It’s a dark hole. I can see the pinprick of light at the top, but the ladder is too short. It’s dark, I can’t escape and it’s overwhelming. That’s what depression feels like to me, and I truly believe that no one else can understand it unless they’ve been there.
Mine was probably lurking in the background just waiting to pounce. Some say genetics plays a part, some say it’s environmental. Stress is at the root of every evil these days…that and Trump. I don’t think Trump caused my depression because all of this started before he made the scene. However, it’s always fun to blame him for things, so I’ll reserve the right to do that as time goes on.
If depression truly was lurking back there, I was able to ward it off with a busy job and lots of hobbies. My work was very stressful, but I loved it. My hobbies were very de-stressing and I loved them. I had a great husband, pets I adored and I lived where I wanted to live. All in all, life was good!
Then it wasn’t.
In my earlier post, I explained how I got here. I’d been diagnosed with epilepsy and they couldn’t control my absence seizures. That meant I couldn’t drive, I couldn’t work, and as far as I was concerned, I couldn’t live. Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t want to live. I’ve never been suicidal. I just didn’t know how to live when the previous me died, and the new me had to craft a new life. I was lost…in every sense of the word.
A few months after my epilepsy diagnosis, I was diagnosed with cancer. I was lucky, it was very early on, and I didn’t even need any chemo or radiation after surgery. Now it might seem that this was just another horrible thing piled on the first horrible thing. However, having cancer was a bit of a relief to me. I know it sounds crazy, but cancer was something I could actually act on. I could have surgery. I could heal. I had a goal that I could work on and succeed.
Epilepsy wasn’t like that. There wasn’t anything I could do except take the pills. There was no grand plan because they couldn’t figure out how to suppress the seizures. They didn’t know what was causing them. My case was extremely unusual they said. The docs were as baffled as I was, and it was like I was adrift on a poisonous sea. Not only was I missing a paddle, I wasn’t completely sure my boat was waterproof.
It was an odd feeling for me because I had always been a very strong, in-charge type of person. I wasn’t one to ask for help, but now, I was helpless. I couldn’t go anywhere unless someone took me. I was having a hard time walking because the meds made me dizzy. I fell in the street and strangers had to help me up. I was lost, helpless, and worthless.
I went on this way for quite a while till I had to take a neuropsychological exam. There they listed all of my deficiencies. Yikes, I had a lot of cognitive deficiencies! I hadn’t even realized how much of my brain I had lost. I also hadn’t realized how depressed I truly was till I saw it in print. There it was, the word “depressed” was right there in black and white, right after the word “clinically.” I was clinically depressed. The phrase seemed alien, but it also seemed right.
They suggested therapy, and I went. It was a tearful process. The therapist thought I was grieving. He said I was grieving the loss of my old life. He had a point.
While all of this was happening I was going through neurologists one after another. After a number of referrals, I ended up with a doc five hours away in Boston. He’s great, he only deals with epilepsy patients, but he hasn’t figured out how to fix me. It’s not from a lack of trying. While seeing him, it was obvious that I was depressed and he brought on a psychiatrist. I am blessed with a bevy of doctors. Hmm, they say a group of fish is a school and a group of wolves is a pack; I wonder what a group of doctors is? I hope it’s not the same as a group of crows, because that group is called a murder, and no one wants that!
So much for my death. It is done. Now it’s time to figure out the new reality. It’s not often that a person can reboot. This isn’t the way I would have chosen to have it happen, but there is a certain excitement knowing that I can explore different sides of myself. I’ve lost my math skills and my logical skills. However, I’ve retained my ability to write. It might take me a lot longer, and it might wear out my spell check, but I can do it.
I figure the more I practice things, the better the chance that I can relearn and retain some of them. They say you can regrow some of the pathways in the brain if they are damaged. I’m counting on that. The meds cloud my mind and hamper my cognitive skills. I lose a little bit of my brain every time I have a seizure, even the little ones I have now. Since I have a number of those a week, I need to be actively working on keeping what I have left as active as possible. So here I am, doing what I never even thought of doing before. I’m blogging!
I’m sure I’ll touch on various details of this journey as time goes on, but I wanted to give a very short synopsis as a bit of background. When I say I’ve lost my mind, I really mean it! There are so many jokes that I have used over the years with regard to all of this. Joking is my defense mechanism. It helps. My decision to start this blog was a good one. I think it will help, as well.
This all sounds dire, but it’s not. I know that now. I’m really very lucky. I have marvelous medical care. I have a husband who is very supportive. I have friends and family who care a great deal. I am very lucky, indeed. It’s time to reboot. Time to start again. Time to find the new me. Let the adventure begin!