are right, it comes but it goes. Hope it goes soon. It sucks to go through the phases but I know whenever it happens to me, at least now I can see it, I know how to ask for help and take care of myself to make it better and shorter-lived. Hope it passes like a fart in the wind.

  14. You might try a different theripist?

    About a year ago I think, I heard a piece on NPR talking about dealing with depression through talk and behavior therepy instead of or assisted by drugs, but with drugs NOT as the main treatment. They found about the same rate of improvement, but much longer lasting improvement.

    The idea was not denying that depression was a mental illness, or that a chemical imbalance existed. They found that the people in talk centered therapy were sort of slowly rewiring their brains. Kinda awesome, and talk about empowering.

    Maybe I dreamed the story, but if whatever you’re doing isn’t working for you, it might be worth looking for a doc with a different approach. Depression is awful. Good luck.

  15. Just, take care of yourself, and when you post, I’ll read! And if you don’t post, just know that I’ll still be checking my reader, and sending you happy thoughts…

  16. Hi and lots of kind and supportive thoughts from Germany! I so know what you are talking about, it’s in our family, too.

  17. Hang in there kiddo xx

  18. Damn, Ginny, sorry to hear you have the black dog. i know firsthand the pain and suffering of depression, I’ve suffered it for about 10 years now and all I can say is the first one is the worst one. It was for me like stepping into an alternate universe and being unable to crawl back out of it the same way I went in.

    For years I wanted my old self back and I have just had to accept there is no going back, it is like a door has been opened, a door I should never have peeked in, but shit, I did and I need to keep on going with what I have left.

    Overall I think I am a better person for it and have more compassion for others who suffer from anything.

  19. I hit submit too soon.

    Jut wanted to remind you, you will get better.

  20. You take care of yourself. And get all the help you need.

    I’ll be skulking around here until you get back.

    (I know about the Depression, with a big D – don’t let the bastard beat you.)

  21. No fun at all! I’m so sorry Gin, but you obviously know what is important – those two little people and one big person. They’ll definitely help you through. Hang in there and I’ll read when you post – because I love to read your blog!

  22. I’m sorry to read that you’re going through this. You are definitely not alone, as you can see from most of the commenters (myself included). If you need anything at all, even just a “shoulder” to cry on, we’re all here for you in blogland.

    Take care of yourself and I hope you feel better soon.

  23. Time to jump off the troll-wagon…

    Ginny,
    I’ve loved your blog, now I have to talk.

    Been on depression meds going on 10 years. Since my son died, the usual grin ‘n’ bear it was for shit. Good Lord, I’m frickin crying now! Maybe I need more…

    Take the time you need. If someone has a problem…well, that’s their problem. Get yourself aligned (straightened out is a pipe-dream (and over-rated)).

    Be watching the RSS feed for you. Love ya, even if you don’t know me (creepy? oh, well…).

    Lance

  24. New to your blog, but not new to depression. I just found what feels like the right medication — working with a doctor who specializes in women’s mood disorders — but probably most important, for me, is that I’m finally addressing my ambivalence about taking medication. When I take it, I’m good. I get so good that I go off, because I think I don’t need it anymore. Then I get bad. And each time the bad is SO much worse than any side effects of taking the meds. Then I take it until I’m good. My meds help me to get enough sleep and to get enough exercise and to stay on a healthy eating schedule — all of which also help the depression. I just read “An Unquiet Mind” — about a scientist who researches bipolar depression and has to finally come clean that she has struggled with it for years. The main thing you notice as the reader is ‘honey, why didn’t you just stay on your meds?’ The other thing I noticed as a woman and wife and mama — I had to take better care of myself. Since reading the book and understanding more about sleep and depression, I lay down at 2 pm every day and just quiet my mind. I might nod off for a few minutes — I set an alarm if there’s a place I need to be — but I stay put until my kids open the back door from the school bus. I have to work hard to quiet all that is running around and around inside me. Sometimes I have just twenty minutes — but I invest it inside….

  25. Sadly I have no sage advice or wisdom to impart that could be of any use… don’t eat the yellow snow perhaps?

    Depression’s a bitch, plain and simple. No matter how many of us out here may be able to empathize with you, we’ll never know exactly what you feel and what you’re going through.

    You take care of Ginny, we’ll hold down the fort and take care of the interwebz… though I can’t promise we won’t burn it down in your absence.

  26. FYI – found your blog & love it.
    I am a mom in Manitoba and reading your blog is like sitting for a coffee with a good friend.
    Feel better, you are missed when you are absent.

  27. One of my dearest friends says that it’s always worst in the fall. Hope it passes sooner rather than later.

  28. Just wanted to send you a hug.

  29. Hey Ginny,

    I really look forward to coming here and reading what you decide to share with us. I think I speak for all of the regulars here when I say, I don’t, in one bit, feel slighted by what you choose not to post here. I’m never let down when I stop through to catch up. You bring a lot of joy to the lives of others and hopefully knowing that will bring more joy to yours.

    I’d like to follow the lead of “Not Afraid To Use It” and send you an e-hug as well.

    Take care,

    jay

  30. I think I finally realized what appealed to me about blogging. It is the sense of group therapy with a group I never have to look in the eye. Alright then, Hello, my name is Micah and I am bipolar and manic depressive.

    I refuse to take meds because of how they make my father. I have a hubby who has finally excepted that sometimes I cry for no reason and love him a hundred times more then myself. And I have successfully run off everyone else who has ever cared about me by becoming a horrid ranting lunatic.

    But, since this is my therapy, I am starting to feel better since I started blogging, turns out it is getting harder to find new things to rant about and I am fearfully close to actually becoming human again, at least in cyber space. Even when no on reads what I write for weeks at a time, even my hubby has given up on my writing. Oh well, don’t therapist say to journal and get it all out?

    Ginny, we love you obviously, so do what you need to do to come back to us, your “group” will be waiting for you always! 🙂

  31. Thank you for sharing this with us Ginny. I just wanted to let you know, you’re my hero. You can see there are TONS of people that support and care about you. I’m sure that no matter what you post, we’ll all be here. And sometimes, those hard posts are the ones that people need to read the most. You’re not alone.

  32. It looks as if I’m not the only one with the big “D” hanging around. Like you, and many others, I have been on the boat for 10+ years. I notice a lot of change when the seasons change. Hang in there, Ginny. We’re all looking forward to your next posting… whenever it may be 🙂

  33. You are so brave. Even on the days you don’t feel it.

    You are.

  34. You’re gonna be alright there kid if for no other reason than the two little people who call you mom, do what you have to do, get help and stare it down, i know it ain’t easy but i think you’ve got a helluva support system, that Owen character sounds like a gem from what i’ve read and the kind of guy i’d gladly drink beer with and watch hockey, you’ll come out the other side a stronger woman than you already are and that seems pretty damn strong…
    now on the lighter side my motto’s have always been “better living through chemistry” and “thank god for mental illness”, helps exlpain alot about me, i’ve been told to get help a few times but i laugh, take another bong hit and stare at the wall… and if it helps you feel better i often cry at inappropriate times and i’m a gigantic, hairy beast, i then threaten everyone who sees my crying with bodily harm and then return to blubbering. stay gold girl.

  35. Ginny, I love you a little bit more, and I hope you start feeling better and stronger soon. Medications are no fun, I know 😦 But how rad that you can share with us your inner thoughts! It warms my heart to see so many people saying “I’ve been there too!” or “We adore you anyways!” (cause we totally do.) The internet is great for that! Plus its much easier than dealing with people in 3D, the internet has an ‘off’ button for those extra hard days. Hugs!

    • Now if only someone would invent the “Reach-out-and-back-hand-the-moron-with-the-caps-lock-key-permanently-on” button the internet would truly be nerd-vana.

  36. michael.offworld

    This such a good time of year to be depressed. The dark and now the cold. It’s starting to get crowded here in the the depressive ward! Now where can I go to be alone?

  37. I too am coming out of lurkdom to tell you I love your blog. And I too am dealing with depression. I had PPD after both of our kids, and that was a hell I don’t wish to go through ever again. Take care of yourself, do what you need to do. Medicine sucks, however, I am now taking SAM-e which has regulated my moods quite nicely. Hope you get some relief.

  38. Can I just say that I think you are awesome. Now, I don’t know if this is a coincidence but so many ppl I know that are insightful and hilarious suffer from depression.

    My ma and sis suffer from depression and I don’t ‘get’ it. I tell em to rally and eat proper and do some exercise. And that is when karma smacks me upside the head and makes feel something scarily like but-let’s-pretend-its-not-the-D-word for a week or two. Just so I am very clear what they are dealing with on a day to day basis.

    I know you have a lovely husband and family to be ‘well’ for, just make sure you are well for you too.

  39. Girlfriend,
    I just found your blog by way of “Emails from Crazy People” and your letter to your son’s teacher. I read that and thought, “Holy shit. This lady is hilarious. Follow her blog I must!” So when I clicked on your most recent post, I was sorry to see what you have been going through. I, like you, have suffered from that bone crushing, drag you to the bottom of the ocean depression that you write of. Thankfully, I have never been hospitalized, but it has come really damn close. (Yay for me?) Hang in there hot stuff and get back on those meds. I just finished nursing my 15 month old and am getting back on Cymbalta asap. It’s the only thing that has ever helped. Take it easy and try to get through the day the best you can. It will get better. Big hugs, Bridgett

  40. I want you to know that so many times your words have been my personal anti-depressant. I love your wit and wisdom.

    From what I’ve just read in these comments, you have a lot of friends out here who feel as I do and a lot who understand how you’re feeling right now too.

    I hope you find comfort knowing we’re here with you and we’re not going anywhere.

  41. I am new to your blog but enjoy reading it. I sympathize with you, and am writing this to tell you that it can and will get better, but you have to take some steps to make it better. I have been suffering from major chronic depression (official diagnosis) for over 30 years (I am 48). I was also depressed as a young child. I made a serious suicide attempt in 1987. I survived and finally got real help from an excellent psychiatrist. It took several tries to find one with whom I could build a bond. He is still my psychiatrist 22 years later. I take medication and have for most of the last 22 years, and I have had several severe down times along the way. There are several effective techniques I have used over the years to help bring myself out of the darkness. First, if I am off my meds, I go back on, or if the meds I’m currently taking are becoming ineffective, my doctor changes them. Second, if I am harboring any grudges or hatred toward anybody about anything, I talk to God as if he is my best friend sitting there listening. I let all the rage and bitterness out and then let go. I just….let go. It is tremendously freeing. Third, I take on a volunteer job. I have done various things over the years, but I personally have found a real niche in doing hospice work where I provide respite care for caregivers of homebound, terminally-ill relatives. I realize that particular task is not for everyone, but I strongly suggest volunteering your time at something. It puts your focus on someone else (who possibly has it worse than you) and shifts some of the focus away from yourself. Yes, I have had to force myself to do that because I, too, withdraw from human contact during the really bad times. In addition to these steps, please consider your diet. There has been significant research into the fact that most of us keep our bodies’ pH too acidic and that shifting it to an alkaline state will actually alleviate many physical symptoms including depression. There are several books available (Alkalize or Die; The pH Miracle). If necessary, consult a naturopathic physician. Exercise, even walking just 20 minutes a day, will boost your energy levels and natural endorphins. And above all, remember the times when you HAVE felt better. That is proof that you CAN feel better. Hold on to that and keep yourself encouraged. Your life is meaningful. You have no idea how many people you may have touched with your blog. No one knows the true effect their life has on anyone. I know how difficult it is, but since my suicide attempt in 1987, I returned to school and earned a B.S. in Mathematics (3.85 GPA, graduated 2nd in the College of Science), a black belt in karate at age 40, and have held a mentally-demanding professional job since 1992. I won a Volunteer-of-the-Year award for my hospice work, I took classes at a local Bible College, and taught martial arts to children for several years. It can be done. I still suffer. The meds really only mask the symptoms, but they allow us to function. A wise man once told me that if you wait for motivation, you’ll wait forever. Just do something, see positive results however minor, and let that be your motivation to continue. I believe you can do whatever needs doing.

  42. It’s a misery I know all too well. Full spectrum light bulbs wherever you spend the most time help; they’re good for bipolar and S.A.D. as well.
    It does feel like whole sections of your life get stolen, doesn’t it?
    (OT, I sent a link to your supplies list post to my son’s principal and his homeroom teacher, along with a link to “This Isn’t Hogwarts” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2Gt9m64LBg.

  43. My man has similar struggles, and I agree with Franklin: it seems to cycle around in the fall for some reason.

    I’m thinking of you and wishing you well and happy.

  44. Awww Ginny, you know we’ll be here. As everyone else has said, you just take care of YOU.

    I can’t say I completely understand what you’re going through, but if it’s true that fall and changing seasons can directly affect you, then living in Canada, I can completely understand how our changing seasons could be like shocks of strobe lighting, to a dude coming out of a cave after 50yrs.

    That wouldn’t be cool.

    Take care, get well, and like Jennifer, I’ll be sitting at the table, with my coffee, waiting.

  45. greenduckiesgirl

    I’ve been reading you since the sadist letter (which I recognized as sarcasm, by the way) and have always been amused by your posts (and wished I’d written them).

    This is one I feel I could have written, I’ve been suffering from depression for years. I just wanted to say I enjoy your blog and hope that things get better for you. I’m going through a rough patch right now and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

    Good luck.

  46. Hang in there Ginny. I, too, have been struggling with depression for the past few years and recently went on medication (which is helping quite a bit). I think your strategy of staying focused on your family is the right one, and will ultimately see you through.

  47. I think you just made me cry. There are so many comments here at this point, I am not sure if you will even read this! Clearly you are loved by many 🙂

    You need to take care of you. That being said, thank you. Even if you never post anything else here know that you brought a smile to a mom’s face in CT with your insightful writing.

    Take care of your demons, Ginny.

  48. I wish you luck.

  49. Belatedly reading this, happily touched by all the comments and wishes left by your (yes there’s no other way to say it) fans.

    Glad you are back and posting. The Depression doesn’t go away, but the coping means are plentiful, once you know where to look. If you’re anything like me, making others laugh or even just smile, is a big part of that!

  50. Just thanks. Everybody.

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