Over the past couple of weeks, since Robin Williams passed away, I have heard and read many things about depression and I have come to one conclusion, no one knows the answer for the depression and so many more are all quick to judge.
I watched the schmuck on Fox News, Shepard Smith, call Robin Williams a coward for taking his own life. I remembered reading an article that stated, "Every day, 22 veterans take their own lives. That's a suicide every 65 minutes." How could this guy call these soldiers cowards? Does this guy know what demons Robin Williams was facing when he decided to end it? What about the others in the world that have resorted to taking their own lives because they cannot live with those demons? What about those that have exhausted all measures given to them and have come to that place where the individual feels they just cannot go on?
This made me turn to my own life and face the depression I have been living with head on. I do not remember much of my childhood, but I am sure that it had a lot to do with the depression I suffer to this day. I was not always a happy go lucky person growing up. My sister and I have been through a lot growing up by the hands of my father. Spending nights crying to sleep wondering when it was going to end, if I ran away where was I going to go, or wondering if there was a God and why wasn't he helping me.
In my 20's I spent many nights wondering how I was going to pay my bills, was I going to be out on the street, and how was I going to get myself in this mess. I just chalked it up to growing pains, never really giving it a second thought. As I got older the feelings got worse. I once sat in front of my computer monitor at home with a glass full of lemonade with a lot of vodka and a bottle of Vicodin thinking this was it. I was on the 4th pill down my throat when I got a message from a friend. Through tears I tell him what was going on, and somewhere in the conversation I forgot what I had set myself to do that night.
Many times I have thought about ending it all and making the world a better place. Many times I have thought about tossing myself on the El tracks as a train goes by. I have even thought about jumping from the roof of a building. In the end I get the better of myself and think that tomorrow has got to be a better day.
My most recent battle started on Monday, August 11th. Knowing that I am BRCA 2 variant positive, I have to have a mammogram done every year since I turned 35. This year was my 3rd year, and I was told before leaving that they are suggesting I have an MRI done due to dense breast tissue. Monday I went in for the MRI, and instead of getting a call 2 days later to let me know what the results are, I get a call back 2 1/2 hours after I get home that I need to have another mammogram of my right for 2 spots, one of which they could see, as well as having an ultrasound with a biopsy if they find the 2 spots that are in the left breast.
My heart sank down into my throat as the doctor/technician explained to me what was found, that scheduling would get in touch with me ASAP to get in and that they will try to get me in as soon as they could. The past 2 weeks have been the worst.
I am still fighting this battle, which has taken my emotions on a roller coaster ride through hell and back. I am sure that I will fight through it as well, and this time I have a great support group to help me, regardless if the news I get at the end of the day is good or bad.
I do not remember the first time I showed signs of depression, but know now that I suffer from it. Much of my childhood is a blur because I have chosen to block many of the terrible memories, but many of them haunt my dreams. One example is a few months ago my sister and I had a conversation where she remembered an incident and I told her I thought it was all a dream. I had been grabbed by the throat, by my father, and held up on the wall with my feet dangling against the wall of a hallway. Many time I have had this dream, and many times I have told myself it is all a dream. This was just one of many suppressed memories that I have had dreams about.
Throughout my childhood, I thought about running away, finding leaving my home life for something that has got to be better than this one. It wasn’t until high school when the thoughts of suicide started. I will admit I wasn’t the best child, but I deserved a better childhood, and I should not have been thinking about suicide at that age. I was always thinking I was never good enough. Nothing I could ever do would be enough to please my father, regardless of what I accomplished thus far.
In my 20s I use to feel like I was an utter disappointment to my family. I had just moved out on my own, decided to buy a place not knowing I couldn’t afford it at the time, and this is the first time I think I truly felt what depression was to myself. I spent many nights from 1997 to 1999 crying myself to sleep wondering how I was going to pay my mortgage/association dues, how I was going to pay my credit card bills, and be able to put food on the table. Many of those nights I just thought about ending it all. It wasn’t until I had been told by my former boss, who had just sold the company to one in Naperville, to start looking for a new job soon. This was my key back to Chicago and out of the hole I had gotten myself into.
After I moved back to Chicago things looked to be getting better in my life, but I still had issues with depression. Most times I just chalked it up to me being overly sensitive to the situation at the time. It wasn't until I sat down and watched some of the commentary that I took a real look at my on mental health and realized that I DO SUFFER FROM DEPRESSION.
This past December I hit the lowest I thought I could get in my life. I was steps away from having to sell everything I own just to keep a roof over my head, freaking out wondering if I was going to have to give up my furry family, and how was I going to face my family as a loser. What brought this about was the phone interview before my appearance on Al Jazeera.
Before I was to go on the air live, I was asked a series of questions that made me break down in tears. I was pouring my heart out to a stranger who has most likely never been in my situation, nor as long as others that have been unemployed for years. At that point I had exhausted my unemployment for the year, I was still applying for as many jobs as I could find, and my bank account was on the brinks of going under. Your life really does come into perspective when you are on the brinks of becoming homeless.
This past week has been very trying for me as well. I have been living with the knowledge that I am BRCA 2 variant positive, which to me means that I have a genetic variation that is linked to breast cancer and ovarian cancer. The first time I had a mammogram done, at 35, I ended up having a biopsy of my right breast. I was so depressed I just wanted to crawl into a cave a die, especially after I just found out that I was BRCA 2 variant positive. I was so worried I was going to get terrible news after the biopsy that I had to call someone and talk to anyone that would answer. Luckily at that point I was cancer free, however 2 years later I am positive for DCIS and I have a few more tests to go for the ovaries.
Yesterday I saw my gyno and he finally laid down the law when it came to my lady bits. I wanted to die inside the moment he mentioned being tested for and having an ultrasound for ovarian cancer. After hearing about a friend’s recent loss, I started to see the grim life that is ahead. First I need to come to terms with the fact that I might be losing not just one but both breasts, and now I know for sure the baby factory is closing up shop and will be moving out as soon as the eviction notice has been written and forwarded to the appropriate doctors.
What more can a 38 year old woman suffer before she breaks down? I do not know, but I do know that I do not suffer in this alone. Unfortunately I have family members that are still coping with the news as well, and that saddens me. I know that they worry for me, about me, and what will come of their own tests. The only thing that I do know is that they will not be alone in this fight. I have determined that I will fight both cancer and depression head on. The happy go lucky girl needs to come back, her family and friends need her.
I cannot tell you what causes the depression, but I can tell you that having friends that are willing to stick by you through the thick and very thin of it is what has kept me putting one foot in front of the other. I know that I do not have the answers to what will fix anyone person, but I do know that you cannot let yourself suffer alone. Sometimes you can be your own worst enemy, so pick up that phone and call someone, anyone. I am on my last bit of personal hope myself so I know how it can feel. Maybe we can fight together.
Filed under: Uncategorized