There is no doubt that when you are grieving, you are depressed. It is natural to have anxiety, mood swings, sadness, anger, bursts of crying spells. There comes a point though, where you need to recognize if what you are dealing with in grief, is beyond the point, and if it has become depression.
I doubt that many of my friends or family would call me a depressed person. I smile, I laugh, I go out, I get up. So for me, at 16 months out, to think of myself as depressed, it’s still a tough stretch. But underneath the facade of the smiles and laughs, I know there is something much more deep and dark that is lingering. Unfortunately, it is lingering beyond grief.
I think negatively, I lack energy, motivation, drive, and generally have little cares about much in my life. I know I have crossed the line beyond grief and into depression. I have also been experiencing mini panic attacks. I hesitate even mentioning this, because again, it makes me feel so vulnerable, and weak to be dealing with this, let alone admitting it here. I never understand anxiety-the inability to control that ‘feeling’ that overcomes you where you want to escape, where all concentration is gone, where you simply even have trouble breathing. For the past several months, I have been dealing with miniature versions of attacks sometimes 3-4 times daily, sometimes not at all. I wake throughout the night, I cannot concentrate on my studies with school…I feel like I am slipping away.
When I first lost Kevin, my family doctor prescribed Lexapro. I took it for a few weeks, and then stopped. I decided I wanted to feel all the emotions that came with grieving. I didn’t want to cover up what I was supposed to feel. Not having a history of depression, I figured I could do this. And I did, for 16 months.
But this wave, although it may not be deeper than the others, it has certainly undertook me to the point where my everyday life and being is affected. Throughout the past 16 months I have contemplated anti-depressants. I have always chose against because my life philosophy has been ‘I have to feel it to get through it’. I have felt it. Plenty. I’m not DONE feeling it, but I am done with it being out my control. I would like some control back. This week I chose control via Celexa.
I am now on day #2 of Celexa. A huge decision for me. HUGE. The ‘old school’ part of me sees anxiety and depression as weak: that I can’t just suck it up and deal with it frustrates me. But I have sucked it up, and I have dealt with it even after the multiple blows that I have faced since Kevin’s death. And I am NOT WEAK. I know I am not. I am strong. Moreso than I can imagine. It is ok to seek help: I seek it with 2 regular mentors that I meet with, and now, with some chemical help. I’m intimidated, I am concerned about the side effects, I dread being one of the 10% that has these side effects (so far just dizziness and a bit of loss of appetite, no complaints on THAT one) and I won’t be able to take it! But I am going to try.
I feel weak being on meds. I hate that I have to go this route, but I have even more the lack of control of my anxiety, the negativity I can only see, the absense of drive and motivation. I know this can’t bring him back, or take me back to pre-Kevin, but it may help me be able to establish my new life with a clearer head.
That which we don’t talk about: Depression. It’s ok to talk about. We’re not weak is seeking help. Don’t be afraid to seek help.