Saturday, September 26, 2015


It's time to talk about depression, anxiety and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).

I have suffered with depression and anxiety for over 4 years, and PTSD for 2 years.

When the depression first started to really affect my life, it was rather horrendous.  I can still vividly remember sitting in my bathroom crying for hours as my boys ran and played in the house.  The thoughts running through my head that day were, for lack of a better word, depressing.  I wondered if the boys wouldn't be better off without me, but at the same time (thankfully), I knew I could never do that to them.  They are my reason for getting up every single day.

Even though I survived that day, I started cutting myself off from everyone.  Slowly, but surely.  It was a few weeks later that I knew I couldn't dig myself out of the hole without help.  I was driving into the city, without my boys, when I almost had to pull over because of a severe anxiety attack.  My chest was so tight I couldn't take more than a shallow breath.  It felt like my world was closing in on me.  The urge to turn around and go hide in my house was persuasive. I did keep going, but felt anxious for the rest of the trip till I finally made it home.

The next day I was in talking to my Dr.  She started me on anti-depressant/anti-anxiety meds that day.  My Dr felt the combo drug was best as we didn't know whether I was anxious due to depression, or depressed because of anxiety.  Sort of like which came first, the chicken or the egg?!?

Some weeks later I started to feel more balanced, but it has never been quite the same.

Now for PTSD.  I have never been formerly diagnosed, but my symptoms are pretty much spot on for someone with it.  This unsurprisingly is from when P was going through chemotherapy for cancer. Those 7 months have completely redefined who I am.  During his treatment I was fairly stable, the only choice I had was to be strong for him.  I was his only caregiver during treatment.  Once treatment was over and he was back to being his normal little self, I had the time to fall apart... which I did spectacularly.

I would get the boys off to school in the morning, but then straight back to bed I would go.  I slept, cried, was numb, and just inaccessible.  That year I wasn't as there for my boys as I usually was, I had my own healing to do.  At inopportune times I would find myself flung back to those long days in the hospital, reliving the times I held my 7 year old son as he was in so much pain from the chemo.  Even typing this I am close to tears, and my chest and throat is tight from anxiety.  No mother should have to watch their child be on a morphine drip due to pain.  Sadly it was better to have him passed out from the drugs, then to hold him while he screamed in excruciating pain.

P is now 2 years out from treatment, and I am finally starting to feel my footing become solid again.  I am much more reclusive now, preferring to be home with my family, or someplace more remote.  Crowds drain me, and put a strain on my still tentative hold on sanity.  Many people don't fully understand just how much I have changed in the last 2.5 years, and how permanent it may be.  I miss being as carefree as I was before cancer was a part of my life, but I don't know how to be that person anymore.  Cancer is like a nightmare you can't wake up from.

All this is what I struggle with everyday, what makes getting up and changing my life so incredibly hard.  Change is hard and more frightening than it has ever been before.

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