Confession Thursday…on a serious note.


Over the course of the past 6 months or so, I have confessed many, many things in this blog.  If you are keeping up, then you know that I have committed wrongs against animals, my husband, my children, my father, and the U.S. Government, among others, and that I have habits that defy predominant perceptions about how one is to behave.  You know that I’m a forgetful mother, a procrastinator, I suffer from road rage on occassion, and that I fantasize about life wherein my co-dependent high maintenance dog is replaced with luxurious area rugs.  You might also remember that I’ve given up on having a clean house, an empty sock bin, and a healthy relationship with my children’s teachers.  You should also be aware that I deal with stress via escapism.   And don’t forget last week’s Confession Thursday, which I nonchalantly posted on Friday without realizing what day it was.  I can’t be bothered with linking all the past Confession Thursday issues, so if you’ve missed any of these, you should click on the “Confession Thursday” category and read up.

You might be convinced at this point that you know all there is to know about me.  You are wrong, though.

Here’s today’s confession:

I went through a bout of severe depression when I was about 23 or 24.  I had two small children at that time and Zohrhubby and I were having what I will describe as a “rough patch”.  Instead of going to talk to someone about it, I suppressed it.  I wasn’t able to have that kind of depression you see on tv:  The pathetic looking person who is frowning and peeking through a drawn curtain or lying in bed all day.  No.  I had to work.  I had to get kids to/from daycare/school, I had to cook and clean and take care of a house that I didn’t even want to be in.  It built up until I nearly burst.  I thought long and hard about how to get out of  the situation I was in.  It wasn’t the kids, it was the whole package.  It was a life that I didn’t think I wanted to lead anymore.  I was not suicidal, but if I could have made myself magically disappear, I probably would have. 

This built up and built up until one morning when ZH came home from working the graveyard shift and we had a huge argument.  I got in my car and drove to get away from it.  I drove around for an hour.  I wanted to run away.  I had at that moment the worst headache I’ve ever experienced.  It felt like my head was going to split open.  I didn’t want to go home.  I couldn’t deal with it, and I couldn’t face a family member or friend to talk about it because I felt so irrational at that point.  I drove myself to the local mental health hospital, and checked myself in. 

Now pick your jaw up off the floor.  It’s not that dramatic.  

Once the deed was done, I began to realize what I was doing, and I tried to back out of it.  I told the admitting doctor that I made a mistake, that I wasn’t crazy, and that I had to go home to take care of my children.  They wouldn’t let me leave.  They wanted me to call my husband and tell him what had happened so he could make arrangements to take care of the kids for a few days, at least.  I was scared to call.  I thought I had made a huge mistake, I felt ashamed of myself.  I made the nurse call and tell him, instead, and then I got on the phone.  He was shocked, as was I.  He made me feel worse than I already did…like I had put our whole family in jeopardy.  I don’t blame him now and I didn’t blame him then.  It’s probably an appropriate response when you have no idea that the person you’ve lived with for the past 5 or 6 years has been depressed.

I stayed there for about a week.  I met drug addicts, suicidal teenagers, and downright crazy people.  (And I mean DOWNRIGHT crazy people.)  It was just like you would imagine, or like you’ve seen on tv.  We had group therapy, where I learned entirely too much about these people’s lives.  I won’t go into details, but one guy, who appeared to be in his mid-to-late 60’s had been admitted because of several episodes where he had been caught with farm animals.  And he wasn’t milking them, either.  I had sporadic conversations with other patients, who seemed lucid and normal, and moments later they would jump up in a rage over what someone across the room said, that didn’t have anything to do with them.  It was scary at first, but by Day 3 or 4, I just started studying each of them.  I was fascinated by what I saw and learned about these people.  I realized that depression can be treated and helped, but these poor people had a lifetime of problems, doctors, medications and inpatient stints ahead of them.  It was sad.   

This is something that I’ve not told very many people.  I have felt ashamed about it for a very long time now.  For a long time I thought that it was a mistake.  While clearly I was not a “crazy” person (SHUT UP!), I did need it at the time.  I was depressed to the point that I was not thinking clearly or logically, and I could not cope.  When I left, I was better.  I have had periods of time where I felt depressed since then.  I have better coping mechanisms now.  And I feel more comfortable talking about them, instead of letting them build up and fester.

Here’s why I decided to tell you guys this today:  There is a stigma that goes along with any sort of mental health issue, whether it’s anxiety, depression, or something more serious.  If people don’t seek help, then they suffer in silence, or they do things that otherwise they would never do, in an effort to either get attention or try to fill a hole that they feel inside.  If any of you reading this is experiencing anything like this, don’t put off seeking help.  It’s a lot more common than you think, and it’s about chemical imbalances, not about weakness, as you might have been told.  It can be better, and you deserve for it to be better.  If you know someone who you think might be having problems, talk to them.  Ask them questions and offer your help. 

 Now, feel free to think of me as “unstable” and “crazy” as you always have.  You won’t hurt my feelings.  I’m gonna own it. 

You could quite possible know all there is to know about me now.  That’s pretty freakin’ scary. For the both of us.

NOW, IT’S YOUR TURN.

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About zohrbak

Zohrbak is an old email username I had a while back...it's a made-up twist on two characters from Spaceghost. Zorak and Brak. I'm a geek. I am a married, working mother of 4 children, ages 4-15. I also have interests outside of my children, but I can never remember what they are.
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19 Responses to Confession Thursday…on a serious note.

  1. Aimee says:

    THis one is a hard one for me to respond to. It has my mind darting around in all different directions…from how stupid it is for people of that age (too young)to try to take on the responsibilities that we both did….to the humor of the visit to the mental health facility….to how stress never seems to go away, yet as we get older we do seem to get better at coping (MOSTLY)….to solutions to the problems that we (mostly) cause OURSELVES. We are all crazy.

    I watched a Nova special on the Amish the other day. It was interesting and fascinating and their life seemed oh, so, attractive to me. I am totally not up for losing “choice”, but their religion and lifestyle guards against insanity. However it is that they have been raised, they truly truly cannot find the need or desire to complicate anything. Mentally and physically they strictly keep complications OUT. They live simply, and satisfyingly without cluttering their lives with things that would make them insane.

    I questioned why I was briefly thinking of becoming Amish, bc lets face it, the bonnets are horrible. However, the wondering of what was going to happen tomorrow, trying to Maintain and BE what our complicated society deems appropriate IS insanity. The Amish have “casting your cares” down to a generational science.

    If you can’t find me next week or next year, I may be in Ohio, wearing a dress and an apron with a bonnet on, de-complicating my life.

    So, I guess my confession is that I sometimes secretly want to be amish…..

    • zohrbak says:

      Thanks for breaking the ice and commenting. I totally get what you mean about a secret craving to be Amish…as to live so simply under any other guise would make people presume you were part of a cult or something. As for the bonnets, I think that would awesome, to never have to fix your hair again before you go out to plow a field. Before you go, give me a call. We can meet up somewhere in Arkansas…maybe in June? 🙂

  2. I have had depression, or as it is now being called, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), all my life. I am also a suicide survivor, which means I spent some time on a hospital psych ward (where I actually found things much different than on TV, but that probably depends on a lot of factors).
    I am also the past senior moderator of a depression forum which has slightly under 700,000 members. Yes, that is right, and I did not misplace any digits.
    I also have a blog for people suffering from depression called A Darker Shade of Blue here on WordPress.
    It is amazing how many people suffering from MDD think that they are alone in feeling the way that they do. Many have never told anyone, and are relieved to finally be able to share anonymously via the internet.
    All of us have people around every day who are struggling with MDD, but we don’t realize it, because of the stigma surrounding mental illness.
    Thank you for your candor. I know how much courage it takes to tell others that you have had depression. Please know that you will have encouraged many people who will not feel able to comment.
    Jodi
    (It sounds to me as if you suffered from Post-Partum Depression (PPD) which can last up to two years following a birth. That would probably explain why your depression started and why it went away.)

  3. ZOHRMOM says:

    Do you know how many times I have wished to simply have a place to disappear? I totally understood why you went there that day. It was a trip I have wanted to take many times, but was always too chicken to do it. Fear of devastating my parents (who were totally uncomplicated people) kept me from it more than anything else.
    Fear of leaving you and your sister was not part of the decision, since your grandparents would gladly have stepped in to take both of you while I was absent.
    I think the lowest point in my life was my 26th birthday. I literally stayed in my house for two weeks with Susie checking on me every day until I got over it.
    I was so unhappy at that point I really thought my life was over since I would be trapped in the bad marriage situation forever.
    Finally, I drug myself out of the depths of my personal hell to realize that our future was in my hands and I had to begin taking steps to make things better for us.
    Much of my unhappiness was my fault. I confess that I led many people to believe that everything was my ex’s fault. I was a horribly mean and controlling person and maybe the reason he did not want to come home was because I was such a bitch. We were both kids and neither of us was prepared for the consequences that went along with marriage.
    Yes, I could probably have spared us all a lot of misery had I been brave enough to reach out for help.
    Thank you for giving many a little push to do that if it means they can get better.
    Thank God I was able to do it without too much damage to you and your sister. Not everyone is that fortunate.

  4. It is so funny that you’ve posted this. For about a week now I’ve been thinking hard on posting about my post-partum depression. I had it bad after I had Gabe and was terrified to do anything about it until the January after I had him. I was scared they’d take him… but I finally decided to get help. Things like depression & post-partum are still so taboo… but people need to be aware of these things. Thanks so much for sharing! Maybe I’ll do the same.

    • zohrbak says:

      Postpartum depression is terrible. You keep waiting for the “lovey dovey” feeling you imagined you have to kick in. When it doesn’t, or doesn’t last, you think you’ve made a terrible mistake and shouldn’t have brought a child into the world. It’s confusing, especially the younger the mother is. I’m glad you finally sought help and understanding…and I’d love to hear your story when you are ready to write it. 🙂

  5. Miz Tiz says:

    Like Aimee, it’s hard for me to comment on this right now because my mind is spinning with all sorts of memories and events similar to what you described. I am proud of you so very much for who you are now and are becoming still. . . .

    I was there where you were in my 30s……………could easily have done what you did, but opted for intensive visits with a psychologist instead. It helped some. You are so right about the chemical imbalance, but I didn’t know about that till years later. I always thought it was just hormonal, pms or other hormone related stressing, but chemical imbalance is waaay more than that.

    My mind is running fast with cliches——which are really true, true, true even if they are trite. Like “what doesn’t kill us makes us strong”

    As for the Amish thing………..this is what my daughter has actually done. Not become Amish, but she has changed her life to simplify, and that includes her clothes. She has a “uniform”—–several dresses in different colors, very simply made with a matching print apron. She has a bonnet, which she adores for the same reason you stated—never have to worry about hair again. I find it a bit hard to understand, but am also intrigued and impressed by her inner strength in following this life. Her blog and yours are the only ones I read regularly because they speak to my soul so much…………..and they speak of a growing and changing human being who has and wants to have a lot of introspection in the midst of the chaos.

    I’ll write more later. Brain is tired now. Have just returned from a tooth extraction and the numbness is wearing off, need to get all drugged up and sleep off the afternoon.

    I’ll send a link to her explanation about the clothes and bonnet choices. Love to you, and Aimee, and your mom and everyone who is dear to you.
    RBT

    • zohrbak says:

      Thanks, Miz Tiz. You’ve no idea how much I’ve enjoyed reconnecting with you. Your support was so important to me in the 8th grade. I couldn’t have weathered that year without you. You are such a nurturer, a humorist, and a realist all at the same time. There’s no one else in the world like you.

      Hope you feel better. Rest and enjoy the pain medicine. 🙂

      • Miz Tiz says:

        I do not recall you being especially needy in the 8th grade. I just remember your shining face. And I was pretty needy myself with the shock of my only and adored sister’s terminal cancer. That was the hardest thing I have ever dealt with in my whole life. The strength I gained then (a lot of it came from being with that group of kids daily and the sweet support you gave me) helped me weather other tough times years later. I still have notes and letters from your guys in a drawer.

  6. YaYa says:

    My depression crept up on me like a lion stalking a gazelle. I was attending college in North LA & I had just returned from Thibodaux, where I had grown up, to participate in a lawsuit that stemmed from a car accident when I was 16 that resulted in 2 friends being horribly injured. This one event altered my life for what seemed like 10 years, honestly though it has been a lifetime. I drank heavily and would sometimes become violent. The day my depression attacked I went in to take an accounting midterm and I had an massive anxiety attack. I never had an anxiety attack and the feeling of terror made me run out of class, to my truck and straight to my apartment. I locked myself in my room, scared shitless & I did not understand why I could not stop crying. By the 2nd day when I wouldn’t come out, my roommates called my parent and they drove 5 hours to my apartment. Dad broke down the door and they took me directly to see a psychiatrist. I was severely depressed and very suicidal but to chicken to go through with it. I spent the next 2 years in intensive therapy & on medication. I still suffer from depression, but I know the signs and I can now prepare myself when I see it coming. The winter months seem to be the hardest time of year for me and my post-partum was RIDICULOUS!!

  7. Miz Tiz says:

    Here’s a link to Heather’s blog entry about her “Plain Dress Conviction”

    http://spidergrrlvstheworld.blogspot.com/2010/09/my-plain-dress-conviction.html

  8. Miz Tiz says:

    and another on on her “head covering conviction”

    http://spidergrrlvstheworld.blogspot.com/2010/09/do-you-like-my-hat.html

    She too has battled depression—-esp. when she was in high school and again when her husband/true soulmate had cancer in his 20s—-and just coping with life and responsibility, etc. I think her clothes choices and the bonnet seem to have helped her have better coping mechanisms. Her explanations are very poignant.

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